Why else would He bless me with a palate capable of discerning and fully appreciating fine food and wines (and not forgetting a good malt whisky or two), while at the same time cursing me with an appetite so small that I readily feel intimidated at the mere sight of a well-piled plate? In fact, a friend who runs her own respected eatery, finds my intimidation by food to be quite hilarious.
I suppose you could even say that in the early days of my writing career I was a real glutton for punishment, in that one of my roles was a restaurant critic. Once a week for a couple of years I had to trundle off to restaurants throughout the length and breadth of Derbyshire, sample their often huge delights, and write about them objectively.
But to be fair, the curse has never really put me off enjoying the benefits of the blessing, and savouring my meal. I just make up my mind to only eat what I feel comfortable with, and never mind that when I’ve finished there’ll probably be more food left on the plate, than I’ve eaten.
That philosophy works nicely in the home kitchen, too. I love to cook, particularly fish, and have even created my own recipes for Seabass and Haddock, And it all means I can ensure my portions are all perfectly sized, because I sometimes have to supervise when Susie B cooks and dishes up. Even after almost 35 years of marriage she still sometimes tests my food intimidation to the full.
So for me, it’s always been a case of quality rather than quantity, which is why I find restaurants serving nouveau cuisine to be particularly attractive. I well remember a rare occasion when I was able to completely clear my plate in a restaurant and saying: “Perfect. There’s nothing better than small portions.” And a family friend who was eating with us just looked totally forlorn and said: “There’s nothing worse than small portions.”
Horses for courses, I suppose. Oh, and talking of horses…actually, no. I couldn’t eat one.