I’m just a girl who can’t say no. No, not a popular breakaway hit from the musical Oklahoma, but a dawning realisation that I like to indulge. Which can lead to a peculiar leftist angst as my ascetic consideration for the planet and the holy temple of my bod does battle with my inner gannet.
A glutton for everything except punishment, I like to wolf down things that are bad for me. I recently stayed in the arty seaside resort of St Ives and found myself conducting a Supersize Me experiment as I relinquished my usual balanced diet for the regional Cornish produce of pasties, clotted cream and scones, clotted cream ice-cream with clotted cream and the local cider brew. I would have snaffled one of the marauding seagulls as well had I caught one with a nice ready-made stuffing of pasty and ice-cream purloined from unsuspecting tourists. It was only after two weeks when my skin turned to parchment and my eyes sprouted bags like luggage that I snapped out of it and into a mini-detox.
At these moments I’m more gorge than gorgeous. Take burgers, f’rinstance. Bad for the planet, bad for me, but every so often when the moon is full, I need my cholesterol indulgence. Okay, it may be largely connective tissue, fat and cancerous tumours, but mashed up with a dollop of ketchup or “relish”, it slips down a treat, barely hitting the sides.
That’s how I came down with dysentary as a kid, on the grand tour of China with a stopover in Karachi. “Drink bottled water, wash the fruit and DON’T EAT THE MEAT!” warned my mother. Hah! Mothers, what do they know? So I’m waiting for the taxi to take us to the airport when I spy a burger stall and come over all tunnel-visioned seeing nothing but the patty glistening in the 100 degree noonday sun. I’m halfway through when it occurs to me that this may not be the sensible thing to do and, sho ’nuff, a week later, I find myself convalescing in a Beijing hospital, the details of which I shall spare my sensitive readers.
And this summer, I did it again! In Scarborough for a concert, I dived off with the sound techie’s partner for seaside fun on the beach, partaking of the seafood which included big fat oysters. One oyster tasted different. Not bad, but different. Ignoring everything I have been told about shellfish I still ate it with all my alarm bells screaming at once. Just as well I didn’t feed it to the seagull lurking at my feet, as I was tempted to do … he would only have flown off, exploding his guts all over the tourists, and that is so not a good look. In any case, he sensed something was wrong and waddled off. Animal instincts? Yes, please.
So that’s why I spent 24 hours purging myself of toxins (don’t ask!) before the gig. Not such a hot thang now, was I? Green in consumption habits, good. Green in face, doubleplusungood.
First published in New Internationalist magazine.
Anna’s food blog here: