We had fried potatoes with dinner the other night.
“The potatoes are a little burned,” said The Lady of the House.
“That’s okay,” I said. “Burned food sweetens the stomach.”
She looked around the corner from the kitchen.
“What?” she asked.
“Burned food sweetens the stomach,” she repeated.
“Burned food releases free radicals that cause cancer,” she said.
“So that’s why we don’t fire up the grill out back?”
“No,” she said. “We don’t fire up the grill because you haven’t fired up the grill. Besides, who told you, ‘Burned food sweetens the stomach’? “
“My momma told me that,” I said with pride.
I was a little boy when my mom put some burned toast on my plate. Underneath my layer of peanut butter was black toast.
“My toast is burned,” I told my mom.
She walked over, looked at it and said those eternal words: “Go ahead and eat it, it will sweeten your stomach.”
“What does ‘sweeten your stomach’ mean?” I asked.
“If you eat burned foods the carbon makes your stomach work better,” she said as she walked back to the kitchen.
As the years rolled by and mom served up burned toast here, overcooked squash there, blackened pizza another time, often saying, “It’ll sweeten your stomach.”
To boost my discussion with The Lady of the House I took to the ultimate know-all to beat-all: The Internet.
I learned stuff.
“Sweetening the stomach” means to cut stomach acid, a job for antacids. And indeed, carbon is recommended for sweetening the stomach … f you’re a parakeet. My search pulled up a pet bird product full of oyster shell and carbon “to combat hyperacidity and to sweeten the stomach.”
Well, momma’s cooking always was pretty good anyway.
“Your mother burned a lot of food, didn’t she,” asked The Lady of the House, as she walked back into the kitchen.
Who knew? All good boys love their mother’s cooking.
Grant McGee is a long-time broadcaster and former truck driver who rides bicycles and likes to talk about his many adventures on the road of life. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.