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Said no one in our house ever.

The Mom insists that nobody liked her cooking when we were kids, but what she frequently fails to mention is that this is due in large part because we weren’t able to eat anything that could possibly have tasted nice.

I would like to note in our defence that it wasn’t so much that we were picky. It was that liver, at any age, but especially as a child, is just not ever going to be a popular choice. Neither is any other food stuff that still smells very, very strongly of the barn in which it was raised. So really, it’s not the cooking in this instance, it’s the ingredients. There’s only so much that can be done. And you know, for years I ate fried fish for breakfast. So that’s hardly being too picky, now is it?

The pets, on the other hand, are a notoriously fickle lot. My parakeet Newton was ridiculously cautious when it came to trying new foods.

In fact, he was not dissimilar to the way I normally shop for clothes, and in particular shoes: I have to circle them, stalk them, consider them, for long periods of time before actually going into the store to try them on. He was the same with food: he’d spend the better part of a day staring down a half eaten grapefruit I’d left on the counter, inching closer, then scurrying away when the grapefruit… I don’t know what actually, but maybe it looked at him funny?

This drove The Mom nuts when he was staying with her. Especially because with foods he did like, he was a total and complete menace.

For instance, rice. All our birds have enjoyed rice but it would seem that the birds left in my charge developed freakish fondness for it, boarding sometimes on the psychotic. Mrs Jones, the zebra finch, would start beeping and griping the minute I put a pot on the stove to cook, and she wouldn’t stop until she had a plate of her own.

But Newton was even more dedicated to rice. When I had taken up residence at The Mom’s, we ate dinner together. And by we, I mean the three of us: The Mom, me and the parakeet. He had a place set for him like everybody else, and he had his special pots set out, and filled up with the things he would eat; pellets, water (for dunking), and rice. Sometimes he’d deign to eat old soggy peas, but mostly if there was rice going he wouldn’t look at anything else.

It got to the point where The Mom decided he’d been eating too much of it, and cut him off. Unfotunately, I also exist on a diet based primarily if not exclusively on rice, so we often had it for dinner. And Newton knew. He’d race over to our plates and start digging in, which means that he’d take one grain, take a bite out of it, and then fling it over his shoulder to get at the next one. This often had hilarious results, like winding up in The Mom’s hair or stuck to my glasses.If you tried to shoo him away, he became more determined, even once after I’d made a tower of my plate and some of the library books lying around, he stood up on his tip toes (tricky for a bird who was crippled and walked on his ankles) and tried desperately to get the rice.

I would say that he is definitely in the running against The Pig for who likes The Mom’s food best.

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