What I’d like to know is…

If I’m honest I’m looking for an excuse to be fat.

My issue is that there is so much information in the media about what is and is not good for us, but there are many exceptions to the rules. My grandfather for example, ate all the wrong things, took no exercise, was almost spherical and lived to a very ripe old age. Was he lucky or was there something that saved him that has never been noticed before?sue drunk small

I come from a long living family. All my grandparents drank with enthusiasm, sprinkled salt liberally onto their food, ate puddings, real butter and red meat, and still lived into their eighties and nineties and my parents are in their mid-eighties with an even greater enjoyment of all the above, especially the demon drink, and going strong. I however do not show signs of following the longevity trend. I have had asthma, a pulmonary embolism and suffer aches and pains in my back and hips that my mother assures me she never felt at my age.

This is what I want to know:

How do we quantify life expectancy? We know that smoking is a killer, we are also told that consuming alcohol, sugar, salt and fat, and being overweight contribute to risk, but I did the Atkins diet, very high in fat and I lost about four stone in weight. I was not overweight but I ate a lot of fat and no sugar. Was I still at risk?

If I gained weight on sugar, would it be worse than getting fat on butter and cream?

By Kosmos1985 at the German language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

If I am overweight but incredibly fit in the physical sense i.e. I can run a marathon and touch my toes, am I still at risk?

I searched for a fat runner but all I found was a fat caterpillar on a runner bean!

If I am skinny but live on biscuits and wine, how much more or less danger am I in than if I am overweight because I eat too much of a so called balanced diet?

All this is very hard to identify. The difficulty is that there are so many other influences on our lives such as stress, pollution, food intolerance and genes, that I suppose one could never find definitive answers, but I would love to see some decent statistics to support the information we are – if you’ll excuse the pun – fed.

Dippy Old Dame!

In my (usual) defense, I have been busy of late, and my usual skill of task juggling parted company with me for a moment.

It is possible that I am food obsessed. Although I hate waste, I cook too much food for a sitting – I blame my mother’s siege mentality. Why not? I blame her for everything else (joke, Mum). The upshot of this over-catering habit is that there are often portions of left-overs in the freezer. To add to the melee, a couple of months ago, there was  a campaign against food waste. The only suggestion I noticed from it was to waste less bread by crumbing it or making puddings. As we don’t eat puddings much, crumbs seemed the only option, but have you any idea how many breadcrumbs you get when you run a B&B? I soon gave up the idea, leaving several bags of crumbs in the freezer to fester, and returned to stuffing mouldy crusts into the food waste.

For a domestic user, I imagine I might have more freezer space than the average corner store. We own two chest freezers and a huge fridge freezer. This fridge is also one of three – one, a drinks fridge mentioned in an earlier post.

Domestic Goddess 1960
This is me. Slim and organised. A true domestic goddess.

If you own a chest freezer you will know how easily they become disorganised. Small things drop to the bottom, labels come off and when you want a bag of peas, it has sunk without trace so that you have to hoick out half the finger-numbing contents to earth it out. Multiply this situation by 2.5 and you have the setting for this tale.

To free up some writing time now that I work longer hours, I have started doing a monthly grocery shop. This has put further strain on the chest freezers, located in the garage, especially as Milo eats raw food (BARF – Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), and we try to keep one of our freezers for chubs of his food.

Milo looking hungry

On this particular day I decided, between loading up the washing machine and performing other domestic chores, to have a go at the freezers.

In the garage, I set out some shopping bags and began sorting items into vegetables, milk, meals, bread and so on. I ejected a few things that had lost their labels or no longer appealed, then I came upon a bag of bread crumbs.

That evening I would be cooking enchiladas. The breadcrumbs could be sprinkled on the top – not particularly authentic but it would get rid of this silly ‘baglet’ of food. I put the crumbs to one side to defrost.

Later that evening I made the enchiladas by wrapping chili con carne in tortilla wraps, splotting over salsa and then covering the lot with grated cheese.

I reached for the bag of crumbs and tore it open, then began spreading its contents over the meal.

A smell filtered into my consciousness,  familiar and yet so wrong. I stuck my nose into the bag. I had a taste… CRUMBLE TOPPING!

This one is made with fruit. I recommend this option.

I bunged the dish into the oven and cooked it anyway. Nobody noticed a thing – apart from me.