word by Sinae Park
Few minutes of awkwardly fidgeting next to the unrecognisable queue at McDonald’s, a hot meal came through from the busy counter and I sat down with two small pots of Sweet Chilli sauce.

As Its crips skin is put through my nervous mouth it instantly makes a delicious sound. It is crunchy and warm. Objectively I am just one of the tired bodies sitting, ready to snatch its round body off the paper tray at McDonald’s.

My body, however, which is used to be free from animal meat as a fuel, flinches, it’s nervous. My sticky relationship with meat continued however I stepped an inch towards to the recovery from my eating disorder. Though my recovery was slow and hard, it was steady. I learned about nutrients not to restrict but for the balanced intake. But to me, not eating meat was the last strand of control that I felt I could have towards my body and food.

It was separating myself from food that would give me anxiety and being a vegetarian was a simply among many ways I practised to reduce the guilt of eating food. Also my perfectionism personality was disciplined enough to creep over me whenever I felt the loss of control over things that I cared often when sloppy relationships crashed with my ego.

My food sociology class when I studied English Literature made me iron out all the sociological relationships around food and it was a game changer for me. Everything was as complex as onion layers. I learned to pull out strands of gender, class and race from Jamie’s Italian in high street.

However I felt more equipped with social relations of food, I was swirled into the aspirational idea about buying  “locally sourced food” and getting ingredients from the “farmer’s markets”. I also bought Kinfolk and dreamed of throwing an outside dinner party with fairy lights on. But my reality back into being a student again was not compatible with “vegetables from the farmer’s market” since I was left hungry meal after meal and needlesstosay I am an art student having to count every single penny in my pocket to afford materals and books.

That’s why Ruby Tandoh’s recipes on Guardian spoke to me when I came back late night, knackered, opening my hungry fridge. I was reading each sentence with a spoonful of spinach pasta, chewing through the elastic starchy of pasta, however cold my pasta was, her advocating white bread with a big chub of butter smeared off the carb has finally made me realise that I can “eat what I want “and there’s not a one way to have a relationship with food and it is ok.  ✰

Image by Sinae Carrotate Park