Thursday, October 27, 2011

Big and Fat

I am a big fat food hypocrite. There, I've said it. I love food. I eat a lot of it. And I spend a large portion of my day shopping for, preparing, cooking and feeding it to my family. And thinking about it. I think about food an awful lot. I think about what to cook for dinner tonight, what I might cook for dinner tomorrow night, what I'd cook for lunch if I ever got around to inviting those friends over, what I'll have for lunch today. I think about whether I should eatlessmeatcutbackonsugarlowermysaltintaketrytogoorganiclocalveganraw. But while nothing puts a spring in my step more than seeing my girls chow down on unadulterated, un-'hidden' broccoli or carrots, I could pretty much take or leave the stuff.

I was a fussy eater as a kid. The only vegetables I ate were peas, corn and potatoes. I hated broccoli. Tomatoes made me gag. It wasn't until I worked in a cafe in my teens where the chef, relentless in her determination, made me try new things, that I started to broaden my horizons. And then there was a half-arsed trip into vego-land when I hit 20. I say half-arsed because, though my dedication was pure (to the meat-free diet as well as the vegetarian boy who inspired me), my application was flawed. I pretty much just swapped out meat for cheese. Nary a bean or lentil crossed my palate during that time. It probably didn't help that I spent most of my vegetarian years backpacking across Europe on a very flimsy budget - for two whole years it was all about the cheese sandwich, or variations on it. Cheese and mushroom pizza. Cheese pierogi. Cheese and spinach pastry. Fried cheese, thank you, Prague.

But I'm older and wiser now. And I have grown to really love good food. I love eating out. I love reading about food. I love flouncing about in interesting grocery stores (and boring ones too, I admit). I love farmers markets and dinner parties and the Bourke Street Bakery and Jamie Oliver and Maggie and Stephanie. And Hugh. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, food/farm spunk.

And I'm all about the home-cooked, unprocessed, local, seasonal, fresh, whole, when it comes to food for my family. I eat broccoli now, and lots of it. Spinach too, and tomatoes.  A whole lot of good stuff. Meat, yes, that's back on the menu, ever since the day many years ago when I was taking a little nanna nap at my sister's house and was awoken by the gentle, persuasive waft of her lamb roast sizzling away in the oven. My arteries are grateful - there's far less cheese now as a result.

But for all my consciousness and conscientiousness and outright dedication in this area, I can turn on a food binge like no-one I know. No sooner are children in their beds than I'm seeking out chocolate in the fridge. Who am I kidding? I seek out chocolate most of the day, in various forms, often secretly. I'm not above ripping open a packet of choc chips from the baking cupboard. And someone should put white bread and chocolate in the same aisle at the supermarket, because they are entirely related in my world. We long ago converted to wholemeal bread in this house, but every now and then a craving hits, and it's very specific - soft white sliced bread with peanut butter. Slice after squishy, salty, sugar-laden slice. I might as well dive headfirst into a vat of hot chips for all the good it's doing me.

And sometimes the mummy martyr comes out. You know her? The fridge may be heaving with lovely blueberries and strawberries, there may even be bananas in the fruit bowl - $13 bucks a kilo until a few weeks ago - but at that price, I'm not gonna waste it on myself when there's a chance I can go to bed knowing my girls have eaten something fresh and fruity and oh, so wholesome that day. I'll just have a biscuit instead.

I won't go on. Suffice to say, when the bad food binge hits, there can be days at a time when I wouldn't recognise a vegetable if it walked through the front door and hit me over the head with a carrot. Except for when I'm lovingly peeling and slicing and steaming said carrot, then feeling my heart swell with 'good mother' pride as my little ones munch away on them for dinner.

There. Hypocrite. See?


  1. I can't ever have peanut butter in the pantry! It never ends up on bread or on celery sticks...just spoonfuls straight into my mouth. Other items of indulgence that disappear as quick as I buy include licorice and marshmallows. Don't worry, I'm a hypocrite too! he he x

  2. if I had your style and wit I would've written this exact post and MEANT EVERY WORD OF IT. My daughter has just gone to bed with a belly full of homemade tomato pasta sauce with pumpkin seeds, and fruit salad for dessert. I had (a significantly larger portion of) the same meal, and am now about to settle down with a beer and a kitkat. Terrible woman that I am!


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