Andy Lynes
 food journalist and writer



31 May 2007


As a food and travel writer, I have been seriously spoilt. I've feasted on sweet, juicy black pineapple cut straight from the ground with the Antiguan sun on my back; sipped Clos-Vougeot Grand Cru 1959 in the courtyard of a Burgundian chateau while a Michelin starred chef prepared dinner at the table side (do you hate me yet?) and eaten a two dozen course lunch at The French Laundry in the Napa Valley, one of the best restaurants on the planet.

While that might qualify me for the position of Food Hedonist in Residence (ignoring for the moment that my "wild child" credentials are seriously undermined by the fact that I live in the suburbs with two kids, a dog, drive a Ford Focus Estate and am about to celebrate 17 years of wedded bliss) I'm no food snob. I never met a bacon sandwich I didn't like and while I appreciate chocolate with 70% cocoa solids as much as the next gourmet, it hasn't blunted my appetite for supermarket brand Mars Bar knock offs.

I'm far from alone in these predilections. Legendary chef Marco Pierre White has taken the opportunity while promoting his recently published biography to extol the virtues of Knorr stock cubes; Simon Hopkinson, author of "the most useful cookbook of all time" admits to being "seduced by the honeycomb centre of a Crunchie" in the pages of Roast Chicken and Other Stories and Nigella Lawson once confessed on a TV interview that her favourite snack consisted of "salt-and-vinegar crisps in one hand and a white chocolate Magnum in the other."

So let's do away with the idea of guilty food pleasures. Do you diligently cook everything that arrives in your weekly organic box scheme but supplement it with a family pack of Cheesy Wotsits? Shout it from the rooftops. Only buy 28 day hung Aberdeen Angus beef from your local butcher but can't resist a Big Mac? Send out a press release. Purchase sustainable seafood from an independent fishmonger but would sell your kidney for a fish finger and Branston Pickle sandwich? Text your entire address book.

Of course we must care about the environment, the food chain, local businesses and our diets, but allowing ourselves the odd indulgence is no crime. Relieving your self of the burden of those guilty food secrets is good for your soul. Let me prove it to you; I once cooked an Ainsley Harriot recipe and thought it was delicious.

Actually, some things you really ought to keep to yourself.