I know that I am very lucky to have always had a good relationship with food. Upon leaving home and moving in to university I came face to face with attitudes to food and cooking that completely didn’t register with my brain. Boys who existed purely on pre-made oven warmed pies. Girls who forgot to eat during freshers week only to remember half asleep, slam some curly fries in an oven and wake up to eat the cremated remains. I didn’t understand it. In my world dinner was cooked from fresh ingredients every night and enjoyed at the table. Yes food is fuel for the body, but more than that food is fuel for your soul.
My mother is a great cook. If you ask me what the best food I’ve ever had is, I will always say hers. And I’m sure I was a massive pain as a child, the list of foods I didn’t like ever growing and getting confused with my brother’s. Making it impossible to remember who had cream cheese on their bagel, who had lemon on top and who didn’t, and who had pepper and who hated it. The possible combinations were endless. There were definitely moments where she didn’t love cooking, periods of time when it took took much energy, but she always comes back to it. My mum used to arrive at her university study group with a new dessert every week, and she’ll always be that girl.
I’m not a snob, it doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. My favourite foods are bread and pasta. Anything with chocolate in it or just ice-cream is dessert perfection.
Food makes me so happy, just watching programmes about food will rescue me from the worst mood. My recommendations for feel good food programmes are:
Ugly Delicious - S1, E1 & E3
Chef’s Table - S1, E1
Chef’s Table - S3, E2 & E3
Chef’s Table - S4, E1
City of Gold
Eat Pray Love
Some of those may seem a bit random to you, but they all work together, they show an unadulterated love of food. The need to create. To create and appreciate something that tastes good
What I’ve realised in the past few years, is that you can be a completely inept cook and still make things that taste good. All you need is a basic level of effort, motivated by care. I am definitely no expert, but I can assemble something that vaguely resembles a meal. Not to flatter myself but generally it tastes pretty good. If you’re my friend and you step foot in my house, even for a second, I will try to feed you. Come hungry, I am a feeder and I will not give up.
There is something about sitting down to eat with a group of people. The kind of conversations had (often wine fuelled) are fascinating and often more intimate than the every day conversations you’d have with the same people. Dinner parties are intimate. Dinner is intimate. Cooking for people is intimate. I think it’s one of the most intimate things you can do. Taking the time to prepare a meal, it means I love you. If I bring you food, I love you. For me, food is the ultimate way to say I love you. Silently.