It's Sunday, the sun is shining and an English citizen's DNA demands fried food.
Hats and mittens duly found, the boys and I took my nephew to Crescent Road Cafe. (Home of Zek, the genius food alchemist from Xmas) We wandered down the road in the early spring sunshine, chatting and singing "Sunny Side of the Street"
I ordered "Yorkshire Salad" and persuaded my nephew to have the same. A heavenly hash of crispy bites of mace-spiked black pudding, perfect fried potatoes, caramelised onion and thick cut bacon chunks. With tea, surely this is the most therapeutic sustenance known to man?
Well, no, not if you have Crohn's. Normally I have to drive there, even though it's only a 5 minute walk away. Normally, I order the very same dish and am lucky to manage a few mouthfuls before the niggle starts. As I plough on, the niggle becomes an ache and the ache becomes a pain and the pain becomes a writhe. Normally, I leave at least half on the plate and spend the rest of the day repenting at leisure, wondering why on earth I thought fried food was a good idea.
Not today though. Not in the "Look at me Papa, I'm a real boy" stage. No. Today, I happily munched and nommed my way through the lot. I savoured every mouthful, every shred of crispy onion, every puff of fluffy potato, every last plate scraping. This is a wonder, a miracle. Can you even begin to imagine being so grateful for a simple breakfast?
It's a chore I know, but my mission (which I have gratefully accepted) is to put on weight. To recover from the bony and threatening 6 stone malnutrition of Xmas. I must eat regularly - every two hours or so. I must not waste time or energy on piffling salads or low fat light-bites. No, I must search out calories wherever they may lurk and cram as many in during these few short months of "wellness" that I can. Donuts, cakes, hot chocolate with mountains of cream, crisps, pies, pastries. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it.
Before you hate me too much though, remember, in a few weeks, I will start to leave a few mouthfuls, shifting uncomfortably in my seat. A week or two after that it will be half the meal. In a year or so, I will almost certainly be drinking synthetic meal shakes and craving a Yorkshire Salad more than air.
Here's a thought. Tonight, make your favourite food for dinner. Go to town, push the boat out. Buy the best ingredients you can find, get all the trimmings. As you eat it, taste every mouthful. Really chew. Notice the spices, savour every herb. choose a good wine to go with it and sip, don't glug.
Can you even imagine a world where something so delightful, so pleasurable, so sociable does you harm? Real physical damage? I guarantee you it will be the best meal you eat all month. We only ever really appreciate the pleasures of our lives when we risk losing them.