I am trying not to talk about food.
No, that’s not true at all.
I am trying not to talk about food in a certain way, with certain people, but they’re not making it easy.
Recently I cancelled my Graze box, partly because it kept going to someone else’s desk and I found it embarrassing to go and track it down, and partly because they insist on labelling their cake ‘guilt-free’ and filling their covering notes with irritating little screeds about the nutritional superiority of their snacks over anything else I might happen to be eating. I have yet to find a replacement, which is irritating, because if I don’t eat something on the train back from work then I’m a total wreck when I get home.
Once last year I tweeted angrily at Riverford because they included in the box a recipe brochure divided between ‘good’ and ‘naughty’ options – complete with halos and horns. They haven’t repeated the offence so far; I doubt my tweet had anything to do with that, unless perhaps it was echoed by many others. I don’t know. While the parts of the internet that I frequent tend to recognise the value of food, offline I seem to be surrounded by people who assign moral virtue in inverse proportion to nutritional content.
I want no part of this culture of guilt and ingratitude. I need to eat. So does the rest of the human race. Food is good! Food is a blessing! One of the loveliest things about marrying into a part-Polish family is the Holy Saturday ritual of putting together a święconka, a basket of smoked sausage and cake and hard-boiled eggs, and taking it to church to be blessed ready for Easter. It is the most refreshing interlude from the outside world, which is busy beating itself up because it tells itself it has eaten too much, or the wrong thing.
Last year I had a practice of silently giving thanks as I ate – not just for the food itself, but for the labour that prepared it and brought it to me. I’d like to revive that. I would like to live in permanent święcone. I would like to appreciate the food in front of me, rather than tell myself that I don’t deserve it.
Oh, but it would be so much easier if people in the office were not dieting, or, if they were, didn’t feel the need to tell me about it! I keep meaning to make a list of suitable alternative subjects, so that when this particular one comes up I can change it.