I can’t remember the point when meals first flipped over into being weird Martian salads that would suit no human taste-buds. Perhaps, when you are ill, your body craves very specific minerals and food groups and will combine them in whatever way you can, whenever you allow yourself to eat. I used to be obsessed with roll-mops until I become aware of how much I liked them. Then I made myself stop, as a trial of strength. Now I have no particular desire for them. Was that craving the body’s recognition of some lack?
Poor Jo! Luckily I always gave her the lion’s share of the meal. The difference in our portion sizes, artfully disguised, was my strange way of demonstrating to myself how I was supporting the family by accepting, abjectly, my subordinate status. It was a perverted form of FHB (the fabled cry of parents when guests come round unexpectedly and there’s not quite enough food: “Family Hold Back”.) Mine was DHB: “Dad Hold Back” even though the lack was intentionally created by me. Or perhaps it was a FOMNO: Fear Of NOT Missing Out, when I was the one who least deserved to be rewarded with food.
I also signalled my lower status when getting the cutlery. I always made sure that I had the cheapest, mis-matched knife and fork I could find, some plasticized crap nicked from a works canteen in the 70s and left at the back of the drawer for decades. I still do this.