The Tragic Reason Misha Collins Began Shoplifting Food At 4 Years Old

While Misha Collins might be the co-author of the cookbook, "The Adventurous Eating Club," his earliest food adventurous hold a far more tragic tale. Although the popular actor has seen much success on shows like "Supernatural," that path to success started on a far different road than some people might realize. As shared in a New York Times essay, Collins reflected that though "food had been the cornerstone of happiness in my youth," the food on the table did not always arrive in the traditional way.

As shared in the article, his transient lifestyle traveling across the United States with his mother and sibling was filled with decisions sometimes based on need. Collins describes how he used the "five-finger discount" to steal peaches from the store at the age of four. Simply, his family couldn't afford them. His mother would pay for the other items, like milk and bread, with food stamps. Though Collins and his family did not have a permanent home, food — prepared by his mother on hot plates and campfires — was that tie that bound them together. 

Collins said that "dinner was our anchor, consistent and soothing." Even if the food was hard to come by, he said that "it made our little world feel safe." To say that his family was resourceful when it came to food might be an understatement. Whether it was the kindness of strangers or bounty of circumstance, how the food arrived at the table did not hold the whole story. His mom's feeding the family with "thoughtful attention" serves as a recipe for how he wants to nourish his own family.

How Misha Collins approaches his own family meals today

While Misha Collins' family struggled with food and housing security, he wants to take the important lessons of his childhood with him. In an attempt to get his own child to move beyond the beige and bland foods on their plate, Collins set the family on a journey to avoid the convenience pitfalls and discover a great appreciation for food and flavor (via New York Times). While his cookbook offers a roadmap through these culinary adventures, the reality is those first small steps are necessary. 

During a conversation with the Chicago Tribune, Collins shared that he believes that kids who learn to cook can be more open to various types of foods and flavors. More specifically, he believes that showing kids the process of seed to table can help them make a lifetime of healthy eating choices. Whether it is access to the food itself, food education, or the foundation to cook for themselves, being willing to take the first bite comes from knowledge and a spirit of curiosity. Without a well-cared for garden of knowledge, the foodie in any child cannot flourish. That's how Collins' mother, with her chicken soup and eggplant parmesan, fostered his own appreciation of food, even when it was tough to come by.