Calorie Counting

Calorie Counting

Calorie Counting
I was asked recently what I would wish for if I ever encountered a Genii in my kitchen.... 

I have decided I would wish for a full reimbursement for every penny I have ever spent on food.  I don't dare actually count up how much this treasure would amount to, however I think I could comfortably live out my days without ever having to don the garb of work again.

I am frequently flabbergasted how the cost of food fluctuates – a few years ago I was buying a few kilos of lamb shanks (often for my dogs!!!) for about the same cost as a loaf of bread, that has now more than trebled.  Conversely, mangoes used to be a much awaited Summer treat, sliced finely and quaffed with a dollop of ice-cream and nothing more; now they are so cheap and readily available it is possible to have mangoes regularly in a vast array of recipes.

For some products there is a premium for which I am entirely prepared to pay; free-range chicken and eggs, meat and poultry, vanilla beans and saffron – these are all justifiably expensive.  Growing a single vanilla bean and bringing it to market, for instance, takes longer than a human pregnancy.

Calorie CountingBeing a bit of an obsessive foodie I am also prone, however, to the odd dalliance with high end markets and gourmet shops – some of which stock items readily found in supermarkets just presented in an entirely more aesthetic fashion (to which I am partial). 

Now don't get me wrong, as I said I am happy to hand over the cash for something special, something exceptional, something artisan, something ethically raised.....  but I see no reason to pay double the normal price for tinned tomatoes, just because the shop I am in only uses über posh paper bags – you know, the ones you want to keep and then use as your lunch bag at work, just to discreetly advertise your sophisticated shopping habits (even though you know you only purchased there once, every other time you just drooled over the cakes and artisan breads until the counter staff started to look twitchy, like security was on the way....).

Even when money has been pitifully tight, I have found a way to happiness through food and through sharing with others -  it is the one little pleasure that can be so easily achieved.  It has seen me through some trying times and has helped rekindle friendships I had thought lost, so for that I am grateful for my kitchen obsession, whatever the financial cost.   I can honestly say the times I have spent breaking bread with others are the most precious – even if it was just a university-caf muffin or  a watery coffee from a country café shared on the side of the road, on a Sunday adventure.

Anyway, to the matter in hand...  it is truly mind-boggling to try to catalogue every single food item I've ever purchased... (and for reasons of propriety I have not counted alcohol in this list) ...from sorbets, to dodgy pasties, bread, boxes of pickling fruit, hastily grabbed sandwiches,  Christmas hams, bread, student-friendly cheese rolls, huge tins of oil, tiny vessels of saffron, bread, university-caf soup, warm and buttery French croissants, lamb chops, bread, scallops, bread, sushi, sausage rolls, pickled octopus, sides of beef, eccles cakes, to the jars and jars and jars of condiments ... and more bread..... worse still to consider is how much was wasted. 

I am therefore trying to be more mindful in my kitchen endeavours, not fanatical, just more moderated, less grasping, less extravagant,  perhaps just a little less in general – after all  I sometimes need reminding that there isn't, in fact, a rugby team waiting at the dining table.