“I hate canned peas. Better yet, I despise canned peas, and I always have. The texture, the taste, they just gross me out to the 10th degree squared. Even in college, I still hated peas. I have most certainly tasted worse things in my life, but I’ve just said, ‘blah. I don’t like that!’ and either spit it into a napkin if it was horrible or finished the bite anyhow, just not eating any more of it. Peas are in a whole different category, and I just can’t handle them.
I was about four, and having lunch at my aunt’s house, I don’t remember the main course, but canned peas were made along with another vegetable. As my aunt was making the plates, I said, ‘No peas please.’ And my aunt said, ‘You need your vegetables.’ So I said, ‘Can I have more of the other vegetable and not have peas? I really really hate them.’ My brother piped in, ‘She doesn’t like peas or cooked carrots.’ I eat raw carrots all the time still, just not cooked.
Sure enough, Auntie put peas on my plate, and I felt my stomach drop. I was upset to see them there, and I was from an eat-everything-on-your-plate-and-I’m-not-kidding era. I ate all of my meal and all the other vegetables. I thought, given my cousins never eat all their food, I could escape the food I hated the most.
I went to put my plate in the sink, and my aunt stopped me and pointed out I didn’t eat my peas. I said, with lack of filter, ‘I’m full. I ate everything else, and Patty didn’t eat hers and left a bunch of other food.’
‘You’re not Patty, and you’re going to eat them!’ Auntie said.
I became angry and said loudly, ‘No! I hate them, and I won’t eat them!’ My uncle walked past the dining room and my aunt told him, ‘She’s not eating her vegetables.’
And I shouted, ‘I’m full! I ate everything else!’
The next thing I knew, my uncle picked me up and sat me in his lap at the table. My aunt put the plate in front of me, and my uncle said, ‘Here’s what you do…’ he looked at me and said, ‘Your aunt made a lunch for you, and you have to eat it.’
I pleaded my case to him saying, ‘I’m full and I don’t like peas.’
So he happily said, ‘I’m going to show you how to eat them.’
He had what looked to me like a tablespoon, and scooped up the offending vegetables. He said, ‘It’s just three big spoonfuls.’
Again I said, ‘I hate them…’
And as I said that, he put that spoonful into my mouth, then picked up a glass of milk and said, ‘You take a spoonful, drink a little milk, chew and swallow.’
Being force-fed, I didn’t get a choice. I chewed, felt the cold milk, and tasted the hot peas. I tasted that ugly pea taste, my mouth was overstuffed, and I felt that nasty pasty texture in my mouth. I couldn’t swallow, my mouth was too full. It was too much, I wretched, tried to hold it down, felt myself gag, wretched again, and then it happened. I projectile vomited my whole lunch and nasty peas all over the table and floor. I had vomited all over my blouse, and I started tearing up and tried to hold my tears back.
My aunt said, ‘Why did you do that?!’
I said, ‘I couldn’t help it, I told you I don’t like peas, and Uncle Mike stuffed my mouth.’ I felt my ears get hot, and was totally upset, again trying not to cry.
Next thing I knew, my mom showed up, and said, ‘UH OH, what happened?’
I said, ‘Uncle Mike made me eat peas, and I told him I don’t like them, and Sam (my brother) and Patty didn’t have to eat theirs!’
My mom picked me up and told my aunt, ‘There’s one food she can’t stand, and it’s peas.’
She looked at me and said, ‘Why did you eat them if you don’t like them?’ I started crying because I was so upset.
My mom loaded my brother and me into her car. My brother said, ‘She shouldn’t have made you eat them.’
All I said was, ‘I know.’
It was such a terrible event and left such an impact on me. I remember the house where it happened, and I even remember I was wearing a pair of light blue shorts and a white blouse with orange trim on it, made by Health-Tex.
Even today, I will NOT eat peas. I just can’t get them down the hatch, or make myself eat them. It was horrible and traumatizing to have those things shoved down my throat despite my pleas while being held at the table, unable to escape.”