Some people eat to live, while others live to eat. What about you? How far would you travel for the best meal of your life?
Now that is food for thought. I think I do a bit of both, according to how my mood is, how I am feeling, and basically how my sugar levels are, being a member of the Diabetes 2 club – the ones that stuffed theselves in their younger years and now have to suffer the consequences. I must say the younger years of eating were the best years of my digestive life. No problems, everything went in at the top and you thrived on it, perhaps laying a foundation for overweight in later years, but you enjoyed eating.
I must admit, I was living to eat at the time. In England there was no danger of overeating. The choice was not great: potato with everything, vegetables being carrots, peas, greens (yuck). And there was always the famous steak and kidney pie, full of calories with its thick gravy and heavy indigestable pastry, usually made with lard. All the exotic choices just did not exist, this was over forty years ago. Custard and apple pie as a dessert and you could even finish a meal off with a coffee and cigarette and have no guilty feelings – the dangers had not yet been discovered.
When I moved over to Switzerland, the final fate was sealed on my edible future. Not only could I enjoy the delights of the German culinary experience, but the French and Italian. There even exists a Swiss cooking range. I was fascinated. The Swiss loved to pour cream into everything and being a cream fan, this was no problem. Chopped veal cooked in a white wine cream sauce served with Rosti (fried chopped potato). There were German sausages in endless sizes, shapes and tastes. The French are famous for the five star cooking, everything dripping with butter and calories, not to mention the Italians. Pasta with everything, smothered in olive oil, accompanied by a meat sauce, cream sauce, tomato sauce., not forgetting the ravioli and lasagne. I ask you, how can you eat to live under those circumstances, so for ten or twenty years I decided live to eat and enjoy it.
Unfortunately I felt quite healthy under the culinary atmosphere I was living in. I had no problems. Could digest everything. Even had room for the odd piece of black forest cake or a piece of lemon cake, dripping with lemon juice and sugar. The delights were without borders. Luckily the Italians are not so hot on desserts, although who can say no to a wonderful piece of tiramisu – biscuit drowned in strong coffee and garnished with a cream of beaten eggs, marscapone, sugar and dusted with a sprinkling of chocolate powder. Oh the sins of eating!
Then one fine day, through a normal medical examination, the stupid doctor discovered that I had just a little bit too much sugar in my wonderful well proportioned body. I had been lucky over my calory rich years that I had never actually expanded in the wrong places. The carousel of medical check-ups started, until the day arrived when I was on three tablets per day and a regular blood check to keep my diabetes under control. My cholesterine happy days were a thing of the past.
The main problem with all this “too much of a good thing” is that you don’t really feel ill and you ask “What’s up doc?”.
Then I discovered it is not really what you eat, but how you eat it. With a little thought and study, you can really start to enjoy eat to live and not the other direction. Since my retirement, I have really discovered the joys of cooking. I avoid all ready cooked meals to be found in the supermarket. I make most myself and have fun doing it. I discovered that meat does not have to be present at every meal. During the week for lunch, I do not eat meat. There are so many opportunities without. A mushroom risotto, pasta with a vegetable in a bechemel sauce, lentils cooked with various vegetables, perhaps served with potatoes etc. etc. I am not vegetarian, do not intend to become a vegetarian, and cook meat at week-ends. I cook a lot with herbs, in Summer fresh from my garden. I have one little problem, I just love to cook everything in butter. My pasta has a touch of butter and my vegetables are also garnished with butter when cooked.
As far as eating in a restaurant is concerned; I do not seek the opportunity. If I am invited I accept, but I do not really enjoy food in a restaurant. I am a little bit suspicious of how it is cooked and what it contains. There is also another reason. When I eat at home, I am in comfortable surroundings. Can take it easy after the meal, no stress sitting in the restaurant waiting to pay and travelling home afterwards.
In the 66 years of my eating life, I have altered my eating habits, have learnt what nutrition really means, and found pleasure in the genuine tastes of food (although I still enjoy a piece of black forest cake now and again – nobody is perfect.). I have put on a little extra weight over the years, but nothing drastic, just in the wrong places. My diabetes has not got better, my tablets are stronger and one day I will probably be on the needle, but that is normal. You can keep it under control with a little common sense.