Ruby Tandoh's 'Eat Up' and Changing My Outlook On Food

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Eat Up book next to tea and toast

I've read a whole load of non-fiction already this year, the most recent of which being Ruby Tandoh's Eat Up - a love letter to food and eating. I must admit, I've not read many books on food which I can actually remember. Eating is something which I love to do. Cooking and having to think about the foods which I'm putting in my mouth - not so much. In a way, I think I take food for granted much of the time. The intense flavours of a single square of dark chocolate, or the sheer delights of diving into a freshly opened jar of Nutella, index finger first, there's so much more than meets the eye when it comes to the foods we eat. Eat Up is a book full of anecdotes from Tandoh's life about the foods she loves, the ones which have impacted her and the way that different foods can bring people together. It's a beautiful way of writing and was a real delight to read, but not only this, it's really made me start to think more about my own relationship with food.

I'm no stranger to talking about body positivity on this blog, but something I've never really considered is the way that I view my body through the foods that I eat. I see my body as a tipping scale, straddling the line between GOOD and BAD. If I consume too much unhealthy food, the scales will start tipping and I'll topple into the BAD side for good. I've let this way of thinking make food have a single meaning to me: something which will affect my body, specifically: negatively. I've allowed myself to attach this sense of guilt to food, which shouldn't actually be there.

While reading Eat Up, I started to open my eyes to how silly this narrow view of food and eating actually is. Tandoh shares how food is a means of bringing people together, a passageway to distant memories from your childhood which you'd almost forgotten, a moment of happiness in a day which has otherwise been dull and uneventful. Food is warmth, it can be prepared with love, shared with friends, enjoyed together or alone. Food is not just a burden on my body, but a source of joy. Viewing it this way, I can see why my relationship with food and with my body isn't as great as it could be. Because I'm taking it for granted, and putting blame on the things that I eat without realising it.

The way that Ruby Tandoh writes about food in Eat Up is beautifully refreshing. She talks about eating with love and care, reminding us that food shouldn't be a guilty necessity, but something which we should indulge in freely and carelessly. Tandoh reminds us to try every food out there - there are so many wild and wonderful flavours and combinations to try, it'd be wild not to! Food in Eat Up is fun, freedom and a source of adventure. It is home comforts and fancy evenings out. It's packed lunches with biro decorated bananas carrying notes from your mum. It's picnics on the patio in the middle of summer, your toes roasting on the concrete as you bite into plump strawberries. It's memories, taste and experience all moulded into one.

Eat Up is one of the loveliest books I've read this year, in that it didn't try to force me to be or do anything that I didn't want to do. It's not a wild diet fad book, demanding that you cut out this and that in order to be happy. Tandoh doesn't push particular food groups or tell you what you should be eating. She speaks from her own experiences, weaving memories with tastes and proving that food is so much more than just a bite and swallow. It's about looking after your body and giving in the love and care that it deserves, whether that's a big leafy salad drenched in dressing, or a bag of Walkers crisps at the end of a long day at the office. It's about doing what's best for you.

Eat Up is available to buy on Amazon.
This book was sent to me for review, however all opinions are my own.

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