My earliest memory and experience of food was when I was around five years old. I had been looked after by a babysitter the night before, who had taken it upon herself to eat some food out of the fridge. The next day, my mother went to the fridge to get the piece of meat she had planned for us to eat, but it was gone. Initially she was angry, saying out loud that we had nothing else to eat, but her anger soon turned into crying – hysterical, uncontrollable crying. I had never seen her so out of control and I remember feeling utterly panic-stricken.
Another memory I have relating to food was when I was around ten years old. It was ‘chip night’ from the takeaway and my step-father had bought me sausage and chips. I hated the sausages from the takeaway and he knew that. They were cheap, fatty and horrible!!! So…I had the ‘not so brilliant’ idea of wrapping the sausage in tissue and flushing it down the toilet. But I was caught. My step-father went ballistic and hit me hard across the face. The sausage was given back to me to eat.
My most traumatic memory I have of food happened when I was around thirteen. My mother, sister and I were sitting at the kitchen table eating Sunday lunch. My stepfather arrived home late to the meal, due to staying out all night drinking the night before. I can’t remember too much about the build up – I just remember my mother and him shouting and arguing; suddenly my stepfather threw his full plate of food at my mothers head, missing by a fraction.
I was stunned. I was so upset, my throat muscles completely spasmed and, for a few seconds, I literally couldn’t swallow. I thought I was going to choke. I tried to leave the table, but was told by my step-father to “fucking eat”.
I have ‘no’ positive, pleasurable childhood memories around food and mealtimes.