Ode to Deprivation

When I was a kid, Sunday night was a special night. We watched The Wonderful World of Disney during dinner. We never watched tv during dinner except on Sundays. We never had cable. And if you don’t already think I led a deprived childhood, listen to this: we never ate ice cream after dinner either, except on Sundays. When we ate ice cream, we ate the kind that comes in half gallon containers: Dreyers French Silk or Breyer’s Mint Chip. On special occasions hot fudge sauce draped the ice cream in its buttery, creamy, chocolatey curtain of melted sugar. When it was on sale, my mother bought Bud’s, a San Francisco specialty.

My family’s habit of eating together almost every night was anomalous for my generation, as was our industrial consumption of ice cream. And my memories associated with the specialness of ice cream and television probably contribute to my guilt-free enjoyment of cable and ice cream now.

But the best part about ice cream, now that I live on my own, is being able to buy whatever I want. I am the adult in the frozen foods aisle who cannot decide between the Haagen Daz Coffee or Ben and Jerry’s Vermonty Python. I can buy Ben and Jerry’s every time I go to the store!

Seriously, deprivation in childhood is the best way to ensure indulgence later in life.

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3 Responses to “Ode to Deprivation”

  1. Mom Says:

    revisionist history! we went through prodigous amounts of ice cream because we didn’t have the discipline of the Baron-Porters to limit it to once a week on “sundays”. I must admit to boycotting the pints since our family of 4 would have gone through at least a pint a night – so it was that or college…or the excuse of not wanting to get you used to something that later you couldn’t afford!

  2. Elaine Says:

    Wow, your family is like the West Coast version of mine! We had no cable, no microwave, limited to 1 hour of TV a day (my dad would actually lock up the TV’s plug to enforce this rule), and no fruit snacks. To this day I don’t crave fruit snacks, nor do I have cable, but our soda deprivation may have contributed to my later addiction to diet coke. I agree with your Mom’s reasoning that it’s good not to get used to something you later won’t be able to afford, maybe because it reminds me of my upbringing!

  3. Beth Says:

    We were never allowed to have sugar cereals and I LIVED on them in college, when I could help myself to unlimited Trix and Crunchberries in the dining hall. On the other hand, we ate a lot of ice cream. We thought that we had ESP because if we all sat around the table staring at my dad long enough and thinking about it, pretty soon he would say, “Why don’t we all go out for ice cream?” And I can’t say that I’m any better now at resisting ice cream than the next person.

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