via Impatient Foodie
I wish my food nostalgia was linked to a long-standing family recipe, like the homemade ravioli or rice balls we eat at every family holiday, but the strongest taste memory I have is of Red Gatorade.
Being 5’11” as an adult woman comes with many of advantages, but as a 10-year-old in a sea of little people, it was confusing, awkward and sometimes painful. I eventually grew into my body and my coordination came together to form a college athlete, but when I joined the school soccer team in 5th grade, I had 0% coordination. I was so tall that I had to wear my coach’s jersey for my very first game. The league had to special-order an adult size and it hadn’t arrived in time. Nothing makes you feel like you don’t belong quite like the sting of a 40-year-old man loaning you his shirt, then tugging it over your body and realizing it fits. (Are you feeling awkward for me yet?) It was so bad that I didn’t even want my parents to come, but of course they did (plus I couldn’t drive).
On that day, my Dad started a habit that would continue all the way through grade school until high school: He would bring a full three-pack of Red Gatorade Juice boxes. With little to no playing time under my belt, my Dad would come and hand me my first box. It made me feel like goddamn Michael Jordan – a real athlete! – someone worthy of replenishing the fluids that I would sweat out later during my big break. No matter how little I played or how few beads of sweat I emitted or how many times I wiffed the ball, my Dad would come over and make sure I was hydrated. I felt so special. No one else’s Dad did that. They had stupid refillable water bottles or they drank from the public Gatorade jug (ew).
Now anytime I have a tough day or need a pick me up, I’ll grab a full calorie Red Gatorade to replenish my fluids. It’s comforting, full of sugar, and makes me feel like I can fly.