How Pork Chops Changed My Life

The Pork Chop Epiphany

Growing up, the only way I knew pork chops were cooked was the way my grandmother made them. Plain, unseasoned, and thrown into the oven at noon for dinner at six. These were pork chops in name only. In reality they were more as roof shingles or shoe soles.

I HATED them. I dreaded dinner when I knew pork chops were the main course. Then, when they were served, we’d sit around the table and I’d force down every bite with a huge gulp of milk while fighting my urge to gag. This, naturally, didn’t go over well with my parents and they’d often get upset and chastise me at the table for gagging over what I found to be utterly inedible food.

Through time, I had developed a belief about pork chops. I knew I didn’t like them, would never like them, and if I never ate another one in my life I’d be happy. Pork chops were, in my mind, this dry, tough, inedible meat that wasn’t fit for human consumption.

Years later I was raising my two daughters on my own and, in a moment of inspiration or insanity, I bought some pork chops and some “Shake-N-Bake” during a shopping trip. To this day, I have no idea why I picked them up as I hadn’t even looked at a pork chop since I left for the Navy almost a decade previous.

A few nights later I pulled them from the freezer, opened the Shake-N-Bake packet, poured the breading into the bag, and got ready to put them in the oven. Being a scientist, I have an innate need to have some sort of procedure to follow. I read the box and cooked them according to the instructions the good people at Kraft had so generously provided.

They. Were. Amazeballs!

They were flavorful, tender, and juicy, not at all like the pork chops I was served growing up.

I remember thinking to myself “So, THIS is what they’re supposed to taste like!”

I began to question everything I thought about food. If I was wrong about hating pork chops, what else was I wrong about? What foods did I currently hate that I might actually enjoy if prepared differently? What culinary delights had I missed out on over the previous 10+ years?

Following the pork chop epiphany, I purchased a cookbook and began experimenting in the kitchen with foods and spices, expanding my culinary horizons.

All because I questioned the negative beliefs I had about pork chops that were formed when I was a child.

Today I love being in the kitchen and trying new things. Cooking and food are a passion of mine, one I would never have imagined I had.

You might be asking what the point of the story was. Simple. The point was that I had a false negative belief that was imprinted on me as a young child that I carried into my adult life. If I believed that about pork chops, what other false negative beliefs could I be carrying around?

More importantly, what false beliefs are you carrying around from your childhood? What did you hear or see as a young child that formed the beliefs you have today?

Do you struggle with money because your parents struggled? Did they often say ‘we can’t afford that’ or ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’?

Were your views about marriage shaped by your parent’s marriage?

Most importantly, what beliefs about being a man were shaped by your father’s presence (or lack of it)?

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