Pastrami and the Teenaged Carnivore

This isn’t another article about how a boy’s appetite explodes when he turns teen. Rather, it’s a post about how my odd little duck approaches food in general.

Even before he hit the teen years, Joshua didn’t ask for food by its specific name, that is pizza, sandwiches, chicken, spaghetti. Instead of “What are we having for dinner?” he would ask “Is there any meat?” It didn’t matter what kind of meat as long as an animal-based protein appeared on his plate, preferably cooked.

Now that I think about it, as a toddler, he stood on a chair at the dining room table and attacked a platter of steaks with a spoon, trying to drag one off, shouting, “Meat, meat!”

Tonight I served pastrami and Swiss cheese sandwiches toasted under the broiler. For those of you without a teenager, meat is an okay word, but pastrami runs the risk of sounding foreign. Fortunately, Joshua recognized the concoction as two of his favorites: meat and cheese. So far, so good.

Joshua didn’t attack his food as I expected. He looked at the sandwich from the side, his cheek parallel with the table. Then he flipped his head over and examined the sandwich from the other side. I wasn’t two feet away from him, but he was oblivious to my observation.

Next he sniffed the food on his plate like a dog approaching an unknown yet potential food item. I worried the banana peppers would be offensive. Luckily, the melting Swiss cheese overpowered his finicky senses.

Gently, the sandwich was lifted off the plate with all ten fingers since Princess Boy hates anything greasy on his hands. He looked to the left then the right like a demented meerkat watching out for larger predators. The only threat at the table was Joshua’s father who is actually a pushover where Josh and food are concerned.

Before putting the sandwich in his mouth, Joshua proceeded to lick the broiled edge of the pastrami sticking out the end of the sandwich. His tongue flicked back and forth, trying to detect unpleasant tastes. At that point, I lost it laughing. Joshua also burst out laughing because he knows he’s been caught.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

We laughed some more before Joshua finally devoured the sandwich, moaning while chewing. He doesn’t know he possesses this habit.

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