In the mid-1970’s, my parents became obsessed with a clean colon. My mother, a “happy eater” and daily drinker believed bran could cure all. My father, a devoted runner and equally dedicated alcoholic, drank yeast mixed with orange juice and a raw egg every day. Whole grains (bran, oats, flax seed, wheat), vegetables, and nuts were consumed by our family en mass. All were essential to health and longevity. Daily ingestion of these ingredients insured the sugar and cheese and alcohol we also devoured would be efficiently sucked out of our intestines and eliminated in the most painful way possible.
I am pretty sure my parent’s intention was simply to make me strong in my constitution and was not a sadistic punishment, but I have cause to wonder. When I was seven years old my mother introduced me to a strange rubber device called the “enema bag.” The regular intrusion of warm water forced up my lower intestine through a small tube instantly awoke the philosopher in me. Soon I could be found ritually pondering the nature of existence while forcing a tidal wave of putrid contaminates out my bowels. It was a unique way to discover the sensation of enlightenment. It wasn’t until my 20’s that laxatives made the exodus oh, so much easier.
As winter turned to spring, so my mother turned from cleansing to blocking. Cheese played a central role in the dam that became my upper intestine. Alcohol was then introduced to “break up” the dam as well as “lighten up” the pressure. I am doubtful one of the few who can boast their first drunken night was achieved at the age of twelve- assisted by the power of tequila in my mother’s homemade margaritas. Later I learned to enjoy a fine Shiraz with a copy of “Vanity Fair” and a six-pack of Charmin. Alcohol in, warm water in, goodbye breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I suppose my mother these days could politely be referred to as “abusive,” or “sadistic,” or perhaps more kindly as a “manic/depressive” with an “eating disorder.” Whatever she was, I couldn’t be bothered to address at the time. I was only concerned for my survival. What she gave me, I ate. When she told me to “do the bag,” (our little nickname for the enema device) I bagged.
As incentive, my mother would say, “Remember Heather,” as she stirred more bran into a batch of chocolate cupcakes.
Who was Heather you ask? It had been all over the news in 1980. Poor Heather O’Rourke, the little girl in the movie “Poltergeist,” had died suddenly of septic shock due to a bowel obstruction. Her parents were devastated, as were we all. She wasn’t even ten years old, if I remember correctly. Tragically for me, there were no more arguments to be had against “the bag.”
Food also served to shift my mother’s feelings. Sugar and alcohol combined with bran and purging battled the ever-present ache of her (therefore my) existential pain. Food in. Food out. Booze in. Booze out. Happiness in. Sorrow forced out. It was a never-ending cycle of mood management and weight adjustment. Ah childhood.
It is from this place, from the memories of my traumatized colon, that I share with you some of my mother’s most special recipes. You will also find some of my own twists on them- the artistic attempts of my bourgeoning identity, struggling to make a mark on the environment into which I was thrust.
I hope you enjoy the titles of these recipes I call, “Intestinal Desecrations” as much as I was shocked by the result of them.
Mom’s Purging Power…
“What to do with All the Zucchini?”
“Mrs. Gorsky’s Borscht”
“Bourbon Nut Teaser”
“Pumpkin Bran Nut Bread”
“Mom’s Date Loaf Candy”
“Chopped Liver Swedish Style”
“Molasses Chip Cookies”
“Fruit Studded Ellipse Loaf”
“Apples Stuffed with Pecan’s and Prunes”
“Whole Wheat Bread with Sunflower Seeds”
Stop, Block and Roll!
“Pecan Cheese Mound.”
“English Potted Cheese”
“Fondue for Four”
“Spinach Cheddar Quiche”
Screw it… Drink up!
“Dad’s Pep Up”
“Spiced Wine with Raisins”
“Hot Buttered Rum”
“Isn’t it Funny How Kids Like Port?”
My the time I was a teenager I was creating my own “clean colon recipes” such as:
“Super Fluxo Muffins”
“Beets and Broccoli”
And soon, I became “Mary the Mixologist”
“Vodka Melon Balls”
“Ginger Bourbon Old Fashioned’s”
“Cooking with Wine All the Time”
If you would like to know how to make any of these recipes I will be happy to share them with you, but please make sure to clear your morning calendar.
And don’t say I didn’t warn you.