Candy Hearts

Robrt Pela's Heartwarming Valentine Tale: "If It's Friday, This Must Be the Body of Christ"

Chow Bella has a valentine for you. For the rest of February, we're handing out Candy Hearts -- stories of food and love from some of our favorite writers. Enjoy.

I know a 12-year-old who eats nothing but peanut butter and chicken fingers. Three meals a day. No kidding. She has, as that old poem about eating peas with honey goes, done so all her life. My little friend is one of those poor, early-21st-century kids who are allergic to pretty much everything: potatoes, red meat, oxygen. She can't be in the same room with a lettuce leaf, but it's okay. She's lucky enough to have parents who allow her to eat Peter Pan Extra Crunchy straight from the jar and call it "lunch."

See also: - Robrt Pela's Dreaming of a Moist Christmas - Candy Hearts archives

If this pisses me off, it's because I was one of those now impossible-to-fathom kids who ate anything. Sauerkraut, sushi, okra--I loved it all. This was in the Sixties before it became fashionable for children to be terrified of contact with white flour; long before any of us had ever even heard of gluten. And so I devoured plantains and mutton stew and beef liver. I asked for seconds of cioppino and broccoli and veal-stuffed cabbage. I ate everything. But I drew the line at one foodstuff: I refused the body of Christ.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela