I ate Circus Peanuts once. Once. Then I vomited. With violence. It could have been the corn syrup, maybe the gelatin, possibly the artificial flavor. I remember almost nothing about the scene, how old I was or where I was. The only thing I remember is that I was young, puked my guts out and swore I’d never eat Circus Peanuts again. Other foods that scarred me as a child include vinegar, pistachio nuts and Coney Islands.
The vinegar story is possibly my earliest childhood memory that is not supported by pictures or video. I was about three years old and in the kitchen with my mom who was washing the dishes. Dad was indisposed on the throne at the time. I was rummaging through the lower cabinets to the right of the sink where I found a gallon jug of vinegar. I thought it was apple juice and mom kept telling me it wasn’t apple juice. Argument ensued and mom relented, “Fine. Drink it then.” I remember dad opening the door to the guest bathroom and sticking his head out as I screamed down the hallway. “What in the hell is going on?” My relationship with vinegar today is mixed. I tolerate it in dressings and salads but I never purposely add it or use it when I cook.
Of the four scarring foods/beverage, the pistachio is the only one allowed in my regular diet today. That story, which I will not fully tell, involved me, dad, Jason Colby, a two pound bag of pistachios and a long road trip from our home in Michigan down to (I think) Mitchell, IN for a race. Jason pecked at the bag sparingly while I ate the rest. Motocross and diarrhea don’t mix.
The sign outside of Angelo’s Coney Island in Flint, MI specifically asks the question, “Have you had 2 lately?” When I was eight or nine, two coney dogs resulted in me hurling into the top bunk of my bed. I avoided this treasured made-in-Michigan combination of a Koegel’s Vienna, all-meat chili, diced yellow onion and yellow mustard until I was in my late 20s. I didn’t even make it back to Angelo’s until last weekend. During a trip to Michigan Aunt Barb told a funny story about visiting Angelo’s for two coney dogs at breakfast and I decided we had to go. So, on the way to the airport we detoured to the corner of Davison and Franklin where I introduced Tera to one of my favorite childhood food memories – an Angelo’s Coney Dog (one!) with french fries and a milkshake. Everything was the same right down to the red vinyl covered stools at the lunch counter.
Since we like to entertain and have parties I think the coney dog must make it on a future menu. We could have Circus Peanuts as appetizers! Have you been scarred by a food? Please share.