The Evolution of Food in My Lifetime

Part One:  The Early Years

by Bob Zimorino

“Food…is good.” If Gordon Gecko had uttered those words back in the original Wall Street, we would have had an entirely different movie. He went the greed route, leaving food wide open for me. My first food memories were not of home-cooked meals. My parents owned a pizzeria that also served hot dogs and hamburgers, and we ate there until my mom became ill and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. My dad couldn’t run the restaurant by himself and keep his other job with the state of New York which offered health insurance, so they closed up shop. This led to home-cooked meals around the dinner table.

My first home-cooked meal memories were from around five years old and I shared meals with my parents and two older brothers, John and Nick. My younger brother Mike was too young for solid foods. There was a mound of delicious-smelling, mouthwatering food placed in the middle of the table. No one was allowed to eat it though until after Grace was said. John, Nick, and I were each given turns as the prayer leader of the day.

Did you ever see the trick where a trainer puts a biscuit on a dog’s snout and makes the dog sit there until the command is given that allows the dog to snarf that biscuit? While the dog (once trained) sits there patiently, you can see in his or her eyes that they want that biscuit. The eyes plead. “Please give the command…please, please, please.” That is what Grace was like. We would sit there, our stomachs growling and our eyes pleading. The prayer having ended, we still sat and waited until the almost imperceptible nod from my Dad. Then, like a scene out of a National Geographic special, the jackals attacked and fed on the carcass of the slain.

Dad, having lived through the depression, wanted meat served at every dinner. This was more difficult with my Mom unable to work, but somehow there was always meat at every dinner. We had pasta with meatballs and sausage on Sundays and Wednesdays. The rest of the week we ate pork chops, roasted beef, meatloaf and roasted chicken and, of course, fish on Fridays. (Hello…Italian…Catholic)

I loved mustard (and still do). I would make sandwiches that consisted of nothing but bread and mustard. Dad was totally committed to this “need for meat” – so much so that when I was seven, he saw me making my lunch for school and made me put bologna on the sandwich so that other kids didn’t go home and tell their parents that we couldn’t afford meat for our lunches.

Next, Part Two: Parts of the Process

Bio:  Bob Zimorino is a full-time real estate agent with Lambros/ERA Real Estate, a retired Certified Executive Chef, a Musician with the popular local band Hellgate Rodeo, a dad, and a grandpa. He shares the experiences from his life that helped shape his careers and hobbies. What better place to start his weekly “Taste It” blog than his take on the evolution of food in his lifetime?

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