Joie de Vivre

I am watching an evening of food programmes and finding it difficult not to eat naughty things to combine the physical pleasure with the visual pleasure of appetising dishes of food and patisserie. Earlier today I attended our Christmas lunch and noted that some of us were being ‘good’, scraping the pasty off the pie and leaving the puddings. Yet some of us were making a bee line for the pastry and tucking in to chocolate puddings and chocolate sauce (including me). Of course this is consumed ‘as part of a balanced diet’ in that I wont bother about dinner later. I did notice that the people being ‘good’ didn’t look as happy as the people being ‘naughty’.

In a programme with Michele Roux Junior, he interviewed an American lady about an appreciation of patisserie. She too had observed that the English and American s regard sweet consumption as bad, a ‘guilty pleasure’. Yet the French are happy to indulge without guilt. It s interesting that Britain and America have high obesity levels, yet whenever I have been to France I am hard pushed to spot anyone overweight. Its almost as if the more you try to control something or regard it as ‘bad’ the more it is sought but at inappropriate levels. In Britain we have issues with binge drinking and obesity. Yet in France, alcohol is consumed regularly and enjoyed nt for getting merry and drunk but for more for the taste sensation and the combined flavours with food. Water is used much more to hydrate regularly between wine and meals. The American said that there is a reason why people prefer to say ‘joie de vivre’ as opposed to the ‘joy of life’, because the French know how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life whereas we (us Brits) tend to abuse them or feel bad about pleasure in the first place. I think this guilt must have its rots somewhere in religion, as many beliefs associate pleasure with evil and pain with feeling closer to ‘god’ – penance.

I prefer to enjoy the good moments in life, whether that is indulging in some chocolate or riding a motorbike a little bit too fast. I also feel every human has the right to a happy life, which is why this blog supports Unicef to help children out of vulnerable and poverty stricken situations.

A colleague of mine talked to me about her experiences in India at an orphanage where she witnessed parents trying to work out how to feed their children – their choices were either to give their children to the orphanage or disable them so that they can earn a living begging. Meanwhile in white upper middle class London a mother debates about whether to spend nearly 2000 pounds on a life-size bear for her children at Christmas in Liberty of London. What a fucked up world.

I am blogging every day for Unicef. If you want to help Unicef make the world a better place please support the campaign here.

Thanks for reading.

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