the culinary and its bittersweetness

Initially, when prompted by Ryan and Tris to write an intro, I launched into a somewhat serious and disturbing personal history portrait. That certainly wasn’t going to do, so I ruminated (quite fitting, given the blog’s reason for existence).

I’m Gem, a British-born Melburnian in her thirties. In short, I am a prosciutto and cheese terrorist (that is, I will obliterate it if it’s put in front of me, you’ve been warned), a carnivore who can no longer even do pescetarianism, for which I suffer much Catholic guilt, I assure you.

My mother said that she knew the day when I asked why we ate chickens that I was ‘special’. By ‘special’ she meant ‘highly annoying’. Ironically, my mother is largely responsible for my previous attitude towards food, and not in the way she would have hoped.

I wasn’t allowed to do much as a child, here. I had very little freedom till I started university. My mother very much takes pride in her role as the cook and nurturer of the house. Thus, my one small act of rebellion thus lay absorbed in food, or rather, lack thereof. I ate as little as I possibly could, and from pre-puberty till recently, food and psychological abuse were synonymous in my eyes. My mother sought to control me through what she fed me, I sought to rebel by outright refusing what she prepared. 

I did learn to eat properly once I started university, but it wasn’t till about four years ago when I was prescribed some medication for chronic health problems that things started to taste fantastic. I was warned by my specialist that the medication could lead to weight gain (and believe me, it did: I’d been underweight all my adult life and after my first serious hospital bout, I found myself having to buy new bras! hurrah for overnight big boobies!). He also warned me that I might start to crave rich food – meat, cheese, carbs and the like. It was okay – for a while. Sadly, neurochemicals are well immune to willpower.

A year ago, and change of medication after a second serious hospital stay. The ravenous cravings had gone but I started to realise, I still rather liked food. A lot. I began to accept that I wouldn’t return to my former weight, and that I was actually pretty happy about that.

I got the idea for this blog because I was fed up of writing and submitting content for others’ sites, online magazines and such. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to help sites (for instance, Urbanspoon rocks!) and confess to more than a healthy interest in social networking but I wanted my content to belong to my own online space. Still, I wanted to share my thoughts in some deluded notion that others might find it useful.

So here we are. When not eating delicious food, I’m looking to try new beer, read shitloads of books, writing poetry, and finally get to the stage where I can cycle without holding onto the handlebars. I’m also a failed classical music nerd.

For me, food isn’t just about stuffing my face. It’s also a stellar excuse to catch up with friends and have a good time, and exchange stories about what’s going on in each others’ lives. Haven’t you ever noticed that dining out is so much more fun with others, and with others who are passionate about it too? Sure, we might go and get plastered afterwards, but, you know, the sober bit beforehand is important! Dining out also gives me a sense of more of a personal connection to this city than I’ve ever had before: despite spending most of my life in Melbourne, I’ve not ever felt I belonged here till recently.

I’ve lost a lot of the cooking mojo I used to have when I first moved out of home, and look to my closest friends for inspiration in that department, and they never fail me, luckily!

If you want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to do so at gem @ eatdrinkstagger . com

Now that all this serious stuff’s out of the way, pore over the posts and please do let us know what you think.

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2 thoughts on “the culinary and its bittersweetness

  1. Gem

    Thanks Ryan, that means a lot to me. It was actually quite difficult to write. But serves to remind me of how far I’ve come, in the right direction.


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