Tender Questions

June 9, 2010

My friend Larry’s sister is reading Tender at the Bone in her bookclub. She asked me to send her some “special” information that she could pass on. Wondering what to say, I asked the Twitterverse to send me some questions.

How did your upbringing/experiences of your youth influence your own parenting?

Great question. I guess I tried to do everything differently than my parents did. The strange thing is, looking back, I didn’t really. Oh sure, I cooked better food, and we probably had a calmer household, but I tried hard to let Nick be his own person, just as my mother had done. I think the one difference is that I expect so much less; I’m always stunned (and thrilled) when Nick wants to spend time with us.

Did you find that having a difficult mother made you better or worse at dealing with difficult people in your life/jobs?

Oh, better, definitely. There was only room for one squeaky wheel in our family, and it sure wasn’t me. After my mother, I can get along with just about anyone.

I was fascinated by your initial connections to politics and activism. Is that still important in your life?

Absolutely. I believed, early on, that it was important to be an ethical eater. I think it’s informed everything I’ve ever done. The big difference is that we know so much more now than we did forty years ago…

Did you ever figure out if you ate armadillo or what the another animal was in China?

I found out, much later, that it was pangolin, an armadillo-like creature.

What role did your Mother’s sometimes problematic cooking play in your developing a passion for food?

I was a food critic from the cradle. I had to be. I started tasting, seriously,when I was very young. I was focused on what was in my mouth, trying to find out if it would kill me. But before long I became completely fascinated by flavor.

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