Life Stories TFIF
Memories through food10/03/2014
This week I haven't eaten anything except blended banana, peanut butter and almond milk, vegetable juices and soup. It's not some...
This week I haven't eaten anything except blended banana, peanut butter and almond milk, vegetable juices and soup. It's not some stupid fad diet, I've just been sick, and it sucks.
Not being able to chew obviously made me think about food. A lot. I might not be able to eat it, but damn, I could think about food. I dreamt about it, I watched my husband eat it like a weirdo watching a girl undress through a pair of binoculars.
As I sat there, sipping on a bowl of very green soup, feeling just a little better from the warmth of a nice big hug in a bowl, I thought about what moments in my life went hand in hand with food.
So I'm doing something a little different today and sharing some of the milestones meals in my life. It also made me realise how much I celebrate with food.
So buckle in for stories of a giant pizza, being a princess, how I cried at my 21st birthday and our romantic conversation over a book made of skin. Work out how that fits in.
My 18th Birthday.
The day I turned 18, I was asked what I wanted for lunch before everyone turned up. This was my first step into my big girl pants. My chance to shine out and prove my worth as an adult.
"I want... THE BEAST"
-Cue gasps and fainting-
The beast is a giant square pizza, with a mighty thick base and tons of toppings, it's the equivalent of three extra large pizzas. It's recommended serving is for 12ish people. There were only 3 of us at that point.
So, I wasn't allowed the beast. I removed my big girl pants and put on my pouty pants.
However I was allowed the one down from that "The kind-of-beast" with a name so similar I can't remember what it was actually called. I remember big jugs of pimms, being surrounded by my college friends and eating pizza. I can't remember what we talked about, or what we did, but I know that I was happy because whenever I walk by the pizza place that we ordered it from, I feel warm and fuzzy.
My 18th birthday party, a big affair in a converted barn, which was the next day, is not included in this list because
a) I can't remember anything other than throwing up out of a moving car
b) I can't recall actually eating anything other than a cigarette butt I was trying to hide from my dad. Man, teenagers are stupid.
Or maybe that's just me.
The month of events
Drunken shot of my birthday cake. Surrounded by booze. Don't say I don't inject class into this blog.
If you've been here before you know that my birthday falls in the same week as both of my Brothers. The year of my 21st however, was a biggy. Along with me turning the big 21. It was my future husbands 21st as well. My younger brother was turning 18 and my youngest brother was turning 16 - top that off with my Auntie turning 50 and my parents celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and you've only touched the surface of how much food I consumed. All the space of a month. So we decided to celebrate, and celebrate hard.
Along with a joint birthday meal at a carvery with my future husband and both our families (it totalled up to about 28 of us) we had a various nights up the pub, another carvery meal with the rents and three large parties.
The day of my brothers birthday (which is the day before mine) we held a joint hawaiian themed barbeque, with all our friends and family. Even the dogs were dressed up and excited. We all sat there, in our hula skirts, and bright coloured tops and lit up a barbecue.
I sat, nursing a jug (yes a jug) of pimms to myself, eating my dads amazing barbecued chicken and thought about my life. Then I got sozzled, blew out some candles and decided to deal with it some other time.
Too old to act 18, too young not to try.
Which leads me to the next day on my actual birthday, I had another buffet barbecue and invited some friends over.
So why was this meal in particular so special? Well, because it was literally the turning point in my adult life (so far anyway.)
After this meal I was about to do three things:
- Join weight watchers, lose a shit-ton of weight and make lifelong friends (hello you utter babes)
- Start saving to buy a house
- Get proposed to.
- Get my shit together.
- Write the list.
I'll get to that.
So let's go back to the meal. I actually cried through it. None of my so-called party friends at the time had bothered to show up, I felt like a big poo and I was questioning all my life choices. Like any good 21 year old - I dampened these feelings with lots of cheap beer and that large plate of buffet food.
I was going through that lovely transitional phase a lot of people who have just left education go through, where we have no idea what the hell to do with our lives and feel utterly useless.
Okay, so right now it doesn't sound like the best meal ever, but I think you underestimate the pure delicious of my dad's marinade / barbecue skills.
As I cried over some delicious, amazing food, to the few people that had bothered to come, I decided that I was going to make some changes to get myself out of the big stinking rut I was in. I made a list of things to do before I was 25 and vowed to meet some new people and pursue a life of awesome.
I actually took me a further year to do that, but I do like to take my sweet ass time.
Two years on from my 21st birthday, almost to the week, we got the keys to our first home. We had never lived anywhere else but with our parents, so we went from easy-living to mortgage in 0-60. The memory of moving in is tainted with sad memories, as it was around this time we lost quite a few family members and friends. Moving on with your own life during the passing of people you admired, sucks lemons.
Even though it was the most grown up moment of our lives, even though we were both tired and sad... we literally opened the front door and ran around the whole house screaming like a bunch of toddlers on haribo.
No one ever really tells you how friggin scary it is to realise that you are now in charge of something so big. Neither, does anyone tell you just exactly HOW broke you will be until you have your first payday in your new house.
We spent 2 solid weeks painting and waiting for furniture while continuing to live with our parents, so our first meal ever eaten in our home was a takeaway, on cardboard box furniture.
They are the best memories. I remember laying on a flat back box, with a pot of noodles in one hand, pointing out where I wanted things to be in my kitchen. We were covered in paint, and exhausted, but the feeling of contentment was not to be rivaled.
My Hen Party.
My hen party wasn't exactly a wild affair (no school girl outfits here). That's exactly how I wanted it. We took a private bus to Stratford, Drank tea, ate food, had a tour (with the rudest tour guide in the world) at the Royal Shakespeare company and then finished it off with a buffet, drinks and games involving willies (I was told there had to be willies at some point or else everyone would be disappointed) It was perfect for me, and I had the best day ever, hanging out with my favourite ladies.
Downsides were I couldn't invite my male friends as they were all with Kris. Upsides were that I got to wear a crown and I do love a good crown.
However the food was amazing. It had to be, and my bestie knew that. She made sure I got the most awesome day of food in my life.
It was so good, I hardly got any pictures of it. There was no time. I had to eat it.
There was afternoon teas aplenty, cocktails so strong my face sucked into itself, posh food eaten in the RSC rooftop restaurant and in the evening we ate a traditional banging buffet, complete with disney cupcakes, because we discussed this earlier, I was wearing a crown and was therefore a mofoing princess.
The whole day meant a lot to me because I was surrounded by some of my favourite people, and everyone got on. We bonded over the awful tour guide, drank tea together and enjoyed every second. Not to mention the moment my 80-year old neighbour unwrapped a vajazzle kit and proceeded to have the room in fits by reading out the instructions and warnings.
"Ohh ark at this.. it's a choking hazard!"
Brilliant. We ended the evening flat out knackered on the floor blowing unpoppable bubbles into each others hair. Perfection.
For the first time in the post, I'm not sozzled in one of these bloody events. Honest.
These will be the best pictures because YAY PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS.
When we set a date for our wedding, the first thing I started to research was the food. Everyone thinks I'm kidding when I say that, but I'm really not. We ended up picking a venue which came with it's own catering company, and they were so posh they'd served food to the queen. I had high, high hopes.
They let me pick and choose every element of each course, which is why to this day, the first meal I had as a 'mrs' was possibly the best I had eaten. To have that much creative control might freak some people out but for me, it was the closest I could get to cooking the meal myself, and that's how I show love. I feed people. I wanted to show everyone in that room that they were the dogs bollocks to me, and so I poured my heart into it. I still get people telling me how good the food was. I take that as a job well done.
I probably shouldn't admit that I wasn't one of those brides who flapped about "too nervous to eat". I literally stuffed my face the entire day. There were quite a few food stains on my wedding dress. I'm a delight. Truely.
We had mini strawberry scones as my canapes, with tea, coffee, hot chocolate and juices. To save me having to write out the whole bloomin day, I'll just post the menu here:
I'd spent months and month designing and printing all my own graphics for the wedding, so when the time came to sit down to eat, I felt like I was inside my own mind, where I'd been creating this thing for months. So many people had helped me, and they were all in that room with me, getting sozzled and eating amazing food.
I thought back to the craft nights with lots of pop, and snacks as we made poms poms, menus, order of services and stuck straws of favours. A lot of food had gone into the planning of this day. And now I got to eat more food. Life was good.
I feel blessed to live in an age where the day after your wedding people send you pictures of the pudding they loved the night before. Many discussions were had over which was the best mini pudding.
As we danced to our 50s jive band and ate sweets and drank tea. I felt perfectly happy. Nothing really had changed, but I had a belly full of food, and some banging memories.
And I got to strut my stuff in a dress.
Like a mofoing princess. AGAIN.
The highlight of my honeymoon came at a place called the surgeon's hall museum. Which is exactly what it sounds like. As I peered at a death mask and a book said to be made from William burkes skin, I watched a young couple nervously chatting around some preserved leg leather (yep, that's exactly what it sounds like too.) As he turned to take her upstairs, he looked at her and said "I'm glad you finally agreed to go a date with me today, it's been fun"
Being the nosy little arse that I am, I nudged Kris and "Bit of a weird place for a first date isn't it?"
To which he looked at me and smiled, and said "Emma, we are on our honeymoon and you are eating dried apple whilst looking at bits of skin. I don't think we're anyone to judge. If anything, we're probably weirder"
"Yep, fair point. I stand corrected."
We spent about 80% of our honeymoon sharing a love of food, going to tiny backstreet restaurants, little independent coffee shops and out-of-the-way pubs. We ate so much food that I even shared this photo when I returned because people kept asking me what we got up too:
We visited every museum we could find, walked for miles around the old windy streets and just took it all in. My memories of my honeymoon are full of sore feet, history and a full belly. Can you get any better than that?
So I think the moral of this post is that I eat a lot of food, and I despite years of fighting against it, I'd quite like to be a princess. Preferably one with lots of food.
What are you favourite memories with food? Are they big ones like milestone birthdays and first homes or something smaller but equally important?