My son is a sporty, healthy teenager. He’s much taller than me, has been for years and he’s much, much fitter. He used to rugby-tackle me in the garden when he was 12. If he attempted that now he’d knock me right off my feet. I’ve tried over the years to teach him about the relationship between nutrition and wellness, the basic food groups, healthy and not so healthy choices – for food and life in general. When he went to university I set him up with some easy student recipes and the culinary essentials to put together an edible meal. He didn’t come home with scurvy this summer so some of these teachings seem to have paid off.
At home, I’ve tended to enjoy cooking but I never follow recipes – why follow when you can create? Using a bunch of raw ingredients to rustle up something fresh, delicious and healthy (with the exception of the ever popular Bristol five pepper duck breast followed by raspberry mascarpone cheesecake) has been high on my agenda. Recommended levels of fruit and vegetables made it into most of our meals and I’m pleased to say in spite of recipe rebellion, I’ve never food-poisoned anyone. But at present I can’t cook and if my son was eating the rubbish I’ve been eating lately I’d be very disappointed.
My desire for all things fresh and healthy has been replaced by no appetite at all. I could easily go days, probably weeks without eating. Any appetite I manage to muster is for random, often disgusting concoctions that make Heston Blumenthal look tame. At the less offensive end of the scale there’s jelly. Fruit jelly. Maybe I’m developing a penchant for all things slimey (see fecthis.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/still-loving-life-as-i-slowly-start-to-fall-apart/). I sincerely hope not because I don’t want to fall in love with a politician or anyone from HM Revenue and Customs. Sausages: I’ve always avoided these unless they were of reputable origin, low-fat and gristle-free. I ought to be avoiding them now because I myself am 0.08% pig thanks to this summer’s adventures. I find there are few things more anti-social than cannibalism but if I suddenly crave half a sausage sandwich any hope of social pleasantries is replaced by wanton pork-lust. I know, eating my cousins plumbs the depths of depravity. It’s wrong. But on the rare occasion that I feel hungry I may be unable to resist my porcine relatives. At least it’s not more slime. Ginger: If this was an illegal substance I’d have a habit I couldn’t afford. I don’t care what form it takes – cake, tablet, beer (non alcoholic, alcohol and me don’t see eye to eye these days), chews, bread, pudding, biscuits. Or in it’s purest, most heady form…. crystallised. If I need to eat and the only edible option is ginger then I eat ginger. At least this one has some health benefit unlike the sausage-sandwich-and-jelly-deluxe-combo-meal.
I’m not proud of my unsavoury and frankly disturbing eating habits. I want to eat my normal diet – fresh berries, fruits and nuts. I can’t. I just can’t face them and if I try I regret it for days and have to revert to soda water and flat diet coke. No-one grows up big and strong on that combination! But just in case my son is reading and thinks ‘oh happy days, an end to Mom’s vegetable crusades’ it doesn’t. Somehow I will overcome the eating evils, escape from cauliflower isn’t that easy.