Jam, Gobble, Swallow & Burp

Today I’m eating lunch with my nine-month old daughter Florence; or rather, I’m busy being amused while she gobbles her food down with reckless abandon.

I’m jealous of Florence for the way she can eat, fistfuls of food, pulled with varying degrees of success into her gaping maw, coupled with an intense determination to enjoy it all. Her current method and manners suggest that, but for her age and current location in the space/time continuum, she wouldn’t look out of place at a fire-side boar feast in an Asterisk comic.

I wish I could eat like her: all enthusiasm and no cutlery, but if I tuck into even a pasty (a food surely designed to be eaten freehand) with any of her vim and vigour, I draw scowls of disapproval from nearby members of the public. “Eat that properly,” they think at my face, “or at least a little slower for God’s sake.”

But I don’t want to eat slowly, or carefully, or neatly, or politely. Sometimes I just want to tuck in with both hands like an angry viking, tearing where appropriate and slurping where possible. I want messy fingers and a dripping chin; I want evidence of a good time.

Much to the chagrin of my family and friends, I’ve always been a messy eater and I’ve spent the last thirty years being told to clean up my act. But I think now it’s time I let go of your expectations and followed my heart, if not my stomach. From now on I’m going to be taking my lead from Florence and the food goes in the way it comes out: messily and not without a certain degree of pleasure and satisfaction. If it feels right, I’ll be using cutlery, but if not, you’ve been warned. The only concession I’ll make is that I promise never to attempt Florence’s ultimate trick of indulging both ends at the same time. But only ’cause I love you guys.

Delusion Smoothie

If self-delusion were an Olympic sport, I’d be on the podium with a gold medal around my neck, fist in the air like a Black Panther. I’m not black, or a panther, but that’s kind of the idea in this sport.

I can convince myself that a dawdle is a jog, that a light dusting is an adequate clean, and that reading xbox360.ign.com for 20 mins each day should be considered “work” because in 2005 I wrote two jokes about video games.

This is why I love breakfast, it’s the ultimate meal for hardcore delusionists. So many foods that in years gone by would have been firmly entrenched in the “only occasionally” section of the food pyramid, that would have been locked inside the sweet, fatty apex that crowns the foundation of boring root vegetables, fruit and lean meats; have somehow worked their way down to the more acceptable sections in what must surely be nutritional voodoo, pure and simple.

Smoothies, muffins and banana-bread (aka milkshakes, cup-cakes and banana-CAKE) have all been making appearances in the AM, littering the desks of office-workers around the world, too strapped for time to eat a bowl of muesli at home before work.
Is it any wonder that we’re living in the fattest countries on Earth? Not when we’re all jamming cake and milkshakes into our face-holes before the clock has even struck nine.

Now a normal, socially conscious person might feel the urge to speak out against this madness that we’re engaging in, but I freaking love it. Back in the eighties I use to have to subtly sneak an extra spoonful of brown sugar, past my Mum and onto my Weet-Bix each morning in order to satisfy the sugar craving that will ultimately cripple me with type two diabetes; but now I just say “I’ll have a banana smoothie please”.

Everybody loves smoothies, and rightly so, they’re amazing. Some love the fruity taste, some love the cold freshness of the milk, but I best love the moment that I spend each morning, deluding myself that a drink with ice-cream in it is the cornerstone of a healthy breakfast. Yum!

– Fatty Valentine