Posted by: tabliope | August 13, 2008


Annie and I have finally got ourselves organised into going for day hikes together and today we did a good 20 kms around a section which translates as the Fairytale Path.  The Brothers Grimm came from this area and if the tourist board can whack the description Fairytale onto something then they do; the fairytale road, fairytale path, fairytale cafe, fairytale museum, fairytale launderette.  You get the picture.  Anyway, when I do a full day walking I don't take sandwiches because there's nothing worse than some sweaty, soggy sandwich that's warmed up in your rucksack and instead I take mixed fruit and nuts, chocolate and water.  Annie brought rice cakes and raw carrots and refused my offer of nuts and chocolate without actually shuddering, but there was a vague look of distaste on her face.

Apart from her eating habits Annie is actually a great person to spend a day with; she's very talkative, has lots of interests, is well travelled, is witty and can explain American politics to me in an entertaining fashion.  It's only when she gets onto the subject of food that she becomes as dull as can be.  Actually, that's not strictly true because she can be interesting in talking about food generally, it's when she talks about what she eats that my heart sinks.  Today she was talking to me about corn syrup and how it's added to a lot of American foods, particularly within  the fast food and ready meal/prepared foods industry.  It was quite interesting hearing about this, the effects on weight and health (Annie has a strong science background).  Somehow this conversation moved into me talking about pizza and the following conversation took place.

Annie: No, we never eat pizza – it's the wheat.
Me: Oh, yes, of course.  We don't eat pizza a lot  (rapidly back peddling at this stage and worrying that I sound like trailer trash).  In fact, we haven't eaten pizza for at least 2 months and I made that pizza and it had lots of good things on it.
Annie: Yeah, but the base had wheat?
Me: Possibly.  That's on a need-to-know-basis.
Annie: Yeah.  Wheat for the crust – it's just so much empty calories.
Me: But it tastes really good?
Annie: Yeah, sure, but once you get over that what's the point?

Indeed.  What is the point?  What is the point of eating something that tastes nice, that you might enjoy, that makes you feel good? 



  1. Yeah, and then you might as well ask what the point of a good night’s sleep is when you’re only going to be tired again the following day, or a nice pair of shoes, or a good book or a lovely glass of wine as opposed to a cup of lighter fuel (they’ll both you get you drunk).Humph.  How joyless.  Right, I’m off to eat a pizza.

  2. I still don’t know what the wheat thing is. Or was it the gluten thing?

  3. Your post made me think about a programme I heard on the radio yesterday about people who were clinically obese and needed to undergo surgery, i.e. have their stomach stapled.  The operation can be performed on the NHS once you have a BMI of 50 or over (the biggest case was a BMI of 118).  Afterwards the patients can only eat 3 or 4 meals a day, each consisting of 2 teaspoons of pureed fruit.  After a while they can progress to eating more.  One part of the programme featured an interview with someone who’d had the surgery and had since lost 10 stone.  All she could eat for breakfast still was half a Wheetabix and it takes 20 minutes for her to finish it.
    You can see more about the programme here.  I know that they had to undergo surgery because their weight was threatening their life, but in order to get to that size, they must have enjoyed their food – or at least some of it, right?  I just wondered what it must be like to know that you could never have the treat of experimenting with lots of different flavours and foods in one sitting – once they’ve had surgery, they cannot even eat and drink in one sitting, they have to leave at least 30 minutes between food and drink.
    Anyway, I could paraphrase for ages, the point is that I think so many foods (perhaps too many) are there to be enjoyed, just for the simple taste and texture of them.  It seems sad that food should be reduced to just a function.

  4. That is so sad. I feel sorry for people who can’t enjoy food, who merely eat for fuel. And for me, only being able to eat 2 teaspoons of pureed fruit would be hell. One wonders how they are getting enough fuel – surely they must feel completely exhausted all the time as well?
    Fanny – there’s nothing wrong with enjoying pizza and slightly naughty foods, if you treat yourself once in a while, then it’s still special – whereas, I suspect that people who have a BMI of 118 are eating naughty foods more than once in a while…

  5. I watched a documentary about a young girl who had stomach stapling surgery. She then had to undergo months of counselling to treat her ‘addiction’ because she suddenly had nothing to feed her emotions, and was seriously depressed.
    She thought that being slim would make her happy, but as we can all testify, (except Anne) food is used for more than just fuel.    

  6. Annie truly has a weird relationship with food.  Maybe she just doesn’t like it.

  7. One of the things they said in the programme was that post-op, many of the people’s relationships with their partners deteriorated as they had to adjust to being a ‘new’ person.  Many also had difficulty in adjusting to how they were perceived by the public generally.  While many were happy to have their quality of life improved and be able to lie on their backs without suffocating etc, it took a lot of councelling to help them cope with the other aspects of change.

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