Smells like….buns on hot dogs?
It is autumn here in Minnesota, which means that some of the leaves are turning colors while their compatriots have already fallen onto the grass and sidewalks. The weather is getting cooler, but it isn’t cold yet. Yes…autumn in Minnesota is a perfect time to go for a walk….after all, you have to soak up all of the sun and “warm” weather you can get before winter hits.
Recently, I took advantage of one of these perfect autumn evenings and was out with my husband and children, doing just that: taking a walk and soaking up the best season in Minnesota. Out of the blue, my daughter (who was shuffling through the small piles of leaves in the sidewalk) took a deep breath in, exhaled, and announced in a quite nostalgic voice, “Mmmmmm…smells like buns on hot dogs…!”
While a part of my had a bit of a Nirvana flashback (Smells like Teen Spirit), and part of me thought, “Kid’s just say the darnedest things!”, most of me realized that my daughter has officially reached a new point of awareness regarding her celiac disease. I should have seen the signs…..
Just a few days earlier she had requested a bun on her hot dog for dinner….followed by a night where she dreamed about buns and bread on sandwiches. Yes….my daughter is starting to realize that most people eat hot dogs IN a bun, and bite into hamburgers IN a bun. So far, this hasn’t been a resentful sort of realization….I think she is just letting this anomaly roll around in her head a bit so far, but I am starting to worry. When will the innocent curiosity turn into bitter accusation??
As cute as her little statement was, it makes me realize that soon she might not be quite as cute about voicing her observations about being “different”. I knew this was inevitable…after all, she WILL be a teenager one day. I just didn’t expect to embark down this path so soon…I mean, she’s only in kindergarten!
We’ve been gluten free for over 3 years now. And although we bought GF buns in the early days, for the past couple of years, we’ve tended to keep a back-up pack of buns in the freezer only for company. What was the point of spending $1.50 on a bun that was dry and tasteless? In addition, since it wasn’t as soft, it was next to impossible for a little kid to actually take a bite out of something that was so much larger than her mouth. As for me, I shunned buns altogether. Not only because I am miserly about the amount of money I have to spend on GF stuff already (don’t get me started on the tiny loaves of bread!), but also (and I freely admit it) because I am holding a bitter grudge against all things that are not comparably reproduced in gluten-free formats. (apple-turnovers – I’m looking at you here!)
Of course, since my daughter’s declaration of affection for hot dog buns, my husband has made them a regular item on the grocery list. (I think he finds this to be a bit of a relief, for as much as he loathes hot dogs, I think he truly misses having a bun for them even more.)
Even in her phrasing, my daughter betrays her lack of understanding regarding buns. After all, to everyone else on the planet, they are “hot dog buns.” Right? It is such a common thing that I think it is the first time in my life that I have ever heard someone say “buns on hot dogs”, but it is exactly that: a reflection of the “other” upbringing we have to embark on with her that makes the otherwise commonplace seem exotically odd.
So, I guess this post is just an introspective foray into what the future might hold for my little celiac. Will her interest in eating things that are like what “normal” people are eating stay sweet? Or will it grow into some weird form of rebellion? Or will this experience serve as a unique educational moment that will allow her to see other things in life from a different perspective?
Or am I just over reacting to a 4-year old’s expression of affection for typical childhood food fare?
Perhaps I need to think outside the bun. That stupid, expensive, dry and tasteless bun…. which apparently has never before smelled as sweet.