Saturday, 4 September 2010

Foodie Heaven. Or Hell, Depending On Your Perspective.

God, dinner party conversation has died a death since the advent of foodie-ism. In fact, you can't get away from it at any bloody meal, or at least, not at any meal held at Max's parents' house. Today we go there for lunch and I almost die of boredom. Really. I am not exaggerating, not one single bit. The entire conversation was about food.

Obviously, it isn't about just any old food. No, there is no mention of Hovis or tinned salmon, or Flora margarine. But previously staple foods that are now produced or grown by specialists? They're deemed worthy of a whole lecture series. On and on, and on and bloody on. It puts me right off my food, actually.

No sooner do I raise a forkful to my mouth, then I get its entire history, blood lines, provenance, whatever. What soil it was grown in, or what food it was fed, and whether there were bags of lavender hanging where it was stored, for twenty years before it was deemed ready to hit my (unappreciative smoker's) palate. I am in an agony of boredom within fifteen minutes but it just goes on, relentless.

Max seems unaffected, which is worrying in itself. This must surely be worse than it used to be when he was still living at his parents' house, so he ought to be finding it as irritating as I am. Foodie-ism didn't really exist in those days, after all. I think he must have switched on the part of his brain that allows him to tune out the kids when they argue - but, anyway, he just keeps eating and doesn't say anything.

I'm not allowed to get away with that, though. Instead, I have to go through my entire repertoire of constituent-humouring noises, and throw in a load of "surprised and appreciative" eyebrow raises for good measure. And even then I don't think I make the grade. I don't suppose I ever will, unless I can gain about ten stone, and bone up on the niceties of elderflower cordial production and the optimum time to hang game.

Josh just shovels down some food, then excuses himself, saying that he has indigestion and needs to go to the loo. He doesn't come back until the meal is finally over. I reckon he was playing games on his iPhone - which normally I would consider likely to cause brain rot, but in this instance, was probably an effective precaution against it.

When the time comes for coffee, I am so relieved. Once we've established the exact grade of roast, the fineness of the grind, and the country of origin, my agony should finally be over. Shouldn't it? But no. Max's Dad gets out a magazine, and says to Max,

"Look what I came across the other day!"

Max looks distinctly unimpressed, but his dad goes on.

"Isn't that great? And what a marvellous photo, too. Show Molly!"

"Oh, I don't think so, Dad," says Max, squirming.

"She'd love to see it. Go on, show her!"

Max passes me the magazine, open at the article in question. I sit and stare at it. I have absolutely no idea why I am looking at it, or what I am supposed to say. Now everyone's looking at me, Max cringingly, and the others with anticipation. Even Josh looks curious. Bloody hell, there's nothing for it, but to tell the truth.

"Um, sorry - what exactly am I looking at?" I say. "All I can see is an article about chilli-growing and a photograph of a smiling fat girl."

Max laughs out loud, and his parents look horrified.

"But that is Lizzie," says Max's dad.

"Lizzie Who?" I say. (This is getting tedious.)

"Max's ex-girlfriend, Lizzie,"   says Max's Mum. As if that was both obvious and reasonable.

"What, from before Mum and Dad were married?" says Josh. "Why on earth would you want Mum to look at that?"

Sometimes, I just adore my son. As much as I don't adore talking about, growing or indeed, cooking food. And it is very nice to see how shit Lizzie looks, too. I don't recommend an over-reliance on chillies if you want to keep your looks, that's for sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment