I do hope you are grateful for the dedication I currently have to expanding your vocabulary. This week my subject is ABLIGURITION – or else the urge to lavish money on fine foods just for the hell of it. Though the word itself is now considered obsolete, the sentiment is not. For yes… guilty as charged.

Food is a constant worry on my mind. Though I am aware that this is a fine example of first world greed, I cannot help but stress if my pantry and fridge are not stacked with a decent variety of preferably organic produce. I would in fact rather spend money on food than almost anything else other than books. Council tax? Blah! Shoes? Nah! Pearls of balsalmic vinegar to scatter over a goats cheese and fig salad at £4.99 a tin? Oooh why I don’t mind if I do!

Clearly life is not much improved by balsalmic vinegar pearls. They are a luxury I could very definitely live without and a fine example of abligurition if ever there was one!

But  I believe that food is the very stuff of life. The icing on the cake that is just plain old being alive. Not only do we get to live scrumptious, joyful, occasionally heart-wrenching lives but hey, we also get to eat chocolate brownies and seedless grapes, parma ham and cheese on sundried tomato toast. We can indulge in five course meals and snacks of brie and celery. We can eat little sweet satsumas in bed and plan picnics of hard-boiled eggs wrapped in foil to be devoured with a little sprinkle of salt! Whole days can be rendered pleasurable by the smell of a chicken roasting or a casserole slowly stewing. We can make ourselves feel virtuous by eating salads of every fruit known to womankind and one hundred times better in an instant by baking an impromptu syrup sponge in the dear old microwave…

This then is the reason for abligurition: because it helps us grow children as strong as ox’s and by making food a priority in our lives, to stave off the occurence of disease that threatens our very life. Abligurition reminds us that family matters and that mealtimes should be a pleasurable part of our day: that variety and luxury are important factors when it comes to food, if we are to turn what is routine into the kind of ritual that stay in our families heart for always.

This too is the reason why my friend Kath and I can spend a few hours in Waitrose, wandering up and down the aisles, picking up foodstuffs we have never heard of before and exclaiming in delight. Imagining the possibilities and expanding our culinary horizons. It is the reason why I will travel for miles to a decent farmers market. Why I will spring out of the car whenever I pass an independently owned bakers and of course why my bottom is as big as a bus.

Abligurition is, I suspect, the best self-help of all and indeed, the key to joy. Big bottoms and all.