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As you may already know, my real job is that of a Stewardess and after 20 years of flying, I am a master in the art of feather or leather, sick bags and lost luggage !.

I get to fly with lots of different crew and often you get to meet some fab characters, one being my gorgeous friend Suzanne. Now Suzanne is a master on the keyboard and she often has me checking in on Facebook just to see if she has done another fab post, which will guarantee to make me laugh out loud. After a bit of persuasion, Suzanne has kindly agreed to write about some of her past experiences with Men and food, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did !.

                             

Men, Food and Me.

I’ve always considered myself to be an above average competent cook. I’m able to follow a recipe to the letter, julienne a carrot and chiffonade a bunch of basil. Should anyone doubt my culinary capabilities I can proudly profess that I’m in possession of several cookery related Brownie Badges, a Grade B in O’ Level Home Economics and also own over one hundred and thirty cookbooks.

Despite a litany of culinary skills and my collection of cookbooks, I tend to stick to ten to fifteen tried and tested recipes when cooking at home. My adventurous spirit only rears its head when I invite people for dinner and want to dazzle them. Common sense dictates that you should always serve something that you’ve made before. However with Brownie badges, an O’ Level and cookbooks, I have the confidence of Nigella. Should the end result not be quite what I expected then lashings of lip gloss, a sexy pout and flicking my hair like a lap dancer on pay day usually does the job of distracting my guests. If that fails then a heavy handed sprinkling of parsley also does the trick.

As well as Nigella, Gordon, Jamie, Lorraine and of course St. Delia, the men in my life; past and present, have also influenced what I cook. My first true love was a man who I’ll refer to as Mr H. He was not only a great guy; tall, hysterically funny and handsome, he was also a fantastic cook. I used to stand beside him in the cramped kitchen of his rented house and stare in awe and wonder as he chopped, sliced, diced and rustled up delicious dishes with very little effort. At the age of twenty-two Mr H was the naked chef long before Jamie Oliver. He was, without a doubt, the epitome of ‘Culinary Cool.’ He taught me how to make egg fried rice, a recipe I follow religiously to this day. I’ve always regretted breaking up with Mr H. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he was the only boyfriend I ever had that knew his way around a kitchen and could actually cook. Twenty five years later I found Mr H on Facebook. It came as no surprise that his profile picture was taken in a well kitted out kitchen with him looking resplendent in a crisp white Master Chef apron. He’s now married with grown up children and I’m in no doubt that they have all been well fed throughout their lives.

I don’t want to drag you through my entire Hall of Shame but after Mr H came Nick. He was an affable bloke whose specialities were stews and curries. In reality this meant everything was ‘slop’ on a plate. In the few months we were dating I quickly realised that he had never mastered the art of cooking rice. It not only had a ‘burnt’ taste but always had to be scrapped off the bottom of the saucepan. After Mr H’s egg fried rice Nick was a major disappointment.

Andy was a financial advisor who sorted out the mortgage for my first home. He was under the illusion that because he wore a suit and tie every day and could toss things in a frying pan using one hand he was God’s gift in and out of the kitchen. He was under the illusion that he could cook like a gourmet chef. He couldn’t. I affectionately refer to him as ‘The Tosser’ and not for his agility with a frying pan!

Simon was another man who was found wanting in the kitchen. From the moment we met he constantly professed his love of things Italian, especially the cuisine. He had an annoying habit of having a tea towel slung over his shoulder. Everything he cooked was a ‘something’ pasta bake. The ‘something’ was either Tuna, chicken or corned beef. I became convinced he owned shares in the Dolmio sauce company as he used so much of the stuff. My ex-husband was another man who lied his way into my heart and kitchen. Shortly after we moved in together his first foray into the kitchen resulted in a huge crack in the new work top.

Eventually I scrubbed ‘must be good in the kitchen’ off my list of must haves when looking for a potential mate. It was once a necessary requirement however having lived and learned I realised that I may as well whistle in the wind. After having my own naked chef at such a young age only Jamie himself would be a suitable replacement. Everyone else was a disappointment in (and out of) the kitchen. The exception is my current partner; he’s brilliant in the kitchen. Although his culinary repertoire is extremely limited, he is capable of making a few things. He excels at tea, coffee, toast (buttered right into the corners) crumpets and my all-time favourite, reservations. He is the master of getting a table at the last minute at a restaurant.

Men haven’t been my only food inspiration. I have a folder full of recipes from supermarket magazines. This is how I learned to make Lancashire Hotpot, which is my all-time favourite winter recipe. My favourite TV channel is the Food Network which is worth every penny of my Sky subscription. I’m also influenced by food I’ve tried on holiday. I love Thai food, am partial to tapas and mezes but unfortunately I’ve never got to grips with North African cuisine. Take couscous, whatever you mix with it there’s no disguising the fact that it has the texture of sawdust. I’m also not keen on tagines and as for Ras el Hanout, which is the latest ‘it’ spice (along with preserved lemons) I believe that it should stay in a firmly sealed jar, on a shelf, in the supermarket. I feel exactly the same way about pesto. I love Italian food but have never understood the all the fuss that’s made about Pesto. It’s just green sludge that seems to be slathered on everything from pasta to sandwiches.

In my humble opinion, men and food are very similar in so many ways. As a die-hard foodie, I often find myself lusting after something that I either can’t or I’m not supposed to have, George Clooney and doughnuts being prime examples. Just like food my taste in men has changed over the years. In my youth I loved two things more than anything else in the world, Michael Jackson and strawberry Angel Delight. Older, wiser and, hopefully, more sophisticated it’s now Michael Bublé and Häagen Dazs cookies and cream ice cream. With age I’m now very particular about what I put in my mouth. I know what I like and definitely know what I dislike. Age, confidence and wisdom means I’m no longer afraid to say no and mean it. This applies to men, Pesto and coriander.

Suzanne Forbes