If you are thinking about dating a chef, or even worse, you are contemplating getting married to one, then please read the next few words very carefully. You will put weight on. When I met Guido fifteen years ago I was a skinny twenty five year old. You could see ribs. For the first few years we were together Guido slowly enticed me with all sorts of strange and exciting new things I had never experienced before, and I am not just talking about his chorizo. I have to say the secret weapon in his arsenal was definitely tapas. If you’d taken a trip through my intestines with a spy camera it would have been like a history of the Spanish cantina. There was probably even a couple of shrimps down there playing the castanets. My motto after meeting Guido has always been “Why cook when you live with one?” I am not completely stupid. Nowadays I only ever cook when I absolutely have to and thankfully it’s very rare. This can mean the gap between each occasion is so long I have to re-read the user manual just to remind myself how to turn the hob on. What goes into the oven is definitely food but what comes out of it can be anyone’s guess.
Living above the café means there is always food around me. I can accurately calculate that at home I am never ever more than six feet away from a salami sausage. So to stay sane and strong I am often in the middle of some sort of a fad diet. One day I think I might just come up with a diet all of my own and then write book about it. I’ll probably call it the “Just Eat Less Diet.” If I can get it syndicated I think I might be onto a real winner. It would be really easy. All you would have to do would be to eat less. I do realise it could be difficult to practice what I preach if Guido and I were in bed and he was noisily eating leftover empanadas. For purely hygienic reasons I would have no option but to eat the crumbs. Temptation is all around me. It’s a culinary minefield. Sometimes my will power fluctuates but I generally stay slim by pretending peanut butter is an invention waiting to happen and that if I eat a dessert of any kind it will send me immediately into a coma. I can totally recommend this approach. When I look at New York baked cheesecake I always see oxygen tents.
I try not to be totally obsessed by how I look. I often watch re-runs of that TV show, Extreme Make-Over, purely to keep myself grounded and in the real world. If you have never seen it, it films a person who hates his or her entire body and turns him or her into someone who bears absolutely no resemblance to what they looked like just sixty minutes earlier. Only I think this is edited over weeks or possibly even months because some of the changes are so extreme you would go into body shock if they did it that quick. I’d definitely consider going on it. It’s not that I am very unhappy with how I look but I do think there is always room for improvement when you get past the age of forty. I think many of the extreme make-overs the programme undertakes are what you should really call medical procedures. I expect the team at intensive care is never too far away, on call, fully scrubbed up and ready to roll. It also seems to involve some masked expert spending an awful lot of time enthusiastically extracting high volumes of body fat with a sharp ended metal pipe. I hope that is not in any way compulsory. I would be worried some mad plastic surgeon might get too vigorous and one suck with any zest would see my entire body shoot up through his hose. I really would hate to end it, concertinaed to the width of a pencil, forever peering out at the world from a waste disposal unit.
I once watched an episode about a couple who had an extreme makeover just before their wedding. Predictably this episode was called – Extreme Make-Over Wedding. I was actually surprised the groom recognised his bride walking up the aisle towards him. It must have been like two complete strangers having sex on their wedding night. A few days ago I tried to find it again on Youtube so that I could sit Guido down to watch it. I thought it might inspire him to come up with a few ideas about what he could do with his hair on our wedding day. There are only so many things you can creatively do with a ponytail and he stubbornly refuses to plait.