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The importance of food September 8, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Foodiness, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Cie’s post, Success on a Plate, has got me to thinking about the importance of food in our society. And, more specifically, the importance of food to me.

Personally, I am not a breakfast girl. The idea of it makes me feel nauseous, and despite repeat encouraging I simply cannot enjoy it. If I don’t get food when I need it, however, I am grumpy, vial even – my temper becomes lethal and all I need is a little snack to tip me back to normal. Physiological food reactions aside, however, and I am shocked by just how much my life is governed by food.

Sometimes it is all about the taste – chocolate and mangos and other such delicious bounties. Other times, however, a food will have nowhere near the same impact on my feelings when taken out of context. A simply tomato salad without the hot sun pounding through the window is never as vibrant, as refreshing and exciting. A breakfast of fresh bread, oranges and cheese can never be enjoyed properly unless on a balcony in some sunny foreign clime. Those sweets at school that made us all go hyper never had any effect when eaten alone.

When sad, I will often turn to food. My small stomach capacity means I generally can’t stuff myself silly, but fatty, sweet and salty foods can bring back a shred of happiness. Munching on soft supermarket cookies can make a bad evening better, and delicious curries can make all the difference on a cold depressing night.

Interestingly, however, unhappiness never makes me want to cook. I read with envy all the food bloggers who will whip up a feast to cure a dull day or resurrect a failing weekend. Instead, I cook only when happy, and tend to pine when alone or feeling sad. Other peoples sadness too makes me want to cook, to fix problems with a tub of Ben & Jerries and a pile of cakes. I love baking cakes, attempting biscuits and producing roasts on an epic scale. If I ever cook for you like that, you can generally rest assured that it means I am in a chirpy mood!

And then, of course, come those special foods. The rare taste and flavour that can take you back to simpler times. Whether specific moments and memories, or more general “feelings”, dishes have an ability to transport you, and mean a whole lot more than the sum of their edible parts.

Mmm, lunchtime is here, I think! A simple feta salad – tasty, good for you, and just the right choice for our last day of sun!

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