I’m going off piste today: no recipe, no, not one – just a quick flurry of thoughts…. don’t worry it won’t take me long, I just wondered if anyone else felt the same way?
So first, big bottoms……not just big, but truly humongous bottoms. It seems like yesterday (it turns out to be 20 years ago) that Arabella Weir got us all going with her Fast Show catch phrase “Does my bum look big in this?” . But I can’t help wondering whether this is still a concern for the under 30’s ? How does a young dude reply nowadays? Beyoncé’s bottom launched a million dollar business in magic pants with silicone buttock enhancers a few years ago – I’ve yet to invest. And then there’s Kim Kardashian? I switched on the TV the other night and there she was on the Brit Awards all trussed up in a Julien MacDonald one piece. There’s no denying it, she’s a highly groomed and stunning looking lady BUT the size of that derrière? I’m still in a state of shock, her 27 million Instagram followers are obviously not, it’s (quite literally) her biggest asset.
At the other end of the spectrum we have the beautifully wholesome and sylphlike Ella Woodward whose cook book Deliciously Ella (named after her highly successful blog) has topped every bestseller list. Ella shares the gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free recipes that have turned her own life around, she has an incredible story. BUT, though I feel awful saying it, I can’t help hoping that Imi doesn’t turn into a health nut….well not until she’s left home in any case (she is only 8 so we’ve a while to wait). I just couldn’t embrace a world of Matcha, kale and banana smoothies, or spiralised courgettini instead of my al dente pasta. And all those judgemental looks you’d get as you tucked into your plate of crispy pork belly or a slice of cheesecake. What about when you want to go to your favourite restaurant? Have a gelato on holiday? Hang out for a coffee with your friends? Oh please don’t let’s create an entire generation of food police.
Well, to be honest, there’s no chance of that happening! During half term I was persuaded , under huge duress, to enjoy the waves and tube slides of the Swindon Leisure Centre swimming pool. Lesson 1 – never ask a child what they’d really like to do for a special treat. After our one hour time slot in the pool (that was a relief at least) surrounded by posters hailing the health benefits of exercising and swimming we headed for the café. Lesson 2 – never go anywhere near the café; the waft of tired, hot fat hit you before you even got to the counter, there was the token “healthy’ jacket potato on the menu but that was about it. The most depressing sight though, was the wall of vending machines: fizzy drinks, crisps, chocolate bars, popcorn machines and the first un-manned candy floss machine that I’ve ever seen. Whaaaaaat? So you supposedly burn off all that fat in the water ready to pile triple the amount back on before you’ve even reached the car park.. ..depressing.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this ….just wondering what my 8 year old Imi makes of it all; we seem to live with such extremes nowadays. I’m just all the more determined to get her cooking for herself, enjoying food that just happens to be mostly healthy, most of the time. I’m praying that she will be happy in her own skin, without a need for padded pants or a constant stream of selfies.
If you are looking for a fabulous book that takes the “accidentally healthy” approach to cooking then Diana Henry’s A Change of Appetite is absolutely inspirational.