So there's this thing when you're pregnant that you're basically not supposed to eat anything. I initially wrote "not allowed to eat anything" but changed it to "supposed" because you can, of course, do whatever the hell you like.
I don't suffer much from guilt - it just isn't an emotion in my mood paintbox - so that is not the reason why I'm not smoking or eating the following (READY?):
- soft cheese
- pate I haven't made myself
- cold cuts
- raw or runny eggs
- undercooked meat
- those fish you're not supposed to eat. Shark and stuff... but when would you eat that anyway? In England I mean.
So it's not guilt. That terrible motherhood guilt thing just isn't happening to me. The little sucker is fortunate as hell already to have a mother who is so brilliant at impersonations and who is so good at drawing sheep. I don't feel guilty about a damned thing.
No, the thing with me is that I really really don't want to look like a massive tit. I don't want to eat as much pate and blue cheese as I like and then get listeria, which (I didn't understand this when I yammed down a stitchlton-based salad when I was a fortnight gone) you are like A MILLION times more likely to get if you're pregnant and then have a baby born with no head. I'd just feel like such an idiot.
I don't want to be like a woman I know who carried on boozing throughout her pregnancy thinking "Fuck all those sanctimonious fuckfashes" and then had a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome. TRUE STORY. This is an educated, middle-class woman with a job, people. At the time I bet she felt pretty cool and dangerous. But now she looks like a tit.
The other reason I don't just eat whatever the hell I like is because my husband is really strict. "No!" he shrieks, snatching an amuse bouche out of my hand. "It looks a bit foamy to me, like they've just egg white. Forget it."
And please, just en passant, don't give me any of that tedious shit about how French women continue to scoff blue cheese and pate when they're pregnant. They do that because a) they've eaten it all their lives and are, I heard, immune-ish to listeria and b) the general occurance of listeria in France is about 80% lower than any other country, or something like that. I possibly made that last bit up. Or maybe all of it. Anyway, don't be all over my ass about it. PLUS! There is some kind of birth rate crisis in France so I'm not exactly going to be slavishly copying their gestation techniques.
What was my point again? Oh yes, so what the hell does one eat when one is on holiday in France and pregnant? One answer is artichokes.
I always wonder, when I consider the general form of an artichoke, who on earth first discovered that it was edible only if boiled for half an hour. It must have been a brave man. Or woman. The only thing you really need to know about artichokes is how to get to the heart, which isn't that easy. My husband, fortunately, is a dab hand. (Pictures below). I boil artichokes for about 25-30 minutes until the leaves come away with a gentle tug and then dip the leaaves in melted butter and salt and scrape the fleshy bit off the base of the leaves with my snaggly teeth. You can, of course, also dip the leaves in vinaigrette. Up to you.
I think one artichoke between two is fine as a starter. And also really rather romantic.