Last week, I received the news that I have high cholesterol, and since then I have entered a pit of despair, salads and oily fish as I attempt to wrestle back control of my escalating midlife lipids. This lifestyle change is a bit jarring, especially as I was planning on having a big old blowout for my 50th. Now it looks like my birthday cake will be made with Benecol and decorated with statins in the shape of a skull.
And it’s only now that I’ve had to cut back on all the things I hold dear (RIP Mr Kipling), that I realise how much lard there is in the world. You’re all MAD FOR IT. Everyone is practically bursting at the seams with cheese. The streets are paved with pastry and tree branches are made of sausages and rivers of mayonnaise run through fields of butter.
Every dish on every menu is chock full of cream and bacon and I now know what it must be like to be vegan, having the choice of one, lone crap thing on the menu – and even then it’s got goat’s cheese in it. Yes, as if being an invisible middle-aged woman with frizzy hair and a face like a tomato wasn’t bad enough, it turns out the world is basically a pie, and I’m not allowed to have a slice.
Just because I can’t touch doesn’t mean I can’t look, though. So, now that fun has been surgically removed from my life I need to get my kicks from watching other people make and eat forbidden foods.
Like Stanley Tucci, for example. Everyone loves Stanley, don’t they? He’s the charming, sexy, urbane, diminutive film star we can all agree on. All he has to do is say “I’m Stanley Tucci and I’m Italian on both sides” while walking down the street in a pair of spotless white chinos, and everyone in the world melts like mozzarella.
Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy is a global hit, because why wouldn’t it be? Watching him getting stuck in, speaking Italian and not being a massive pain in the arse, you realise how clueless and condescending British TV chefs can be, and how much those toothless old pasta-making ladies Jamie Oliver used to visit absolutely hated his guts. Tucci’s narration is like a self-assured New Yorker editorial, he actually seems able to speak to people without patronising them, and his delivery is as smooth as cacio e pepe.