While I was on holiday, I was reading Ruby Tandoh’s book, ‘Eat Up!’ which is described on Amazon as follows:
In Eat Up, Ruby Tandoh celebrates the fun and pleasure of food, taking a look at everything from gluttons and gourmets in the movies, to the symbolism of food and sex. She will arm you against the fad diets, food crazes and bad science that can make eating guilt-laden and expensive, drawing eating inspiration from influences as diverse as Roald Dahl, Nora Ephron and Gemma from TOWIE. Filled with straight-talking, sympathetic advice on everything from mental health to recipe ideas and shopping tips, this is a book that clears away the fog, to help you fall back in love with food.
Ruby advises that ‘Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Food nourishes our bodies, helps us celebrate our successes (from a wedding cake to a post-night out kebab), cheers us up when we’re down, introduces us to new cultures and – when we cook and eat together – connects us with the people we love.’
Let’s just say that Ruby’s book got me thinking. Like Ruby (and I don’t for one minute believe that I know her other than what I have seen on television and read in articles and her books about her), I am a recovering anorexic (I say recovering, rather than recovered as I don’t know if you really fully recover, but more of this debate later) who has gone into the Food Industry and developed a real passion for food. I have always wanted to tell me story about my journey from anorexic teenager (a long time ago) to qualified Patisserie chef and the trials, tribulations and possible triumphs along the way (sound familiar) and Ruby’s book has inspired me to do so.
I am not sure whether Bakeblog is the right platform to tell you this side of my story, but this side of my story has had a significant influence on where I find myself today; a Patisserie chef whose job is to bake, taste and feed people on a daily basis. If you are not interested in this part of my journey, please ignore the posts under ‘The Anorexic Patisserie Chef’. While the title of these posts does not reflect who I currently am, it reflects my very long journey.
I guess the best place to start is at the beginning and if I can recall correctly (age has not been kind to my memory) the beginning was my 16th birthday. I had devoured a couple of rolls, amply filled with duck liver pate and was tucking into a cake which someone had made me for my birthday, when my male cousin (who is about eight years older than me) who I valued the opinion of, said that ‘if you eat something like that you will get fat’. It was an innocuous statement, but it triggered something in me and all I heard was ‘fat, fat, fat’. So began my journey of starving myself, keeping overly busy, exercising and feeding others.
I can’t really recall the early days of my anorexic struggle. Starvation tends to do that to you, as it affects all your capabilities, both mental and physical. To be honest, I can’t really recall my journey, but rather isolated events, so isolated events it will be. To hopefully make my anecdotes more interesting, I plan to explore some of the themes in Ruby’s book, possibly starting with the ones which I have highlighted above:
- fun and pleasure of food
- fad diets
- guilt-laden eating
- mental health
- fall back in love with food
- eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures
- food nourishes our bodies
- food cheers us up when we are down
- connects us with the people I love
PS, I hope Ruby doesn’t mind me using the cover of her book for this post, but it was after all the inspiration for this collection of posts.