Friday, 1 February 2013

My Other Love

This Valentine's Day I thought it would be appropriate to share my thoughts about my other love. It is a love that cannot be ignored nor denied and one that has been around long before MOH (My Other Half). It has brought me much joy and contentment, and so it deserves to be recognised. I am, of course, referring to my undying love of food.

I love all types of food - healthy food and the ones that fall into the 'sometimes food' bucket. Chocolate and gelati make me swoon (as my very wise sister once said, sugar is just granulated happiness). But I am just as enamoured with fresh fruit and seafood. I can rave about cheesecake in one breath and extol the virtues of quinoa in the next. I am just as happy with a cheap and cheerful, authentic yum cha meal from Chinatown as I am with a horrendously expensive dinner from an award-winning restaurant. In short, I am a self-confessed food tart - easily pleased and will go with anything as long as it tastes good. Mmmm...tart...but I'm getting distracted...

I am that person who unashamedly takes photos of food even if I am in a classy restaurant. Hey, it's a compliment if I think the dish is a work of art that deserves to be captured for all time! These days planning for a holiday includes doing meticulous research on all the good food places and drawing up a schedule, which ensures we visit them all. Once I ran out of days to eat in all the places I wanted to. According to MOH, that was not a good enough business case to extend our trip (party pooper). Even my Facebook account has been roped in, becoming my personal food album and record of all my food adventures. A little while ago some friends and I were discussing the reasons why people post a status on Facebook. I said that I tend to post when I'm happy or excited. Someone then pointed out that seemed to involve food and lots of it. Enough said. 

For me, food has always been associated with good times - from childhood memories of decadent Christmas feasts, the intimate dinners with MOH, the confidences shared over glasses of wine, to the laughs had over coffee and a sweet, sticky pastry. I am surrounded by fellow foodies, with no less than three chefs in my immediate family and friends who appreciate great food just as much as I do. I have grown up on the principle that the act of giving and sharing food is about opening one's heart and home to others. Perhaps these are reasons why I love food so much - it has always been a part of being with the people who I love and cherish the most.

Finally for those of you who think I am advocating an unhealthy lifestyle, I can assure you that I am not. Quite frankly, those diets like no carbs after 3.00pm (I'm pretty sure that our bodies cannot tell time) or being a fruitarian (I mean seriously???) are the crazy ones. The fact is I generally eat pretty well, exercise regularly and care about my fitness. To me this means I can have my cake and eat it too. Every. Single. Last. Crumb.

Over the years I have had my fair share of food and body hang-ups, and I am heartily sick of it. I think I have simply become an advocate of learning to let go of the shame and guilt we sometimes associate with food, and finding the right balance. Now I'm not saying that my mindset is quite there yet every time. But when it is, it works and works well. Food is no longer labelled as 'good' or 'bad'. I mean honestly, since when did it become such a moral conundrum? I can see food for what it is. To paraphrase the words of American chef, Giada De Laurentiis, food is nourishment for the body and for the soul when it brings people together, and is shared with family and friends. Now that is "truly love".

Love with a passion, do things wholeheartedly and enjoy yourself. As I have said before, life is far too short to live in a constant state of deprivation :)

Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine's Day celebrating everyone and everything you love!

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