I got into quite a heated discussion with my flatmates recently (heated on their side, obvs) about a relatively simple topic: if you could only eat five foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Now, living with a couple of women of a certain age and penchant for health and spirituality, they made careful calculations as to ensure they got very balanced diets, including all necessary vitamins and food groups. And this went on. Before I knew it, they were making tactical substitutions, researching availability and comparative potassium levels of different foods. All the while, I sat back, observing the madness. A wry grin appeared on my face. Error.
I could feel their stares boring through my glossy exterior, and I was compelled to join in. Now, as quite a simple man, I felt perfectly able to respond with a succinct, honest answer. Burgers, bread, cheese, chocolate (and for the sake of having something vaguely healthy and balanced, given present company), cucumber.” Little did I know when answering that the cucumber would tip them over the edge.
So, I got a lecture on the relative nutritional value of cucumber, and how, actually, it was “nothing”. They spouted facts about it being 90% water, low in fibre, yuddah, yuddah, yuddah. I started to wonder if I’d actually died and was being judged at the gates of Heaven on my food choices. Was this real? Were we really, seriously discussing this ice-breaker conversation as though our very existence depended on it? Would we wake up tomorrow and find that only our five declared foods would be in the fridge waiting for us? Or would we not have a fridge? Maybe the food wouldn’t be there either, and we would have to hunt and gather it ourselves like some sort of stone-age troglodytes?
Snap. Back in the room. I think they’d been talking for a while, so I suggested broccoli as a peace offering. It seemed to work. They giggled, and I thought I had escaped. Then they suggested whether I would want mayonnaise to go with my burger, as they knew I liked it. Here we go again. I quickly explained how I simply must have my broccoli to balance the diet, couldn’t possibly live without chocolate, and then I just ran for the glowing sanity of the hallway and shut the door behind me.
Thankfully, the next day, the fridge was still there. I went and bought a cucumber to celebrate.