I realize all you foodies out there might find this abhorrent but my attitude towards food ranges somewhere between eating-to-survive and a grateful appreciation of a well-cooked meal. Whilst many of you take pride and pleasure in this daily ritual I'm just as happy eating a boiled egg on toast. I marvel at people with the ability to whip up gastronomic delights but I've never been one to make it a priority in my life. Now don't get me wrong. This piece is not a judgement on the merits of bland food nor a criticism of those with a more refined pallete. The thing that's really starting to bug me lately is people who are obsessed with food. Recently I dined with some acquaintances on the large side. One of the ladies ate an entree, main meal and dessert and constantly qualified every mouthful with 'I haven't eaten a thing all day'. Fair enough I thought. What bugged me though was that she kept making remarks about the fact I only wanted a main meal. She was really anxious about it. I wanted to tell her to quit worrying and just enjoy her meal but I didn't know her well enough. But do you know what's worse than dining with an overeater? Dining with a fussy under-eater! Imagine this dinner order from hell:
'Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Manuel and I will be your waiter this evening. Are you ready to order?'
'Okay. I'll go first. I've got about four grams of fat to play with this evening so I'd like ninety grams of baked chicken breast with no skin and five steamed asparagus spears topped with skim milk yoghurt.'
'Certainly madam...and for you sir?'
'Well I'm into dynamic harmlessness expressed in daily life as veganism so I'll have some textured vegetable protein pattie, tofu gluten and seeds. By the way are these seats leather?'
'I'll ask the interior designer and get back to you sir. Now for you?'
'Have you forgotten about the French doing nuclear testing in the Pacific? I can't believe you have pate on the menu. I'm leaving! Oh could I get a anti-cellulite celery, parsely and dill cocktail, take-away?'
'And for you sir?'
'I'm watching my cholestrol, so do you have any low-density lipoproteins and soluble fibre on the menu tonight?'
'I'll just have to check with chef.'
'Never mind. I'll just have a bowl of oat bran to start and a couple of steamed egg whites for mains.'
'Steamed egg whites...wonderful choice. How are we going here?'
'Well I've just found this amazing naturopath and realised after all these years that I am actually highly allergic to most foods. I have intolerances to dairy, starch, sugar and fermented foods and we're testing fruit and veges next week so I'll just have a plain rare steak.'
'Fabulous. And for you madam?'
'I've been doing some incredible repressed memory sydrome work with my therapist and she says that a lot of my problems with my mother stem from abuse at the dinner table when I was a child. So I'll have a plain cheese sandwich with a smiley face on it made out of cherry tomatoes, two fish fingers on a Bunnykins plate and a glass of red cordial. Hold the brussel sprouts.'
'Well I expect your plate cleaned or no dessert for you. And have you decided yet madam?'
'I'll just have dessert...but could you check with chef whether the apples in the pie are organic? If they've been sprayed with unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine or fungicides then he might like to cook it with these apples I've bought in from home...'
'How thoughtful of you...and finally what would you like sir?'
'I'm currently under treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so I'd like an uncarpeted room painted with non-oilbased paints, a table which is not manufactured with formaldehyde particle board and no oil heating. Thanks. Oh and could you wash off your aftershave?'
'Consider it done.'