JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Looking back

The other day, on the way to London to see Eleanor's first play (a five-minute scene acted by fellow students at Central School of Speech and Drama who had also written five-minute plays, great and varied evening), I bumped into an old friend at Reading station. He told me that he had just got back his cholesterol test results - high, too high, but not high enough to be taking statins. I gave him the address of this blog, and told him to look at the first or second post, where there's a general explanation of the changes we have made to our diet. The whole conversation reminded me of how we started out after Lucius came out of hospital. No longer any idea of what to eat, but a determination to improve the diet. Pretty soon, people began to ask about what we were doing, and, after a while, the blog was born. Now I'd be lost without it, and, more to the point, all my recipes would be lost - this is the best recipe filing system I know, and I don't do any of that fancy indexing you see on so many beautiful blogs made by people more technically compentent than I could ever be.

But now I've been worrying that people think I'm being prescriptive about what to eat - the aim of this blog is to explain what we are doing, not to tell other people how to eat. I've just been re-reading some of my early posts, and find that it also functions as a record of the journey we have made since Lucius was ill. My attitudes to the food industry & to supermarkets have changed fundamentally, and there's no going back - anyway, it's more fun shopping at the market, and from small producers, it's something you can look forward to doing, which is not true of any trip to any supermarket I've ever visited. I still go to the supermarket, because - well you know why, all the usual reasons, convenience, cost - but I try hard to use local suppliers as much as possible.

Before going to the plays, I went shopping with Catrin and her 12-week-old baby, a mixture of boring things like light bulbs & stain remover and more fun things like baby clothes. We found a vibrant pink dress for Cecily to wear on Christmas Day, and then retired to the Peter Jones cafe for tea and cake. Catrin remarked, as I chose a piece of lemon cake, that it must be difficult to stick to a low-fat diet when out and about. I told her that what we decided from the beginning that our approach to food should not be neurotic, no refusing food cooked by people kind enough to invite us out, no fussing over menus. So we decided to be strict at home, in order that we could break the rules when we wanted to or needed to. It seems to work; neither of us frets about "breaking" the rules, yet both of us eat very little saturated fat overall. On the other hand, we eat lots of delicious food, and never feel as if we're "on a diet".

There's another thing about blogging, and that's reading other people's food blogs, full of enthusiasms and stories, wonderful pictures, interesting lives. This weekend, I'm going to a blog party, hosted by Johanna the passionate cook, and it will be great to meet some of the people who I have found so inspiring over the last few months. What an extraordinary world we live in!

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