“Yum yum,” said Uncle Bruce, leaning back in his chair and licking his greasy fingers. “Excellent nosh.” The plates are empty, the glasses drained. What did that meal mean to him? How long before it is forgotten? And how long before Uncle Bruce picks up his knife and fork again, ready to dig into another groaning plate? It doesn’t take a nutritionist to tell you food is essential for life - fuel, energy, health. But what does it really mean to us personally?
Uncle Bruce here obviously renders great enjoyment from his food, which I believe is a good thing. Food is undoubtedly an incredibly important decider of your mood. Everyone appreciates how irritated and bored you can be if you are peckish for a nice snack and all that there is in the cupboard is pasta and lentils. Oppositely, if you come home from school to find the fridge stuffed with yoghurts and chocolate, smoothies, crisps and ginger ale (a personal favourite of mine), you are considerably happier.
Frequently at school, we stand outside at break time shivering. Somebody asks, “Does anyone have any food?” We shake our heads miserably, and shiver some more. Maybe someone has an apple to sadly crunch whilst we all dream of doughy cookies, soup and buttery rolls.
Where would we be in this modern world if we did not look forward to a slice of cake and tea, or salty bacon butty? Yet there are some people who do just that – the busiest among us, grabbing whatever’s nearest and draining a cup of coffee when pangs of hunger can no longer be ignored. And this strange breed is multiplying!
Maybe it’s up to the rest of us to spread the finger licking joy before it’s too late. Remember warm sticky toffee pudding, steaming, drowning in yellow custard? Remember pancakes, a plateful to cover in orange juice and sugar made in just half an hour? Even merely stripping grapes from a vine (until you wake from your reverie to find only bare twigs remain) brings great contentment. Let’s have casseroles, roast dinner, hot lasagne and creamy sauces all round!
Omelettes would have to be another of the great foods. Even when the humble chicken is replaced by a shiny bionic hen, it’ll still only take two wondrous eggs (beaten and poured onto a lightly greased hot frying pan) to conjure up a delectable protein-fest lunch. Add some cheese – mouth-watering – but let’s not get distracted.
Another way to add enjoyment to eating is spontaneity. I think this should be introduced into our lives, and if that means eating peanut butter with chocolate raisins and desiccated coconut just because you feel like it, then so be it. You never know, you could create the next Chicken Tikka Masala!
We should definitely start baking. Once you’ve made a few Victoria sponge cakes you should get a general feeling of the science, leaving you free to experiment. Laugh in the face of recipe books, and laugh in the face of failure! Sweet smells and anticipation will fill the kitchen from the oven. It might even be nice to send friends and neighbours some culinary treats once in a while. That’s definitely spontaneous!
Obviously, good and comforting food is a very large topic. I could go on listing more scrummy dishes (a hot turkey pie with golden puff pastry, a slice of ham with pineapple and spicy, sweet gravy...) Anyway. So let’s become Uncle Bruces, let’s feast on what we have and what we want, and remember the delightful flavours with stuffed bellies and satisfied, sleepy smiles.
Jessica (age 15)