I have just finished reading Ruby Tandoh’s book Eat Up! I hungrily thumbed my way through every page in the space of 48 hours and found myself turning off my phone in favor of reading which a sure sign that I’ve found myself a really good read. I genuinely feel as though I’ve just had my sleepy eyes rubbed with a warm wet flannel and I can see food in a new, brilliant, light. It’s like I have fallen back in love with eating despite never realizing I’d fallen out of love with it in the first place. Ruby writes in a style that is easy to read and takes on big topics that need to be addressed around diet culture, fat phobia and the best way to eat a creme egg. She pulls into the spotlight food’s role in films, eating disorders, the importance of food in relationships and shares recipes which I can’t wait to delve into. I don’t want to speak too much of the book, other than to say: please buy it. I’ve decided this year, I am going to buy it for everyone for their Birthdays (sorry for the spoiler) and also purchase copies to leave around Bristol which will hopefully find their way into the hands of those who really need the prompt that food, all food, is bloody wonderful.
In the book, Ruby talks about approaching food in a mindful, fun and grounding way and I’ve decided to share my own list of joyful food moments from the last two days.
- The 2 squares of Dairy Milk that my Dad always passes me when we sit on the sofa after lunch and he falls asleep into his pages, leaving his tea to go cold whilst I silently suck on the cube of milk chocolate trying to make it last as long as possible.
- The fact that when the Dairy Milk bar is finished after carefully eating it 2 by 2, another bar always magically appears beside his armchair and I have no idea where they’re kept.
- Listening to mustard seeds pop in hot oil when me and Mum made daal for dinner.
- Scooping out the inside of a cardamom pop and giving it a big old sniff (it’s great!)
- Going out into the garden to find the herbs needed for garnish and pulling them out in fistfuls so that the smell lingers on my hands long after they’re used in the dish.
- Hearing my Mum and brother laugh as they make stew and the smells coming from the kitchen making my belly gurgle.
- Leaving teabags by the side of the sink to go cold and then ripping them into the food composter bin.
- Mopping up the remains of sauce with hunks of bread and salty butter.
- Licking the lid of a yoghurt pot.
- Laughing that Mum has lemon juice from 2013 in the cupboard and claims it’s “perfectly fine” to use, despite the contents resembling a slightly brown tinted sludge.
- Finding scraps of Christmas cake left from December but still good to eat.
- Finding multiple packs of Jacob’s cream crackers stuffed into the fridge after Mum quickly put away the food shopping and claiming there’s no space anywhere else for them so they’ve gone in with the cheese.
- The never ending pot of tea and my Mum’s insistence on putting cold mugs in the microwave so nothing is wasted.
- Watching the milk frother turn the milk into frothy clouds and the smell of coffee which I love despite not enjoying the taste at all.
- The story my parents tell whenever we eat custard that when I was little I always wanted a bowl of custard with clotted cream and none of the actual dessert.
- Walking into the kitchen and opening the fridge just to have a look at what’s inside.
- Sneaking in a big bag of crisps into the trolley whilst doing some food shopping with my Ma and feeling like a child again when she wouldn’t realise until we reached the till. When she was pregnant with me, my brother famously hid tins of dog food and claimed he’d “rather have a dog”.
- Steaming hot bowls of apple crumble and the sweet oaty top combining with the sharp apples and creamy custard (and then a bowl of just custard to follow).
- Always being offered leftovers to take home to Bristol and packing my tuppaware as stuffed full as possible.
Food has become messy and complicated as we tap in to different “experts” telling us exactly how to eat – only YOU know what is best for your body. I’m stripping back my relationship with food to the basics, taking it all in and appreciating that the whole process is a lot more than fork to mouth and ideas of right and wrong. Food brings people together, it’s to be treasured and enjoyed whilst also remembering that it should only be one tasty factor of your full to the brim life.