My mother was a great cook. She came from a time when fast-food was nothing but a science fiction fantasy, and grapefruit, prunes and lashings of lard were de rigueur. We had roast dinner and apple pie on Sundays, and fish and home-made chips on Fridays. Most days she would bake cakes, make bread and even croissants. She wasn’t afraid of pastry or meringues, and apart from the lamb stew with dumplings, and Monday’s curry with sultanas, I loved it all.
We just don’t eat like that anymore. Now we have steamed vegetables, occasional stir fries with olive oil, tofu and quorn. We don’t have pud, and a tasty bedtime snack for us is a bowl of oats with almond milk. We don’t eat meat – well, hardly ever, never buy grapefruit or prunes, and I haven’t seen a packet of lard in over 20 years.
Frankly I don’t think I could eat my Mother’s cooking anymore. I think I would be 10 stone heavier for one thing, and have already died of a heart attack for another.
But the weird thing is my parents weren’t fat, and they didn’t die of heart attacks. Dad lived well into his 80s and Mum did nearly as well – so why was that? How could they eat all this stuff and not get the problems we get today?
I have a theory…
I think they didn’t know it was bad for them, and therefore it wasn’t. Bit like smoking really. As soon as you start to worry about it, it’ll kill ya. My Mother had no points of reference about lard – her Mother probably used it. In it went with the bacon and eggs every morning, and Dad troughed it down good as gold.
They say a little knowledge is dangerous, and I think this applies. Because we are inundated with information about what can kill us, what symptoms to look for, what nasty virus is about to pounce, what the latest disease is etc. etc. etc. I think we all worry ourselves into sickness.
There is a man I know who was told he had cancer. He halved in size in less than a month, was wasting away, could hardly walk, and in a terrible state. It then became clear that what he had wasn’t cancer at all. It was something else, and something treatable. Like magic, this man began to recover. He no longer believed he was dying. Somebody told him he was going to be okay, and that was all it took to turn him around. He is fit and healthy to this very day,
Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
It’s too late for the lard and dumplings – I already know what they are capable of – and I really do love my fresh fruit and veg lifestyle. But sometimes, just sometimes, it would be nice to have a big bowl of apple pie with clotted cream, just like Mum used to make, and eat it worry free.