My earliest memories are set in North East, Maryland, where my dad worked at a riverside conference center called Sandy Cove. We lived in staff housing briefly while our own house was being built, so we often ended up walking down the road to the main hotel building and joining dad for dinner in the big dining room.
Meals were buffet-style and afforded me a singular opportunity to be an individual and make my own decisions based on my own convictions. Two guiding principles in my life circa 1993 were A) that shrimp were reprehensible and should only be considered for consumption if breaded and fried; and B) that croutons were the only reason to spend any time on the salad bar. So I would typically arrive at the dinner table with a plate of shrimp, proceed to eat all the fried breading off of them, and then shove the offensively fleshy pink curls off onto a greedy sibling. Next I would move on to my bowl of croutons. Just croutons. In a bowl. Maybe some bacon bits too, but mostly croutons. Having enjoyed Carbohydrates Two Ways, it was time for dairy. I made my way to the dessert station and carefully selected the eclair with the best chocolate-to-pastry ratio.
(I have never been a very competitive person, but in the area of Early Cellulite Reserve Accrual I was a stealthy overachiever and you all have a lot of catching up to do.)