Give in to cravings – granny’s orders

12Jan10

It turns out that Granny was right after all. It’s taken me more than two decades to see it, but I doff my hat to her. The story starts back when I was at primary school and of course young, though I couldn’t with justice ever say small. Calling someone fat was considered rude even then – not that it ever stopped my father – though ‘greedy’ was absolutely fine to bandy about. So, I was a greedy girl with a sturdy frame.

Anyway, anyway, I was flopping about one day and whining for crumpets or a Sherbert Fountain or 16 Curly Wurlies or something (not cake, though. Oddly, not cake – I didn’t really like it) and my grandmother suddenly interrupted to declare that if you really crave something it’s because your body needs it. Even then I sensed that someone who had lived through a Belgian convent education and two world wars was a good deal more likely to be spurred by malnutrition than was a tubby seven-year-old who ate heartily at every meal, but it really made an impression. Food was more than something you crammed down – it actually affects you.

Last week I had a cold. Perfectly normal, but it got more and more lungy as the week wore on, until Saturday’s slicingly cold winds, when a trip to the doctor felt like a good idea. Before I left the house, complaining feebly, my flatmate mentioned that she might make soup, and suddenly that sounded like the most delicious idea in the world. Soup and I don’t really understand each other. Don’t let’s go into it now – it’s hard to explain without sounding unhinged – but really, soup is a foodstuff that I just don’t get. Yet at that moment there was nothing I wanted more.

Back from the doctor, who declared it was a virus, told me I’d wasted my time coming out and laughed warmly and extravagantly at his own wisdom. A walk back through the snow, two bowls of delicious homemade chicken and veg soup that I wouldn’t usually eat in a fit, and finally, 10 hours’ sleep; I was cured.

Today came the post-virus blues. That awful, flat, featureless, grey-nothing gloom that settles like a fog. And for the second time in two days I had a monster craving, this time for doughnuts. Not the faky, American, foam sphincters, but the doughy, jammy, lopsided, old-fashioned British ones. Luckily Messrs Marks and Spencer live a few doors away and they purvey a doughnut that fitted the bill magnificently. Bought two, ate them in grim silence, one after the other, with a cup of tea at my desk. And you know what? Afterwards I felt loads better. Go, Granny!

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