In Sickness and in Health: What do you order for the foodie who's had nothing?

Earlier this year, Rebecca's husband Nick was hit by a car and seriously injured. Here, in one of a series of columns, she writes about the aftermath of his accident

Share

I remember when I used to be the foodie in this marriage. I did the cooking, I knew about - in theory, if not in regular practice - bain maries and piping bags. I read the labels, ate the spicy stuff and ripped out recipes from magazines. I coveted a serious spice rack that had receptacles for celery salt, smoked paprika and saffron, as well as bog-standard basil and bay leaves. Nick? Not so much. He knew where to get the best ready meals - Tesco - and was happy to eat whatever I served, with mince being a favourite. (Or, as I prefer to call it, bolognaise or chilli con carne.)

He has aways been a bon viveur, mind. Nick introduced me to the joys of the cheese plate and lure of the fancy restaurant. Oysters on a bed of snow on a ski trip; oceans of aioli, fresh bread and rosado in Ibiza; asian fusion and sushi suppers; roast chicken sandwiches with wasabi mayonnaise and pickled ginger in a hotel that I never wanted to leave. When we were high on the hog, we ate out like pigs. Pub lunches, cheeky Cambodian mid-week meals and prix-fixe steak frites all went down the hatch. Dining out was a luxury, but one to which we became very accustomed. Each menu was a treasure map, each meal an adventure.  

At home, though, things started to change. My hours at work increased and what I cooked was served later and with worse grace. Then, the days and weeks of TV cooking shows that had served as electric wallpaper started to work their strange alchemy on Nick. A terrine here, a chocolate mousse there. Pies, pastries, hams, soups, stews - even tagines became part of his repertoire. He even bested me at spaghetti carbonara, one of my greatest hits. When I started the 5:2 diet, he’d email me with low-calorie meal suggestions at lunch time. Lucky doesn’t cover how I felt to have married a man who turned out to be a whizz in the kitchen.

I can’t remember the last meal that we ate together before the accident. Nick was on his way back from the shops with eggs that night, but I’m not sure if we were due to have an omelette. What I do know is that for the last few months, the only thing that Nick’s been “eating” is beige-coloured liquid piped in directly through a tube in his stomach. Mmmmm! A nurse let me sniff a bottle of it once. It smelled OK, a bit like a protein shake, which, I suppose, is exactly what it is, give or take a few extra nutrients. As the nurse pointed out, it wasn’t like Nick was actually going to taste it, anyway.

You hear a lot about last meals - the ones that death-row prisoners pick, what chefs would choose as theirs, what fellow dinner-party goers would go for. But first tastes? It’s not a well-ploughed furrow. I’m not sure that Nick would have chosen a strawberry Muller yoghurt to break his five-month fast, but that’s what he had. Bright pink, sweet and fed to him with a plastic spoon. You can keep your snow-dusted oysters and steak frites. No meal will ever beat, for me, the strawberry yoghurt that we just shared. 

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire, Britain’s largest Immigration Removal Centre  

Thanks to Channel 4 we now see just how appallingly Yarl’s Wood detention centre shames Britain

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
 

If I were Prime Minister: I’d ensure ministers took mental health in the armed forces as seriously as they take physical wounds

James Jones
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003