The Clean Plate Club

July 21, 2014 in Stories by

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Clean Plate Club

photo credit: LydiaL via photopin cc

The Clean Plate Club

Read all the way to the end of today’s post for a riddle to share. But read the post first.

When you were a kid, were you regularly admonished to eat everything on your plate? Perhaps you were reminded of the starving kids in Ethiopia who would have loved to have those Brussels sprouts that you couldn’t bring yourself to eat. (My friend Tony says his children who were adopted from Ethiopia dispel the whole Ethiopian love affair with Brussels sprouts. Just so you know.)

My dad always encouraged my sisters and brother and me to be members of the clean plate club. To this day, I will continue to eat past full if anything is left on my plate. For me, portion discipline occurs at the serving line.

Clean Plate Club Failures

My mom was a big believer in our trying a variety of foods. I get that. My boys are big on not liking foods that they have not even tried. But some of the foods that Mom made me try…

  • Liver cheese loaf. Ugghh! This was a sandwich meat of liver with little dabs of cheese. It smelled awful and tasted even worse, but I suppose I am a more cultured individual because I have eaten liver cheese sandwich meat. Once.
  • Grapefruit. Looks like an orange, only bigger. So grapefruit should taste like an orange, only better, right? As much as I would like to like grapefruit, I just don’t. (I would also love to like steamed broccoli, but not even a gallon of melted cheese on it makes me like what is supposedly one of the best foods for you.) But I’m a better man for having tried both grapefruit and broccoli. I suppose.
  • Fried eggs. The first time Mom made me eat fried eggs, it took about an hour for me to gain my membership in the clean plate club. The second time, well, that’s a whole ‘nother story. I won’t say that my effort toward eating them was exactly stellar, but they were AWFUL! Even worse than the first time, which I didn’t think possible. My dad noticed something while I was eating, though, that helped make sense of the situation. He asked to taste my milk and tabbed it as the culprit. Turns out my cup had been washed but not rinsed, resulting in soapy milk. After that incident I never slacked up in my love for milk, but I have never again eaten a fried egg. If eating fried eggs is what it will take for me to be well-rounded, I’ll just stick with being sorta oval.

The Clean Plate Club and You

Are you a regular member of the clean plate club? Does your answer to that question reflect the importance your parents placed on eating everything on your plate?

If you are a parent, does your emphasis on clean plate club membership (or lack thereof) to your kids mirror your parents’ emphasis on it?

Thanks for reading.

For the next generation,
Al Ainsworth

Al’s first book is Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales). Buy the paperback here and have it signed by the author.

If you have already read Lines in the Gravel, would you be so kind as to write a brief review? That would truly be helpful.



Riddle for Today: Why so many baseball umpires of the ’70′s, ’80′s, and ’90′s overweight?






Answer: Because so many of them…





Wait for it…





were members of the clean plate club.


Clean Plate Club

photo credit: Bart Hanlon via photopin cc