Julie Peterson on Love, Loss, What She Wore -- and What She Ate

Categories: Candy Hearts

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Katie Johnson

Chow Bella has a valentine for you. For the rest of February, we're handing out Candy Hearts -- stories of food and love from some of our favorite writers. Enjoy.

In a decent childhood, someone feeds you routinely, from the very first day. How can there not be at least some love associated with being fed? And we remember love.

See also:
Laurie Notaro's Dish of Death

I love and remember food, often in conjunction with clothes, which, despite how I dress, I also love. I remember not just what I was eating but also what I was wearing (or, at least, shopping for) at most of the key moments in my life. Or were they key moments? I have a feeling life tricks us by making things memorable when they aren't necessarily important. If the important things were the most memorable, would we screw up as much as we do?

So I still remember the dainty necklace and jute-wrapped wedge sandals I got at Los Arcos Mall on a birthday outing with my parents when we ate at Pancho's buffet. But was it that important to turn 14? No, it was not. Not even at the time.

I remember that on my first date with my first boyfriend, at Pointe in Tyme -- and I swear I'm not trying to search-engine-optimize this ish -- he had a seafood salad sandwich on a croissant and I had Key lime pie. (It was late at night, after he got off work, so I'd already had dinner.) And I wore one of those cotton dresses from India with a tight shirtwaist bodice, a full, gored skirt, and about a million buttons down the front.

I remember that during one of our conversations about him breaking up with me (it took several, because I'm stubborn), I was working my way through an order of fried clams, even though I was crying and had a knot in my stomach. They must have been good clams. And, as I've told hundreds of people, I knew it was over on an evening not long after that, when he asked me for money for my half of the pizza.


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