My greed is notorious.
So, last week I wrote a story based on a much-missed celebrity love from my youth. I didn't want to write anything too emotional this week, so I decided to write a slightly silly story about a more trivial love of mine... FOOD!
"I'm Not Hungry!"
Julia was a fussy eater. Dinner time was always a struggle. Peas would fly across the room, gravy would be splashed across the walls and a high-pitched wail would cry out: "I'M NOT HUNGRY!"
Of course, Julia was hungry. She was always hungry. She just didn't want to try the foods her poor, anxious parents had cooked for her. She wanted sweets. She wanted chocolate. And she most certainly didn't want vegetables...
One night, Julia's father read an advert in the local gazette: "Chef available for home cooking. Fussy eaters a speciality!"
With a trembling hand, he dialled the number and made an appointment for the very next evening.
Gino Fantastico arrived the following day, with gleaming chef whites and an enormous, twirly moustache. In a broad accent, he cried: "Where is the fussy eater? Come now, let me meet her!"
Julia was bustled into the kitchen and she scrambled into her chair, with her eyes open wide.
"Now, you say you don't like eating? Then thank Heavens for this meeting!" Gino danced around the kitchen, tossing ingredients into pans and mixing strange concoctions.
Julia stuck out her lower lip. "I'm not hungry..."
"I don't believe you're not. Let me serve you something hot..." Gino handed Julia a plate of steaming peas.
"Yuck!" Julia pouted. "I'm not hungry!"
Gino frowned at Julia, then raised his eyesbrows at her parents. "Oh, this is a fussy child. Let me cook up something mild. I shall have to hurry... Would you like a chicken curry?"
Julia pulled a face, but Gino began twirling around the kitchen, chopping onions, dicing chicken and putting rice on to boil, faster than Julia had ever seen anyone manage it before.
"You seem to think that food's not nice, but wait until you try this rice!"
Gino placed a bowl of rice and a serving of curry in front of Julia. She sniffed it and shook her head. "I'm not hungry."
Gino's eyes widened and his moustache seemed to twitch all by itself. "This is crazy. Let me make some gravy. Or perhaps you'd rather have dessert? Jam sponge and custard wouldn't hurt!"
Julia frowned. "But I'm not hungry..."
Gino threw his head back and laughed. "Of course you are, you simply must be! How about a slice of bread that's crusty? Or maybe I'll make a crunchy salad bowl? That's bound to fill a rumbling hole. You need to eat some dinner soon, so grab a fork and pick up your spoon..."
Gino darted around the kitchen again, peeling vegetables, opening packets and scattering cutlery all around the room. Julia's parent's watched with their mouths hanging open, as sauces splattered up the walls and pans sizzled on the stove. Gino turned to Julia with his big eyes twinkling.
"Voila! I have made oodles of noodles.
I have served jelly in an old garden welly!
I made fish and chips
And doughnuts with dips.
I've cooked a stew and dumplings, too.
There are endless supplies of savoury pies,
A full English roast
And hot, buttered toast.
I've made Italian Canneloni and a bowl of macaroni.
There's a juicy steak and a fresh pasta bake,
With garlic bread
On a salad bed.
I've got a few more eggs to fry,
Then you can give this meal a try!"
Julia sniffed the wonderful smells filling the air. "I'm not..." She began, but she knew she couldn't lie, as her tummy began to rumble. Her parents grinned and Gino returned to the oven, still singing to himself.
"There's still more to come,
My job's not yet done.
I have a pizza to top with pepperoni and cheese.
There are so many courses,
Each with their own sauces,
So grab the ketchup and give it a squeeze!
I'll bake you a cake
And I'll fry up some hake
And I'll serve the fish with some mushy peas.
Then I'll ice that cake
And a bite you can take.
Julia, I only aim to please!
Now, look at all the food you'll get!
Tell me, are you hungry yet?"
Julia's mouth turned up at the corners and a very small smile began to play upon her lips.
Gino leaned in closer and beamed.
"See, there's no reason to be so glum,
Dinner time can be such fun!
There are so many different flavours to try,
If you turn them away, life's passing you by!
So pick up your fork and give your meal a taste,
We haven't another moment to waste!"
Julia bit her lip. "But... I'm not hungry."
Her parents hung their heads, as Gino's smile evaporated from his comical face.
Julia giggled. "You don't understand," she said, holding out her empty plate. "I'm not hungry because I've eaten so much!"
Julia's parents jumped to their feet in celebration, smiles on their faces and relief in their eyes.
Gino danced all the way to the front door, singing as he went.
"All that cooking was exhausting for me,
I need a very tall, very strong coffee!
So I'm off now, to find a cup...
...And you lot can all do the washing up."