I still remember to this day the caption under my picture on my 6th grade yearbook. It was my first yearbook and I would treasure it for life (or so I thought) since it would include pictures of my friends I cherished deeply and were about to leave behind as primary school came to its end. As soon as I got my hands on it, I flipped through it to find my class and started eagerly looking at the pictures and reading the captions as these had the power to describe who we were in one brief phrase. “Καλώς τα καλά ζαρζαβατικά” = ‘we welcome the good vegetables’. Deeply disappointed is an understatement of how I felt at that moment of time.
I had been waiting for a caption like ‘she knew how to throw the best parties’ – although all credit should be given to my mom of course – or ‘she made us laugh’ or ‘she was a good student’ – which was not true at all since I was merely mediocre – but one can dream, right? No, I got the vegetable thingy. Truth is I was the only one that had a paprika snack on a daily basis. Everyone else had their version of a chocolatey snack but no, me, I had the vegetables. Needless to say that having a red paprika daily for 6 years has scarred me for (food) life.
To cut the long story short: I was raised to love healthy food, mainly vegetables (besides red paprika) and fruit, avoid fried foods and generally sweets. Our version of going out as a family to eat was not to a fast food chain, but to a taverna where we would enjoy a nice steak and yes, some fries to go with it.
My first burger was at Wendy’s with my friends from school at the (very late if you ask me) age of 15. The look on my friend’s faces was priceless. They thought I came from Mars. First burger at the not so tender age of f*****g 15? I was told to get the bacon cheeseburger along with fries covered in cheese sauce and bacon. That was it. I officially entered the world of junk food. I was damaged for life.
20 years and one thyroidectomy later I still think that when you want to go down junk road there is only one direction: burger and fries!