Helena Frith Powell of the Daily Mail is a woman who gets on my nerves. Occasionally I receive articles she's written from my mother, and most of the time I'm seethingly irritated by the time I've reached the end.
The latest one, written on July 31, is entitled 'Going to Waist' and describes our Helena going back to the UK after six years living in France (not that far from me, actually), in a backwater, and being, shock horror, 'horrified by how we've changed shape'. She declares that eating a normal English diet sent her weight soaring after only 5 days stuffing, to the point that she could no longer get into her jeans.
She also wonders heartbrokenly why the Brits enjoy Mother's Pride bread so much when it so bad for you, and how mothers have given up trying to feed their kids healthily at lunch time by sending them off with frozen pizza and a packet of crisps in their lunch boxes.
She describes, primly, how her French friends live in fear of the summer and the prospect of seeing all that English blubber on the beaches not only bulging disgustingly, but going from pasty to scarlet. Poor things. One weeps, does one not?
I find it very strange that Ms Frith Powell, a journalist, has not heard about Jamie Oliver and his crusade to get healthy food back into schools and lunch boxes, ever more successfully from what I gather. I also find it strange that while Ms FP cannot get into her jeans after less than a week, she attributes this to eating 'a normal British diet' rather than her propensity to guzzling. I do not put on weight when I go to the UK, unless I'm unlucky enough to get bad weather and am thus confined to barracks. My mother is a stickler for the '5 a day' fresh fruit and veg, and cooks balanced meals which are terrifically tasty.
Mother's Pride, whilst not being on my 'bring back to France' list, is good to have from time to time. Give me a Sainsbury's white loaf any day, and definitely in preference to an industrial baguette from a local boulangerie. Ms FP seems to have missed the plight of the baguette in her eulogy of everything French. Most baguettes are prepared by a central bakery, to industrial standards. The dough is then transported by van to local boulangeries which bake them on site, the boulanger happy not to have to get up at 3am to prepare the dough. It's actually very difficult to get a good baguette these days.
Anyway, why should one type of freshly-baked bread be better than another? They are all tasty if made freshly on site. My boys get very fed up with baguettes, as do I. They are hopeless for making sandwiches, bacon butties and toasties. If you have sensitive teeth, baguettes are torture to eat, and sometimes you just want to sink your teeth into something soft, white, elastic and scrumptious. A Sainsbury's white loaf.
As for being over-weight, that is another issue altogether, linked with bad eating habits. I object to naming these bad habits as being typical of the British diet, as people were not previously over-weight. The modern British diet does not consist of British food, but rather labour-saving crap out of a freezer or tin. We have to encourage people to spurn this crap in favour of cooking real food again. Real British food.
Helena, instead of fauning to the Frogs and falling into the 'everything that comes from France is so much better than England' c/trap could point out where both countries are falling down in healthy eating. The Frogs are gaining in size too, just like the Brits, and this is because of increasingly poor eating habits.
But describing how the Frogs are not that great after all wouldn't make such a sensational, Brit-bashing article, would it?