Bubble and Squeak – The Foods of Childhood

Bubble and Squeak is a Funny not Slutty food column by humorist Elizabeth Bastos.

I subsisted on egg salad and cream cheese and liverwurst sandwiches as a child. Then, junior high hit and I was made to realize by my peers (evil, expert psychological torturers, other twelve year old girls) that eggs were not to be eaten. They were like, ewwwwww, gag me.

And liverwurst? You were a social leper for uttering the word liver even in science class, even on the hunt for it in a frog dissection. Never mind a word like wurst. It meant your grandparents were from somewhere besides the golf club, and you knew how totally uncool was that? Besides, who was cool who ate sausage? It was another way to say penis. Gnarly!

So I left liverwurst behind and became the kind of automaton junior high girl who eats the peanut butter and jelly on white bread and macaroni and cheese, the only acceptable cheese being orange American. I shunned the not-with-it newbies who lunchsacked in with the unholiest of unholies: tuna fish and pickle on wheat. Pickle! That was another name for that nasty thing boys had. Nasty and fascinating. Mostly nasty. Okay, a little interesting. Mostly nasty though. Pickle!

Now that I don’t care what other people think of my food choices, and in fact, I instill new food memories on the young souls in my care, I went on an a culinary adventure backward, into the mists of the time of the generic food isle, and the nostalgia that surrounds childhood foods. I got a log of liverwurst from Whole Foods (organic, sustainably harvested from pigs massaged by virgins) and a thing of cream cheese and set about to inhabit an old memory.

The texture of liverwurst is silky meat. Silky meat! Creamy umami? Add to this unctuousness a thick layer of rich dairy cream cheese flavor and you have, if you will, a mélange of fats encased in Wonder Bread. It was godawful. I was desperate, desperate for the bracing acidity of a pickle. A plump and juicy one. Pickle! So weird how I can say that word now and it has lost all its other meanings, it means now, a cucumber soaked in brine that is all.

“Mom,” my five-year-old son asked me, “You really liked egg yolks when you were my age?”


“And you stopped because kids made fun of you?”


“That’s a little pathetic, you must have had low self-esteem.”


“I have high self esteem, and if anyone in kindergarten makes fun of me that I like to eat watermelon and smoked salmon, I’ll punch him in the face.”

FnS Food Columnist Elizabeth Bastos is a SAHM of two under five. She used to work in corporate and foundation relations, and before that, as a writer for the Museum of Science, Boston. Now she moonlights, writing, and in her free time, she cooks complicated French pastries to tempt her children into doing what she asks. http://www.goodybastos.blogspot.com/


  1. HAHA!!! “You’re grandparents are from someplace else rather than the golf course…” Great article!

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