Let me just begin by saying something. Because you know, this is my first ‘real’ post and I think we should be honest with each other. And well, if we start hiding things at the start then there really is no hope for us. So what I feel I need to tell you is this; I eat really, really badly. Something which, I’m sure inspires you to no end. Now I’m not the traditional form of ‘bad eating’. Not the ‘
’s Biggest Loser’ or ‘You Are What You Eat’ bad eater, with a diet consisting mostly of beige. My problem is not that I eat bad things; it’s that I eat at bad times and when I do it’s often not nearly enough. It’s a curious result of laziness, adrenaline and exhaustion. All brought about by work. While most of you lucky (lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky) people enjoy the working day of 9-5. Mine is not so much. Mine has been seemingly custom made to ensure that any time I do have to eat I’m either not in the mood, too busy, or simply too wrecked to rustle up anything more imaginative then toast. Or a Crunch Corner. America
Let me explain. I work from 3-11 on a weekday and anything from 12-11 or 1-12 on a weekend. So I leave the bed post-morning and return to it late. Mainly because by the time I get back from work and have sufficiently wound down enough for sleep to become a possibility, it’s nudging the 3am mark. So when you come home from a 10 hour day to a house that has three sleeping housemates, all of which are up in the morning, there is simply nothing you want to do less than a) make noise, or b) anything that doesn’t involve making a bum-shaped dent in sofa cushion. Unfortunately cooking falls into both those categories. Which is why, during those life-draining, nerve-tearing busy weekends, the cooker top is left as pristine and untouched as a salad bar in Pizza Hut.
As for breakfast, forget about it. That’s something that has defected from daily staple to something of a whimsical ideal. Like world peace. . . .or reversing climate change. On the outset it may seem like I’ve more then ample time to get something solid into me before work (that’s what she said!!) but really here’s what happens. I get up about , shower and I spend a fleeting moment considering eating something before I head off to work. Then I think of work and in my mind’s eye I see that list I left last night. I think of what’s on it and the time I have to box off the tasks laid out by it. I then have one of those chills when I imagine what could be the result if they aren’t completed in time. I shudder and suddenly feel that omitting a bowl of muesli and a slice of toast from my morning is a small price to pay for getting a 20 min head start on the day ahead. I hurriedly dress and run to my car. Occasionally I do leave myself time to eat, pre-work. Only to find that my carton that says ‘milk’ can no longer be legally classified a such and the bread I bought on my last day off has turned green and is probably 13 hours away from becoming self-aware. Then I get into work and from then on the only opportunity for a break is a brief 15 minute window between 5 and 6. Sometimes there just isn’t the time, then that window will close and I’ll have worked through it. I’ll leave work that night having spent 10 hours on my feet without rest or food. It can and does happen that I go anywhere from 15-24 hours without what could be described as a proper meal. This is made all the more ironic by the fact that, for me, ‘work’ and ‘food’ are one and the same. So in case you haven’t worked it out by now, may I present to you the big third act reveal: I am a chef.
And with that I feel any sympathy I’ve built up over these past few hundred words dissipate instantly. That and any nutritionists that were reading this are currently being placed in the recovery position as they lay on the kitchen floor, while puddles of spilt wheatgrass are being wiped from the kitchen table. Because, you might say, for me the task of making food that is edible is of no real challenge. Would coming home from work and spending 20 minutes on something as vital as feeding yourself really be that much of a stretch? Well you may have a point. But let me respond with this story my sous chef told me.
One day his roommate asked him why he never cooked at home and instead relied on an endless supply of ready-meals. To which, my 6ft German boss replied, ‘You work on building sites. Would you go into the garden after work and start digging a fucking hole?’