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."
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.