A low calorie look at life, writing and cake.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Blue Cheese, Self-Loathing and Festive Creams

It’s that time of year again when I sit among the detritus of Christmas, stuffed with blue cheese and self-loathing.
I have gorged Henry VIII style and almost resemble the portly, tights-wearing monarch (I'm just three chocolate brazils away from 'off with her head.') I hate myself but this is the time of year when I can't help but listen to the voice of the ‘fat girl’ who makes me eat bad things. ‘Go on..." she says, "after all it’s Christmas.’

But it’s now January and I can’t kid myself much longer, I have to face up to the fact I'm now nearing the end of my official festive, guilt-free, binge period. This is traditionally followed by post-festive self-flagellation in the form of a fast, now looming large on my horizon... I've bought the Slim Fast, but that fat girl keeps on talking.

I know the season is about good will to all men etc but I allow myself total food consumption and culinary promiscuity. Some may see it as an opportunity to celebrate the birth of Christ, I see Christmas as a reason to eat until I feel physically sick. I also add alcohol (usually fizzy) to the nausea-inducing ritual and refuse to eat anything green unless it's covered in butter or wrapped in pastry and served with cocktails. But just when I thought I couldn't get more greedy, vile or inventive with my festive food consumption... I discovered a new, culinary low. It's the fault of Capitalism, it's relentless cry for us to consume... and the myriad Christmas creams it has made available in chiller cabinets near me.

My downfall began in the second week of December while pondering low fat spreads. Unaware of what lay in wait I happened upon the explosion of exotic, liquer-infused creams languishing in the dairy section. Oh it's not new, we’ve all been there...a creamy accompaniment with alcoholic frisson over our Xmas Pud a lavish swathe on a warm mince pie. But these are a brave new breed of creams. They are frambois drenched, rum soaked, champagne-fuelled confections positively erotic in their promise of fresh cream fulfilment. They are the lapdancers of the chilled aisle and with one lustful glance our eyes met and I was lost. Reaching my warm hands round their cool, rotund pots I chose carefully, treating them gently when placing side by side in my basket, pretending even to myself that I would resist their charms until the big day (and they weren't all for me.) But the longing on the drive home, the caress of the lid opening and the trembling spoon to my salivating mouth was too much. One lick and I was helpless to stop myself - I pulled over, tried them all, again and again thrashing and moaning with pleasure at the dense creamy heaven followed by the cheeky alcohol kick.
Once home I did the Framboise with tinned fruit, laid the Winter Spice cream on warm mince pies and quickly took the naughty French Grand Marnier dressed only in a spoon. And afterwards, I lay back on unyielding kitchen worktops, exhausted but complete.

But festive cream is a monkey on my back and since that first time, I've experimented every which way with my creams and just can't let them go. Those little tubs of cute, creamy, Christmasness might smile seductively from their shelves giving the come on and demanding you take them home, but they have a dark side. Once those bad boys kiss your tongue they become illicit cream combos and hold you in a vice-like grip from which you can't break free. And fresh double cream (even of the Jersey variety) just isn't enough anymore. Trust me, don't go there, you will never come back.
I admit I have a problem, and I've made the difficult and painful decision to go cold turkey... but not just yet. I owe it to myself and my family to take the bullet and consume the shameful dairy deliciousness that's still inhabiting my fridge. But how to go about this selfless act? In the same way I wouldn’t make cheese on toast from Stilton (no THAT would be disgusting even for me) I can’t just slap ‘Mulled Pear and Ginger Cream’ on a few sliced bananas and hope for the best. These elaborate creams belong in the same category as fine festive cheeses and are only available for a limited time. Consequently, they have to be treated with respect.

Festive Cream requires... no demands, a special ‘vehicle’ on which to be delivered to ones mouth, so I contemplate the blank page of my third novel, while chewing half-heartedly on something left over from Christmas, with nuts in. But I can think only of my next cream. I’ve done it with Christmas cake, laid it on mince pies and bedded it with Xmas pudding. So where do you go when there's nowhere left to go?

Then I see it. Across the room. An enormous, sky scraper of a Christmas-sized Toblerone that only a fat person would consider putting in their mouth (a slim person would probably climb it). I forget about writing and sit back to contemplate the spectacle of huge slabs of triangular chocolate covered in creamy, snowy, alcohol-infused peaks. And there's that voice again...the fat girl in my head; ‘go on... after all it’s New Year.’

I blame Capitalism.


  1. Gawd, Sue, you're so hilarious! I woke up at 3am last night consumed with my own angst over how out of shape I've gotten. Of course, this happens every few months. But my guilt is less holiday induced and more lifestyle induced as I have lately allowed exercise & healthy eating to give way to chocolate chip cookies and sleeping in late. But it's January, so it's a clean slate.

    I can't wait for your next book, Sue. When is it out?

    1. Oh I am so with you Lucie. I too lie awake at night just imagining my body swelling as I sleep! But as you say it's January so a clean slate... once I've finished all those leftovers (covered in cream of course!)
      My next book should be out in the Autumn and it's called 'Younger, Thinner, Blonder.' Wishful thinking on my part!:)