Friday, August 10, 2012

Utter Drinking Confusion

Growing up in our house, alcohol was so rarely consumed that I was always quite scandalized when I saw it. Once in a while, my father would drink a beer and it completely freaked me out.
He even tricked me into tasting it a couple of times, which may explain why I don't have a taste for the stuff. :)

Once in a very great while he and my stepmother might have a strawberry daiquiri. Possibly twice in a summertime that I ever knew about. Maybe a glass or two of wine during Christmas, and a couple of tablespoons of whiskey in a cup of boiled custard, also at Christmas.

A side note: I'm the one who makes my grandmother's boiled custard recipe every Christmas. It takes HOURS! It's not cheap to make, and very labor intensive, not just because of the constant stirring over a steaming vat of liquid, but because it can't be stopped for a solid hour. Then I have to strain it, decant it, and all that.

Perhaps that's why I get I'm insulted every time Dad asks me why I didn't put any "flavoring" in it. Well, I'm just not going to pour a pint of whiskey in, because that isn't how it is made. Do that, and you'll have eggnog. Maybe it's not that simple, but when I was a teenager, I put way too much whiskey in my custard and it made it taste awful. From then on, I stuck with a little vanilla extract. Besides, boiled custard is supposed to be enjoyed for its delicate... Uh... CUSTARD flavor. I work hard to make it taste good as it is. Believe me, it's flavored.

I always had the impression that "good" people do not drink alcohol, at least not at any time other than Christmas. My skewed childish perception probably came from knowing that my maternal grandfather had a drinking problem. I never knew him. Add to this the fact that my mother's boyfriends always reeked of some kind of alcohol, and drinking, even just one drink, seemed rather seedy to me. My mother laughed the rest of her life about the time I got in one boyfriend's face and told him flat-out "You're drunk. I don't like you!". I was six, and he was both creepy and obnoxious.

When I was a teenager, I found out that my mother had a drinking problem too, and with the suspicion that alcoholism is hereditary, I didn't want to take any chances.

I still haven't found the humor in the weekly accusatory lectures my father delivered about my presumed drinking while I was an hour away at college. There's a good chance that someone was telling him some lies about what they think I was doing at school. Yes, every once in a while on a weekend, I did drink a wine cooler at a party. And one New Year's Eve at a party I had a glass of champagne that was so awful I don't think I finished it. I kept the cork, because I'm one of those goofy people that was looking for a craft project to make with it. Can I help it that I was fascinated by the shape of a real wine cork, not having seen any around my house, uh, ever?

A few days later I found that my stepmother had gone through my coat pockets, found the cork, and left me a snide little note saying "Now we know what you do while you're at college."

Guilty by stupid and totally incorrect assumption. I suppose that's why I got lectured on drinking and screwing around every weekend when I came home and every weekend when I went back to school. I just wonder how sensational and fictional a story was relayed to my father over one simple wine cork. I was angry that my pockets were searched, with the lame excuse of "It was the top coat on the coatracks when I went outside." Yeah, sure.

If only my social life had actually been that exciting. Ha.

I've always associated even a single beer with absolute guilt, which is ridiculous, because I'm not one to be out of control. I still worry about the alcoholism gene possibility. That's why I came home from Italy with a bottle of strawberry wine and a bottle of Nocino, feeling like I had a shameful secret in my checked bag. I know, that's absolutely ridiculous. Lol. People like to make me feel like an absolute lush because I have a bottle of rum in my house! Oh, for about five years now. :). Yeah, it takes a while to use it when you're making rum cakes with it almost exclusively.

So I'd say I will never have a drinking problem, though I may have one heck of a misplaced guilt problem. ;)

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