Three weeks later, however, it’s all very different. Monumentally nauseous, I spend much of my day feeling sick and hungry at the same time (an entirely new sensation), and on a quest to discover exactly what it is that my body will consent to eat today. This is less obvious than you’d think; it’s never a simple case of fancying something. It’s more a process of eliminating foodstuffs that actively repulse me, and then, finally, settling for something that I feel I may be able to swallow without too much horror.
I am not this sort of eater. Usually, I’m a restless, inquisitive diner, keen on bright flavours, variety and spice. I have always, always cooked everything from scratch, and mostly in season too.
At the moment, the world has been strangely turned on its head. Vegetables appal me. I can’t contemplate strong flavours. And, quite randomly, my palate will reject flavours that comforted me a few hours before. Sometimes mid-meal. Yesterday, I had to scrape all the cheese off my jacket potato because it was suddenly overwhelming. I am even able to feel sick over a concept, such as the idea of making the bed.
Herbert adapted to this state of affairs quicker than I did. I sulked and lamented, and tried to force myself to eat nutritious meals that were destined for the bin as soon as they were cooked. He put on his tolerant face, walked me down to the local Budgens (where I never shop) and took me from aisle to aisle so that I could pick out the things I could face eating.
My palate, it seems, has turned strangely nostalgic: cornflakes, Petits Filous, fig rolls, tinned pineapple and garibaldi biscuits. I would never normally dream of buying any of these things. But unexpectedly, my cook’s brain has been overthrown in a violent revolution by my inner child. And my inner child is infuriatingly fickle. I had to rush out and buy fishfingers last week, and yet now I can’t even contemplate the rest of the box.
The dish that I turn to again and again, though, is this zero-nutrition wonder: spaghetti, butter, cheese (which may be on its way out) and black pepper. It’s what I ate every morning for breakfast when I was at primary school, and it’s now my go-to meal when all else fails. When I was a kid, my mum used to snip salami into it, too, but that would be a step too far right now. And don’t even try to suggest a side salad.
What were your cravings – or anti-cravings? Share them in the comments below and I’ll try not to dry-heave as I read them.