I haven’t posted on Epicurienne in months. Ten months to be precise. As I write this it is slowly, with my left hand only. No, I didn’t lose an arm; I did the longest cooking to date in my lifetime and baked a baby. She’s sitting here on my lap, gripping onto her father’s ancient desk, alert and keen to be part of the action at all times. Today, she’s learning how blogs work.
After the last post I wrote, about an autumnal visit to the delicious Chez Bruce, (God, typing one-handed is slooooow!) one of my blogging buddies left a comment to ask where I was. PlanetRoss said: ‘Where are you? I’m sure you’ve eaten since October.’ You’d think so, wouldn’t you. At the time, his comment caused my lips to curl at the irony. By the end of November, I’d developed hyperemesis, an extreme of morning sickness, kindly publicised by Kate Middleton so that I didn’t have to translate the Latin for all and sundry for the next six months. That’s right, people, I had my head over a sink until the end of the seventh month of bun production. And that is why this book, bought with all good intention the minute the test stick had two very positive lines, was possibly the most unnecessary expenditure of the entire pregnancy:
As you can possibly appreciate, it’s hard to eat well when 95% of foodstuffs are going to revisit your line of sight following ingestion. I got to the point where my only true friends for months on end were Primula cheese spread on water crackers (chive flavour) and clementines. The growing bun also permitted chocolate to cross the placenta and enter her bloodstream. ‘Why don’t you just eat chocolate? At least it stays down.’ Monsieur pleaded after another evening of full-on, sink-blocking regurgitation. ‘Because it’s full of caffeine and will turn me into Jabba the Hut.’ I replied, silently wondering in a haze of desperation if either con could be really as bad as the constant stomach churning and illness I was currently subjected to. At that point, I had hardly gained weight, apart from that of The Bun, a fact you’d find hard to believe if you could see me now. These days I’m your classic, post-pregnancy Wide Load with an order out for low fat shirataki noodles.
So, to recap, Monsieur and I were thrilled to be expecting The Bun, and then I was pretty much ill for the duration. Even doing a supermarket order online (no vicious smells to send me back to the sink) made me want to vom. A roasting smoked chicken, which I’d usually demolish with a little help from ‘im indoors, had me slamming doors and running up stairs to escape the suddenly vile odour. Rotting leaves on a green down the road saw me retching so hard that I had to take alternative routes to the train so as not to smell them. I was so consistently ill at work that it was truly painful to keep the secret until the traditional twelve weeks were up and we’d had a scan to say that The Bun was baking nicely. I couldn’t really go out to eat, as you can imagine. I knew the location of all public loos en route to work and I could no longer blog, thanks to plummeting energy brought on by being sick so frequently during the day, not to mention that thoughts of my once-beloved food were now liable to make me very queasy indeed. I felt like the Exorcist child. Miraculously, my head never once swivelled, but it came close.
Towards the end of the bun baking I could barely eat for a very different reason: now, the sweetest little parasite in the world, who’d sucked all sustenance from me in order to grow, was a healthy enough size to be causing her mother breathing issues. Sitting at a table only ever lasted a short time before I had to leave and bounce on my giant birthing ball, the only seat in the house that was comfortable enough for my growing girth to balance upon. Invitations to dine with friends were turned down with apologies. I wondered if I’d ever eat well again.
And so the buzzer eventually went off and a bun came out of the Epic oven. When Monsieur came to pick us up from the hospital after a week’s stay (don’t mention the infections, the guess-what’s-in-it-leftovers food, or the rat tooth marks on the corner of my morning cereal packet), car seat in hand, he suggested stopping at Gail’s to pick up some San Francisco sour dough bread to add to a little celebration picnic he’d prepared for us at home. I needed no persuading. Gail’s is a stone’s throw from the area’s famed fromagerie, Hamish Johnston, an Aladdin’s Cave of stinky goodness that had been off limits to the runny, raw milk cheese-lover whilst baking The Bun. After nine months of smelly cheese deprivation, I was in through the cheese shop’s front door like a (very large) bullet, ordering hunks of Wigmore, a wheel of ripe and sticky Camembert, chèvre rolled in herbs, another in peppercorns, a mound of English-produced cheese imbued with garlic. BLISS. My gastro-mojo was BACK.
I’m on maternity leave until Spring, so there’s no excuse not to blog. Since The Bun’s arrival I’ve been making up for lost time on the food front – entertaining like mad (The Bun has a fan club, it would seem), checking out food shops and new supermarket products and daring to dine out with a buggy in tow (not as bad as I’d expected). So watch out for more regular posts on Epicurienne and get out your dribble bibs ‘cos I’m back and ready to EAT. Gobble, gobble, gobble.