I didn’t eat fish with scales until I was about 30. A friend took me for sushi (something my then newly ex-wife never managed in almost 8 years of dining together) and I learned that I liked yellowtail and tuna and quite a few more. I happily prepare salmon and tuna (and very recently added cod to the list). But the oily fishy tasting fish I still claim not to like. 

My wife and I are now trying a new diet which includes occasionally eating those fish I’ve always so disliked. (It also involves dropping white bread, pasta, and potatoes.) Mackerel this evening. Big ones. Barbecued with a sauce of chili, lime, ginger, garlic and sesame. Aside from being unpracticed in removing the bones from an unfileted fish, and the meal therefore being a lot more work to eat than it should have been, I found it quite edible. However, as I was preparing the sauce and then eating the fish, all of these old emotions came up, nearly unbidden. Food traumas associated with the commune we lived in for three years until I was ten, and then later ones as my parents and I fought to get me to eat more foods than I wanted to. Struggles, I learned much later, that were skirmishes in the proxy war between my mother and father. 

Recently I was talking to my sister, and the subject of old embarrassments came up – these memories of interactions that the other person surely can’t remember. I exclaimed, surely there’s a statute of limitations on these things. Something I said when I was 15 shouldn’t still affect me, right? She said that when she turned 50 (last year) she gave herself permission to let these things go. And that I didn’t have to wait (21 more months), if I didn’t want to.

So I raise a glass to dropping old traumas and eating new foods.