Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) is a writer living in Houston, TX. His work has appeared in the Houston Press, LA Weekly, Village Voice, XXL, The Source, Grantland, and more. His new column, “Daddy Food,” will explore the (often hilarious) realities of eating when you have small humans to feed as well as yourself. This week, we meet the family—henceforth known as Wife, The Twins, The Baby—as well as some secrets about Hot Pockets and curing tummy aches.
Prior to this moment—as in, this particular keystroke that my squishy brain is telling my boney fingers to tap down—I’d never considered food in any capacity other than one that includes me jamming it into my mouth in (what I assume others process as) an overly unattractive manner. As it is, there ARE other purposes food serves, several of which I’ve already been privy to, only I’d just never noticed. To wit:
Example 1: I remember watching a video (like on a real, actual videotape) in high school of an amoral man doing some especially egregious things to a woman with several fruits and vegetables. (I want to say that the name of the movie was something clever like “Chef’s Salad,” but that’s probably more just my brain being massaged by the romanticism of nostalgia. In all likelihood, the title was probably something closer to “Putting Cucumbers In A Woman’s P*ssy.”) Food can be used as erotica.
Example 2: Last year, one of the 7th graders at the school where I teach knocked a piece of pizza out of a separate 7th grader’s hand during lunch, which eventually led to a fight between the two. Food can also be a catalyst for destruction.
Example 3: I read a story on a website several months ago about how some guys in a fraternity had one of their pledges eat a big bowl of clam chowder, then showed him a video of a bunch of the guys already in the fraternity ejaculating* into it, so I guess food also allows men to masturbate around each other, which is one purpose that I definitely wasn’t expecting.
*The story said that it was a second bowl that they were using for the video, and that the one that they gave the pledges was clean. I had no idea that fraternities and clam chowder were so curiously intertwined.
Example 4: This site.
Here on FWF, as I’m sure you know, food is the starting point for an untold number of conversations in an untold number of tones held in an untold number formats crafted with an untold number of purposes. This is simply another of those (though likely a step or two further away from center than typical).
There will be articles here written by me that glance at food-related topics, but mostly they’ll be about wider ideas. “Attempting To Raise My Sons To Be Good Eaters” seems like something that might come up, as does “Oh Fuck I Ate Too Many Hot Pockets, Here’s A Recounting Of The Civil Unrest Taking Place In My Large Intestine.”
(In case you’re curious how many Hot Pockets is “too many” Hot Pockets: One. The answer is one.)
So, thank you. Thank you in advance for reading, and thank you for food and thank you even for Chef’s Salad.
Next page: The adventures of “Daddy Food” begins…
Now, you are a human with a brain and so you likely already figured this out, but to be clear: I don’t know a tremendous amount about food. I probably don’t really know ANY amount about food. When Wife cooks, I only ever identify it by color (“Are we having the white sauce pasta tonight?”), or shape (“We’re eating tube noodles, right?”), or seasoning (“It’s the spicy meat, huh?”)*. But still, dinner is an important 40 minutes at my house.
Details: I have one wife and three sons.
Wife is a talented, attractive woman who accidentally married me. She was a teacher following college graduation, but became a stay-at-home mom in 2007 after the birth of our first children. She was only supposed to be home for six months but she was just so good at it, and everyone enjoyed it so much, that we both decided that it’d be best if she just never, ever went back to work again. She’s not had a proper job in more than six years, but has done more work than I’ve done in the past 15. Foodstuffs: Her palate is remarkable. She knows a ton about food.
Boy B’s palate is nonexistent. I once watched him eat a handful of tiny rocks because “that’s how birds fix stomach aches.”
One of my sons is 9-months-old. He’s okay, I guess. Like, he doesn’t talk yet, so I’m only assuming he isn’t a teeny-tiny adorable racist, or that he has designs on bombing abortion clinics or rooting for the Miami Heat. But, I mean, he only seems interested in getting tickled or accidentally banging his head on shit, so I’d feel confident in saying that he’s not the worst. Foodstuffs: His palate is unrefined. Mostly, he just tries to eat things that he finds on the floor.
Six-year-old human tornadoes. They’re either a lot better than The Baby or a lot worse than The Baby, depending on how you feel about such things. The only thing they ever want to do is (a) tear shit up, or (b) try to karate punch me in the genitals so as to goad me into a wrestling match. (I had no idea that being a father was so hazardous, wiener-wise.) They’ve already fully developed their personalities (Boy A is a hypercompetitive sweetheart and Boy B vacillates between Funny Guy and Complete Prick), which has bled into their appreciation of food. Foodstuffs: Boy A’s palate is semi-refined. He’ll eat anything that looks pretty. Boy B’s palate is nonexistent. I once watched him eat a handful of tiny rocks because “that’s how birds fix stomach aches.” (I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I was in no position to argue. I’m saying, if you see a guy eating rocks, you just keep it moving. Guys that eat rocks never give a fuck.)
So the five of us, we eat dinner together as a unit basically** every night. It’s not my favorite time of the day (that’d be 8:30pm, because by then all the kids have been shipped off to bed), and it’s maybe not even my second favorite time of the day (that’d be 8:40am, because that’s morning poop time), but it’s definitely something I look forward to. We just sit there at a (refurbished) table that Wife bought at a garage sale and gobble down whatever it is that she’s prepared that night. We discuss the days happenings and future plans and some surprisingly Big Questions, like “Daddy, how did humans know words after God made them?”*** –Boy A; or “Daddy, what do you think a fart tastes like?”**** –Boy B.
The appreciation I have for things we’re to eat will likely never be as nuanced as the appreciation the food weirdos possess, and I’ll never remember the proper name of Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce or whatthefuckever, but I’ll never not be glad that eating is a thing that we have to do to stay alive.
*I’m only just now realizing how sexual all of these sound. :(
**I have to use the qualifier “basically” because, while I of course understand that Taco Bell is only just barely edible, every few months I’ll go there, buy 30 pounds of food for $7, then go home, throw it all on the floor in the garage and then go upstairs and try and get Wife to show me her boobs while the boys all roll around in the food like pigs in slop and then come inside 20 minutes later with megadiarrhea because their tiny intestines are capable of processing it. That’s a little thing called romance.
***I had no idea how to answer this question. I just talked for, like, four minutes and then asked him if he wanted me to buy him a new Ninja Turtle, because a kid will fucking cut his own leg off for a new Ninja Turtle.
****A fart definitely tastes like menudo.
Join us next week as “Daddy Food” continues with more daddy steez, more food steez, and more perplexing questions from six year olds.