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Sunday, 15 July 2012

30. An obsession with FOOD!

I have an obsession with food.  It started when I was young, when my stomach seemed to rumble persistently in the days my father thought it was a good idea to use the grocery money as leverage against my mother after she discovered his secret life.  I remember she often went without so we could eat; and so, after a while, I started pretending I wasn’t hungry either.  Except, I was permanently ravenous.  Some nights, my hunger propelled me to clandestine visits to the kitchen where I would eat spoonfuls of peanut butter in an effort to assuage the gnawing hunger.  And then, when my father got custody of us, the other adult who became responsible for our well-being thought it was a good idea to give my brothers and I food that had started to spoil – as punishment for being the children of her predecessor.  Let’s just say, a lesson was very quickly learnt: don’t be fussy or you go hungry.

Now, Matt and the girls witness my meltdowns whenever I am hungry while we are out and about.  It starts with a rumble and ends with nausea and headaches.  I go very quiet and cannot meaningfully partake in ANY kind of conversation, becoming useless socially (ie dangerously grumpy) until I have food.  And then, food crosses my lips and a transformation takes place.  I lose the crazed look and my poor family exhale a collective a sigh of relief as conversation becomes less strained and I stop shooting daggers at the waiters for being slow with my food.

But its not ALL doom and gloom or unhinged breakdowns.  Out of the belly of a not-so-stellar childhood, a great love for food sprouted and a ‘call’ to feed (nearly!) anyone who’s orbit happens to cross mine has burgeoned and grown.  And I love it.

Yes, food still constantly plays on my mind – but for different reasons.  As THE adult now in charge of sustenance in my house, I spend a lot of my waking hours thinking about food.  What to cook.  What to buy to cook.   What to eat.  Today, tomorrow, next week...  I wander through supermarket aisles looking for inspiration; cookbooks and recipes torn from magazines form a little Mount Everest in one corner of the house and I love the drool-inducing-aroma of recipes that come together! Breakfasts at Chez Farlow start with the girls’ individual orders, lunches during school term are made with love, and dinners are devised to expand and excite their palates.  Let’s just say next to school fees, grocery bills are probably our biggest expense!  

Furthermore, when we have gatherings, I am rubbish at managing the guest list.  Matt jokes that when I invite people over, it always begins with a couple or two (because I’ve promised to keep it small and intimate!), but I always end up catering for at least twice that and almost the same number of children.  Simply put:  I cannot help myself!  I love the energy of a busy kitchen, the orchestra emitted from cutlery and glasses clinking, people chatting and laughing, and the wonderful ambience created when new and old friendships grow and strengthen over a table of food prepared with love. 

And so, out of hate, a love was born:

Buon Cibo, Buon Vino, Buoni Amici per Una Buona Vita
– Good Food, Good Wine, Good Friends for a Good Life


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