It’s not often that I’m not thinking about food. My relationship with food is perhaps a bit unhealthy, I’m not saying I need a nutritionist, just that I’m like an obsessed girlfriend. I’m always asking about food, wondering when I’ll next see food and constantly thinking and writing about food. I’m a woman obsessed.
There is no greater evidence of this one sided relationship than my gap year diary which I wrote when I was part of a Raleigh International expedition to Borneo. Throughout the incredible ten weeks I spent with Raleigh my daily diet consisted of porridge for breakfast, crackers for lunch then rice or pasta for dinner with a selection of condiments and the occasional Nature Valley bar thrown in for good luck. By no means am I implying that we were poor little volunteers who were starved and hard done by, this daily diet had been tried and tested over numerous expeditions and was nutritionally balanced for the types of activities we were doing. I was even lucky enough to be placed on a three week project on the most gorgeous beach in Kudat where our rest days were spent making the half hour hike to Sanis, a small restaurant which served nasi goreng with seafood and chicken with an ice cold coke can for added luxury. But the repetitive nature of our daily diet meant that I often went to bed dreaming about a lavish buffet filled with all my favourite foods, drinks and anything inbetween.
If you ever have the pleasure to read my travel diary, it’s important to note that the second page is dedicated to a list of foods which I wanted to eat when I arrived home. My list was obviously well thought out, as I even stipulated that my apple crumble was to be homemade and my sausage roll had to come from a specific cafe in Guernsey. I even went so far as to write my mum a letter where instead of telling her how this experience had changed my life, I gave her exact instructions on what should be stocked in our fridge and attached a list of all the foods I’d been dreaming of complete with detailed illustrations. Perhaps I went a bit overboard.
As a group, our working hours would be peppered with discussions about which meal we’d ask our loved ones to prepare for our return. Roast dinners with huge boats of gravy often made the top of the list, whilst a medium rare steak was almost always a close second. Both of these were prioritised on my ‘to eat’ list, of course.
The most surprising part of all this is that I can’t actually remember what I ate when I returned home. I think the thought of food got lost in the storytelling of all my adventures and my appetite gave way to an intense need for sleep and a soft pillow. I certainly did not tuck into a buffet made for a king (or a newly born Prince, cheeky Royal Baby reference) but I know for a fact I spent a couple of weeks raiding my fridge and had conveniently booked another getaway across America where I can assure you I ate my fair share of oversized-greased-up-man-v-food-style-dishes.
If you went travelling, what was your first meal at home? What’s the first thing you crave?