The Seven Deadly Sins of Food
Last week’s article was about going to food heaven, and this week, I want to talk about the things we do that, if we’re not careful, will send us to food hell (I imagine food hell to be a place full of overcooked pasta, tinned meat products, and coriander. Lots of coriander). Let’s not pretend we’re not all guilty, guilty sinners. We are. But we can try to be better, right? I, for one, will strive to never again do any of the things I have listed below. Feel free to join me in my mission!
(note: the cover image is a picture of Rodin’s famous sculpture “The Souls of the Damned”, It seemed appropriate).
So, here they are, the Seven Deadly Sins of Food, according to me:
1. Saying you don’t like something before you’ve even tried it
Unless you are four years old, there is absolutely NO excuse for this kind of behaviour (if you are four years old, and you’re reading this, your reading skills are off the CHARTS, kid. You can eat whatever the heck you like). I used to say this about oysters (to be fair, they look a lot like snot) but then one day I actually tried fresh oysters and realised I’d been missing out for a very long time, fool that I was. Also in this vein: salting your food before you’ve tasted it. HOW DO YOU KNOW IT’S NOT ALREADY SALTY ENOUGH? WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT? Sorry, I get very anxious about the idea of people ruining food.
2. Secretly eating something that isn’t yours
You’ve just got home from a party, you open the fridge, and staring you in the face is a delicious and expensive-looking wheel of cheese. You didn’t buy it. It’s obviously not yours- too late, it’s in your face and on its way to your stomach. You are a bad person. You know you are a bad person. Would you do it again? Probably. That’s the thing about sins, guys. They’re tempting and they’re fun. And eating your housemate’s leftovers/your mum’s baked goods/your brother’s secret chocolate stash feels great at the time, but the guilt will get to you in the end – and the last thing your housemate needs when they get home from work is to find you in a guilty food coma on the kitchen floor, drunkenly shouting at them “I ATE YOUR CHEESE!”. I know this from personal experience. You can probably guess which character I played in this story.
3. Not cleaning the microwave after a cooking disaster
Things explode in microwaves. Everyone knows this. My dad once put a whole egg in the microwave to see if it would hard boil (my mum was away. My dad also denies all memory of this event, but trust me, it happened). Spoiler alert: the egg did not boil. It did make a hell of a mess. And whether you’re at home or school or work, if your meal goes all Mt Vesuvius in the microwave, and you leave it for someone else to deal with, you’re a jerk.
4. Making a cup of tea and not offering one to everyone else present
I’m not sure this is a food sin – this might actually be one of the original sins from the Old Testament. You’ll need to fact check me on that, but either way, this is just not on, old chap. Oh no. You boil that kettle, you are honour-bound to make a cuppa for anyone in the vicinity who wants one. You have been warned. If there are biscuits going, you’d better be passing those around too. I’m watching you.
5. Saying “that smells awful” or “that looks gross” about something someone else is eating
I don’t care if your colleague is eating day-old tinned tuna with blue cheese and smoked garlic, you can’t say that. I’m sure it’s happened to you in the past – you’re happily tucking in to your leftover shepherd’s pie, which maybe got a little knocked around on your morning commute, but is still super tasty, and some smart aleck chimes in with “Blimey, that looks like something my dog would eat!”. Dude, shut up. Your dog clearly has better taste and probably better manners than you.
6. Coming to a picnic empty-handed
This kind of applies to dinner parties and other social occasions too, but I feel picnics are more unforgivable. Picnics are for sharing, and you want there to be an abundance of food! And you don’t want to be that person. We all know that person. They turn up late, after everyone has already produced their cheese and biscuits and dips and sandwiches and fruit and chocolate and wine and lashings and lashings of lemonade and says “wow guys, this looks great!”. They sit down and start eating while everyone stares at them and their audacity. I was this person at a 14th of July picnic last week, but only because I was on a flight that was heavily delayed because the US president decided to shut down Paris airspace on a whim. So really, it was his fault I was that person, and by proxy, he was that person. Which I’m sure nobody has a hard time imagining.
7. Sneaking coriander into somebody’s food
If you want to permanently end our friendship, this is the way to do it. Make me a delicious satay, or singapore noodles, or thai green curry, then right before serving, stir through a big ol’ handful of coriander and watch me choke and splutter through my first mouthful. IT TASTES LIKE SOAP. (I know this aversion is genetic, and that for a lot of you it tastes different. But really, truly, I beg you, don’t make me eat it). I feel like to a lesser extent this applies to pineapple on pizza, too. Did you know every time you put pineapple on a pizza, an Italian person spontaneously combusts? True fact.
So, you bunch of sinners, want to make something fresh and delicious and guilt-free to take your mind off your shame? (Or to soak up your smugness, if you are a sinless angel). This salad is based on one I had at one of my favourite Paris restaurants, le Marché in Place St Cathérine. I would never have have thought of pairing smoked salmon and grapefruit together, but my goodness it works well. It is, in fact, heavenly.
HEAVENLY SMOKED SALMON SALAD
4 x slices smoked salmon
4 x big handfuls baby salad leaves (mâche/rocket is best)
1 x avocado
1 x handful cherry tomatoes
1 x pink grapefruit (fresh)
for the dressing:
2 x tbsp lemon juice
2 x tbsp olive oil
1 x tsp seeded mustard
Not really any instructions for this one – it’s a salad after all! Slice the grapefruit like you would an orange, halve the cherry tomatoes, arrange it all nicely over the bed of salad leaves. Shake the dressing in a jar and sprinkle over the salad. Best served with a crusty baguette and crisp white wine!