Melissa Todd: Where does all that food go?

Melissa and son James

I like a man with a bit of passion in him. Be it for football, banjos, ice hockey or train numbers, it bodes well for any relationship if something – anything – gets a fella excited.

Spare me the world-weary cynical sighs of ennui. My husband’s passions are music, books, theatre, comics, Broadstairs, and, of course, me: my son, 17, tall as a conifer, thin as a broom handle, is possessed of a passion for food.

And my word, can he ever put the stuff away. He has a job in a restaurant now, largely so he can steal the leftovers, then comes home at midnight to consume everything remotely edible in the fridge, cupboards, freezer. I wake to a trail of dirty plates, crumbs and wrappers sufficient to suggest the Big Friendly Giant and Very Hungry Caterpillar have decided to hold a banquet in my kitchen, and invite their most ravenous friends. Where does it all go?

Pies, pizzas, pasta, all thrown down the gullet, night after night, washed down with fruit juice and beer and cola, and still he stays as scrawny as a waif with a wasting disease.  It’s sickening. Meanwhile, by some inexplicable osmosis-like process, all the carbs I buy but never get the chance to eat find their way mysteriously on to my hips. That’s my age, I suppose. My age, and also his. He must have the metabolism of a tiger, and I of a sloth.

I worry constantly about my weight, exercise, use carb blockers, fat blockers, get the flab frozen off, sucked off, vibrated off, and still it hurries back to taunt me, while my son scoffs and stares, and suggests I cut out worrying, because duh, mum, worrying makes you fat, everyone knows that, and anyway have you bought any more mayonnaise?

But I do worry. Post-Brexit, when we’re all arm-wrestling in the streets over the final olive, I fear I may look too appetising a prospect to my scrawny teenager, and all his rangy, ravenous friends. They could probably get a decent barbecue or two out of each thigh, while my stomach would doubtless make a splendid blancmange substitute, topped with a sprig of mint and a dash of cinnamon.

It would make a fitting revenge on a generation that’s consumed the earth’s entire resources, taken all the money, opportunities and houses, and now flat refuses to die. My only hope is to become so embittered by spite, so pickled with gin, that my sweet-toothed juniors will spit me out in frenzied disgust. I’m getting there, millennials. I’m getting there. Stockpiling sourness like a talisman.


  1. Irreverent and funny, although one of your readers appears to feel we are decadent by feeding the boy!

  2. S g Todd , not decadent , just highlighting the how food is so important to life, enjoy your food but don’t take it for granted

  3. I agree, we shouldn’t take anything for granted, but I think, rightly or wrongly, it’s pretty normal teen behaviour to do so. Of course I do my bit to make him aware of his good fortune.

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