Lately I’m eating hummus and sprout sandwiches, vegetable soup with kale and strips of Nori, chunks of organic watermelon for breakfast, and raw almond butter slathered onto perfectly ripened bananas, all the while pining over reruns of Nigella Bites, which are awfully delicious tributes to full fat cream, Bearnaise, puddings, Crème fraiche, and—forgive me—rare steaks, tiger prawns, bacon and anchovies. I love Nigella’s unapologetic attitude towards food, as well as her style and overall sense of humor: she doesn’t take herself—or life—too seriously, and as a result, she exudes a sense of strength and endurance that I truly admire. Here’s a woman that, rather than feel overcome with guilt or disgust at the sight of meat, can cut into it and say wryly (and quite hilariously), “I love a bit of dismemberment in the morning.” While we are still very much vegetarian and don’t eat eggs all that often (and milk not at all), what I take away from these old episodes of Nigella Bites is a reminder to enjoy life—and yes, food—but especially life. As I worry about what is healthy or unhealthy, or “good” and “bad” to eat, I feel (personally) that my attitude toward food becomes somehow disordered, and that the focus is so much on eating that, really, by the time the whole process is over I’m still hungry and not quite satisfied because maybe I did not actually eat what it was I wanted—or needed. Of course ethics and philosophy are an important part of the discourse, and I feel strongly that we should seek out humane and conscious sources for the food that we eat. However, the words of our adoptive Italian Nonna, Cathy, echo in the forefront of my mind: she often says, with a smile, “Everything in moderation—even moderation.” The truth is, I dream of pavlovas, trifles, custards, and meringue. Greek yogurt, rhubarb jelly. Steamed couscous, fat Italian sausages over Puy lentils, and pink salmon over chickpeas. Spaghetti carbonara, chocolate pots de crème, shepherds’ pie. A little abandon.
What do you crave? What’s your guilty pleasure?