As a child I actually loathed cheese, of any description. When I was growing up, all those years ago, you came home, had your meat and two veg and a slice of apple pie, if you were lucky, and that was it. Food intolerances and allergies hadn’t been invented then.
One day at school I was given a particularly large slice of hideous soggy cheese pie, which I refused to eat. By the time lunch was technically over, I was a solitary child at the dining table, with the demonic headmistress glaring at me and repeatedly saying ‘Jayne, you will finish that, we don’t waste food here.’
Half an hour later, and after many tears, my plate was empty. I stood up proudly, and promptly regurgitated the cheese disaster all over her black patent orthopaedic shoes and American tan tights. I will never forget the look of horror on her face, nor the sight of her fromage flavoured footwear. Anyway, I am pleased to say that my mother gave the sadistic witch a good telling off the next day, and I was excused from cheese pie forever. Even then, no one ever suggested I had a cheese allergy.
These days you only have to vaguely dislike a food, and you are classed as ‘intolerant’ or ‘allergic.’ I have Daughter who is gluten intolerant and Son who is carb-free. This leads to an enormously complicated, and very expensive, weekly shop. How come gluten-free bread is 4 times the price of normal bread? Surely if the baker has left something out, it should be cheaper? Not only that, we have to have soya milk, almond milk and coconut milk, as well as regular stuff that comes out of a cow.
Starbucks has just opened for takeaways (Hallelujah) and yesterday I heard a customer say, ‘Please can I have a soya cappuccino, extra hot, one shot, no cocoa?’ For Christ’s sake! What’s happened to, ‘Coffee? Black or white?’ Being a Barista these days must require the same brain power as being a nuclear physicist. I am sure there are people out there who are genuinely allergic to certain foods, but how come whole generations are now avoiding food groups?
The most petrifying tribe of all are the vegans. This is the group who have decided to be ‘free-from’ practically everything. When I was in Asia last year, nearly every fellow traveller was a vegan. They glared at me whilst eating a bony bit of anorexic chicken as if I had killed someone. One of them asked me what I missed most about travelling and I replied ‘Steak and Chips.’ That didn’t go down well.
Not only that, their desire to convert you competes with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s fine to have your view, but do you really have to preach like a zealot over a chicken leg? Whilst I tried to appear terribly interested in their cause, all I wanted to do was locate a bacon sandwich and disappear into the sunset.
If they had looked like walking adverts for the benefits of veganism, I might have been more convinced. Instead these young people looked sickly, like plants that have not seen enough sunlight. Whilst they would not put a chocolate biscuit in their mouths, due to the animal fat content, they were more than happy to stick a joint in after every bowl of salad leaves.
I know we are all different but if you give me an Americano with full fat milk, or a Sunday roast, I promised I won’t harp on about the benefits of being ‘free-from, free-from’ or a practising carnivore.
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