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Food for thought

April 17, 2013

“It’s so hard not to eat all the time,” said Child Two the other day as we moseyed around the Westfield shopping centre at Stratford. We had mistakenly taken the escalator into the food court (we were looking for shampoo) and we were surrounded by enormous heaps of food. I could see fudge, biscuits, chips, tortillas, ice cream …. there was a ton of stuff for sale, and none of it was going to do any of us any good. I hadn’t been feeling particularly hungry before our plunge into Carb Land, but I soon found myself eyeing up a doughnut – and I don’t even like doughnuts. They taste like chips with sugar on. No? Just me then …

The UK didn’t used to be like this. Before I left to live in Brussels, all the way back in 1989, you’d be hard pressed to buy a coffee in most high streets, let alone the plethora of muffins, cookies, paninis and whatnot that now come with them. After eight long years of Belgian coffee, which is always served with a chocolate on the side, I was rather thrilled to come back home and find a Starbucks in my local branch of Sainsburys. Although, as I soon discovered, the coffee there came in cups as big as baby baths and if you wanted a snack, you had a choice of huge, sticky pastries, instead of a tiny slither of 70 per cent cocoa chocolate. Dark chocolate is actually good for you (all right, all right, in moderation, I know) whereas pastries are NOT in big, bold capitals.

Child Two was absolutely right. It is very, very hard to stay away from temptation. It’s really surprising that the whole country is not featuring on Secret Eaters wearing vast sweatpants and saying, ‘I don’t know where the weight comes from,’ hiding a Big Mac and crossed fingers behind its back. Do we want to get as big as the poor US citizens who can’t even get cremated any more, as their fat keeps on burning away in the ovens? Either we should all issue our children, and ourselves, with blinkers when we venture into a public space, or we should get this government to do something about it. If they can organise a tricky funeral, surely they can sort out some sort of plan to save us all from the worst sort of eternal flame.

Doughnut eat this

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  • English Mum April 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I’m often laughed at for hating doughnuts i this house – I hate the nasty greasy aftertaste too!

    It’s something I worry about as well – the pressure on us poor parents to instill healthy eating habits in our children when they’re served pizza slices and hotdogs every day in school… It doesn’t help that all these fatty sugary things are called ‘treats’. Maybe we should start sending them to hypnotherapy sessions like our lovely mutual friend Laura who now can’t look at chocolate without thinking it’s poo x

    • Dulwich Divorcee April 24, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Goodness, I’m not sure whether to admire Laura hugely or think what a shame that is … mind you, I’m sure I’d be half the woman I am without chocolate so no doubt she’s doing the right thing …. why on earth do people like doughnuts? Most mysterious. You could actually get deep fried ones where I was at uni in Scotland. Yeeeesh X

      • Dulwich Divorcee April 24, 2013 at 10:27 am

        Ooops, I meant they were covered in batter, on top of the usual deep frying. Double yeeesh!

  • Addy April 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    It’s the same with alcohol and smoking. The government know they are bad for your health but still they turn a blind eye as they bring in taxes. But not so with food, so they really can’t preach about diabetes,strokes and heart attacks, yet allow all these fast food places to proliferate. I guess we should all be more resolute, but it is hard sometimes, when a bar of chocolate winks at you!

    • Dulwich Divorcee April 24, 2013 at 10:29 am

      I know, I know, it’s something about the way they wink, isn’t it? Minxy things. I agree with you about alcohol and smoking. I once met a health minister in my smoking days and hid a fag behind my back. ‘No, go on,’ he said. ‘You’re paying for the NHS.’

  • Naomi April 22, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Alice it is awful to have all this temptation around you and it takes a great deal of will power. As an adult I can walk straight past but my children they see it and they want it. I think it is too much in Westfield – you cant walk far without having food in your face. I cant go there.

    • Dulwich Divorcee April 24, 2013 at 10:32 am

      I think the Stratford one is worse than the Shepherd’s Bush one – though maybe there’s a food hell in there too, and I just haven’t found it! Both are so big that I find them quite exhausting anyway, without having to dodge the doughnuts. The people who run these centres should know it does put parents off.