We all have good intentions. Studying our calorie intake as though it is religious scripture or walking determinedly past the kebab shop after a night out. Saving a couple of pounds by not buying that latte and croissant which you reason, no matter how warm and flaky that pastry may be, you don’t actually need it.
We intend to be good! But if only the intention counted for something.
My aforementioned resistance to cooking my own dinner has not diminished. Since becoming a chef the sheer aversion to the entire cooking process is completely against my natural instincts and painful to admit; I feel like I should be lying on a sofa confessing my deepest fears to a silent psychologist. Food used to be my escape from reality and now it is my reality. Thus, some of it falls by the wayside and that part is my own indulgence. Whether it’s baking frenetically as though we are about to face a flour drought or cooking a recipe that I saw online that I MUST TRY RIGHT NOW – basically, instead of attempting to conquer the kitchen in a reluctant and begrudging way, I now prefer to come home from a day at the café and eat some cereal.
That said, I plan with good intentions! (I promise!) I mentally prepare myself to make the evening’s nutritional meal. Then at about 3pm when I find myself on hands and knees scrubbing the inside of my service fridge I realise cooking another meal today, on top of the thirty or so I’ve already made, is just too much. Therefore, the plans for spaghetti Bolognese or parsnip risotto – a delicious Pinterest find – evaporate and I dollop a ladleful of soup in a takeaway cup instead.
Meanwhile, my dinner-time hunger ebbs and flows indecisively but that is mainly due to my lunch at work. Lunch these days is a day-long snack. When you work in a kitchen you are literally surrounded by food and as you don’t get actual lunch breaks it becomes difficult to resist. I’ll have a piece of toast here, a spoon of avocado there, a bowl of soup, a croissant – and all evidence of this snacking can be found staining the front of my chef’s whites by the end of the day (I’m greedy and I’m messy.) And, to continue this peckish theme, when I get home I’ll concoct another snack, something effortless but also fulfilling my inner foodie who is fed up with granola. Snacks like stuffing a chewy date with crunchy peanut butter, a quesadilla filled with melted gooey Nutella and sliced banana, or Turkish eggs – softly poached on a mound of garlicky yoghurt and drizzled with melted butter and paprika. I’ve just whipped together salted butter with honey and have a new sweet spread, perfect for a chunk of banana loaf or dark crusty bread.
I do intend to stop eating the croissants everyday (even though they’re really really good…) And I do intend to make myself dinner more often. It came to a head the other night when I realised I had no bread and no cereal. Sacre bleu! So an actual dinner had to be made and at last I was indulging myself again, even though I was grumpy the whole time. My go to meal now is spaghetti, tossed in a splash of its cooking water, a blob of butter and a soft pile of grated cheese, all stirred together with some chilli flakes to coat the pasta strands in a lusciously silky sauce. My good intentions may be a little half-hearted at the moment but at least the sentiment is there.
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