CAN someone please explain to me this preoccupation that we - as a country - have with eating?
More specifically, with eating things that are delicious, yet incredibly bad for us?
I’ll get the ball rolling by holding my hands up and admitting that I’m a ‘holic’ of the chocolate variety. There is no bar too big or too small for me to tackle.
Where lesser women have had to set down that last Rolo or leave a few M&Ms rolling in the bottom of the bowl, I’m proud to say I’ve yet to be bested. My ‘chocolate belly,’ is seemingly bottomless.
Not wishing to resemble Dawn French though - in her porkier days, of course - I do try my very best to keep my vice somewhat under control.
My worst cravings come straight after a meal when I try desperately to distract myself with a nice cup of tea (how very English).
It rarely works though. The more I think about chocolate, the more I find myself flicking the kettle on to boil. The only thing I’ve succeeded in is introducing a pretty severe caffeine addiction into the mix.
The thing is, there’s ALWAYS a decent excuse. And it takes very little to push this weak-willed woman over the edge!
No sooner had I begun shedding my Christmas Quality Street weight, than BAM - Valentine’s Day is upon us. It came at just the right time too, just as the resolution I had felt at New Year was beginning to waiver ever so slightly.
God love my boyfriend for whisking me away to a spa for the weekend and forcefeeding me delicious cream teas and rhubarb crumble. It would have been rude not to drink the bottle of red wine he brought home on Tuesday night, or refuse to eat the Thornton’s chocolates that appeared after dinner... wouldn’t it?
“Just a couple of bad days, it is Valentine’s Day,” I told myself. Hold it together, hold it together... then BAM. Easter eggs hit the shelves. I tell ya, it’s a freakin’ conspiracy.
And it doesn’t end there. Promoted at work? You will receive Miniature Heroes. Guaranteed. Watered the neighbour’s plants? Seaside fudge. Managed to survive another year of life without getting flattened by a bus?
Have a big birthday box of Bournville! I remember, when I was younger, I once bought a giant Easter egg from my local shop, took it home and ate the whole thing. For no reason whatsoever. That was a good day.
The bottom line is that we Brits absolutely love to celebrate with food. If anybody we know achieves anything of worth in their lives, we pull on our coats and head to Thorntons to congratulate them the best way we know.
I think it all harks back to the age-old reward system of our childhood, where good behaviour was the goal and junk food was the currency to buy it.
“If you’re good, I’ll buy you some sweets,” mums promise, looking straight into our wide, trusting eyes and planting a seed that lasts a lifetime.
How many of us have spied a chocolate brownie in a sandwich shop while doing the lunch run and thought ‘Well, it is Friday...’
That’s right, we’re now using chocolate to celebrate a day of the week. To celebrate the sun successfully rotating around planet Earth a collective seven times. Seriously?
And I know that I’ve been guilty many times of picking up a Mars bar on my way home to cheer myself up at the end of a rubbish day. I can’t even claim it’s rare.
Perhaps if - just ONCE - our parents had rewarded us for cleaning our bedrooms by promising an extra portion of sprouts at dinner, things would have worked out differently.