Wednesday, 19 October 2011


A word describing a person who is against having any sort of fun at any time.
Man #1: "No hanging off the chandelier!"
Man #2: "Miseryguts!"

Johnny Rotten is holding a press conference, spewing forth about all the stuff he's against.
Reporter: "Mr Rotten. Do you ever feel sorry for people less fortunate than yourself?"
Johnny (snarling): "There isn't anyone less fortunate than me."
I'm miserable. I'm not sure why, well there are probably a million reasons why, only some of them 'valid' but I've been attempting to bat away depression for a few weeks now.
It's that mild kind of disgruntlement with life that makes you eat more. Real tragedies, of course, render you unable to eat anything.
But life has lost its colour. I'm in the black and white bit of the Wizard of Oz in Kansas: restrictive, dull, conventional, unenjoyable. Everything annoys me. I'm irritable as fuck. I kinda hate everyone. I was horrible on Twitter to someone who tweeted cheerful happy tweets* to me. How dare she? How dare she have a husband and kid and house and security and success and contentment?* * As I age by the minute and crawl into my second? third? year of unelected celibacy, I reserve particular ire for married women, although I'm sure some of them are perfectly nice. I'm just jealous that's what.
We are slipping into winter, and I haven't had a holiday for over a year. Every year in March I feel better, almost without even realising that I've not been feeling great for months. I'm not claiming that I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Syndrome) or anything official that requires sunbeds and medication, more just a lingering lack of enthusiasm which is so unlike me.
As this is a food blog, what can we eat to cheer the fuck up?

Bananas! I've always heard that bananas make you happy. They contain Potassium and come in happy yellow, boasting a comedy shape and jacket.

Tea! I don't even care what the nutritionists say, a cup of tea cheers me up like nothing else.

Oily Fish: really good smoked salmon, especially from an artisan smoker, puts a sparkle in one's eyes I'd say. After all it's a nice colour (my mother's favourite along with peach) and contains Omega 3.

Coffee: we get so much conflicting advice about coffee. But some studies say it lowers susceptibility to Diabetes II. At least it gets you going, all that caffeine. I'm not much of a coffee drinker, maybe that's where I'm going wrong.

Dark chocolate: a little of properly grown-up dark chocolate per day keeps the doctor away.

Red wine: another substance where we constantly get mixed messages from health experts. One glass a day can't hurt and can help. Lowers blood pressure. Makes you a teeny bit drunk.

Avocado: apparently this fruit with good oil alleviates depression, contains tryptophan, which boosts feel-good serotonin in the brain. I reckon all fruit does actually.

Pasta: I'm addicted to pasta. Seriously. I'd rather eat pasta than go out. I'd rather eat pasta than have sex. I'd rather eat pasta than win the lottery. It's my death row meal. It's my north, south, east, west. It's my everything. Carb eating raises your serotonin levels but only for an hour or two. I can actually feel myself reaching a kind of carbohydrate bliss point while I'm eating it. Then you are back on the misery treadmill again. This is why you get fat. Same with sweets, make you feel great, but not for long.

Optimum nutrition guru Patrick Holford claims that the right nutrition can help with mental health diseases such as schizophrenia and bi-polar. While I'm sure Ben Goldacre would argue against this kind of fluffy idea, it makes common sense doesn't it? Last year when I visited The Clink prison restaurant, we discussed how criminality could also be caused to a certain extent by poor nutrition. I don't think it's too politically incorrect to assume that much of the prison population come from poor backgrounds and neglectful parents who perhaps didn't/couldn't feed their children balanced meals.

I suppose I could also try NOT eating. I'm sure my fatness isn't helping my mood nor my pulling power. Maybe I need a different vice; not eating but say, drugs. A constant diet of Ecstasy and MDMA would certainly make me happy, for a while. Look at this picture:
I look totally mind blowingly ecstatic don't I? Have you ever seen me with such a wide smile? Well, I was on drugs at the time. I'm not a druggie person at all, but I thought I'd try a dab of MDMA which was offered to me while I was at Gay Pride. As I was carrying a massive drum and had my period I thought, why the hell not? I'd never tried it before. Folks, I have to admit: it was totally fabulous. Drugs are fun, momentarily and don't believe anybody that tells you different. But the aftermath: for the whole of the next week I was a cranky witch and also made some rather dubious decisions. I met a guy off OkCupid, for some reason allowed him to visit me at my house on Friday afternoon. (He'd won a reality show, so I figured he's not exactly an anonymous mad axe murderer. Yes that is the kind of date you get on OkCupid, Julian Assange types, interesting but nuts). I didn't even fancy him. By Sunday afternoon he'd moved in. Yes. Wednesday evening my daughter discovered his mobile phone laying around and found texts to several other women saying how he loved them. Confronted, actually rather mildly by myself, on Thursday morning he stormed out. The teen and I still chuckle about it. But the moral of the tale, drugs aren't worth it, you feel terrible afterwards and do stupid things during.
Anyway my dear readers, wanna cheer me up? If you've enjoyed this blog and the supper club movement that I have spawned then do one or all of the following three things. Yes this is emotional bribery. Yes I'm calling in my markers. You owe me. Admit it.

1) Buy my book. For yourself. For everyone you know. It's pretty. It's a great christmas present.
C'mon it's not expensive on Amazon.
2) Book one of my Diva dinners: next one is Barbra Streisand night: 18th of November. Jewish food and musicals.
3) Comedy night with Josie Long: 25th of November. If you are miserable too, book this and we can pretend we aren't sad for an evening.


 started my  this year am onto my 4th nxt month & it just booked out, I had to find an extra table : )

 Kerstin Rodgers 

 Shame your blog has such an awful name tho

**I realise that many reading this will think I too have most of those things. But it doesn't feel like that from the inside. It feels a bit desperate and bleak and worrisome. It's all about perspective isn't it? And sometimes your perspective is all messed up.


  1. Ruff Gruff Back Slaps of sympathy and good fellowship. I'd love to come to your (any of) your Diva evenings but I'm stuck elsewhere and then on my own thang for a while. I will buy the book though, although I've been avoiding it! Hugs.

  2. Have put book on 'must have' Xmas list and told parents, brother and husband (waste of time, will probably get an iron or something equally mundane). Have bought one for business partner too (hope she's not reading this!)

  3. catofstripes: thanks, yes buy it :)
    Aw thanks Scarlet! x

  4. You missed Marmite off the comfort/happy foods list! Your namesake on toast plus a cup of tea = puts a smile on my face everytime. Things will get better and happier very soon. Until then pull out a few tarot cards, try and use them for inspiration and surround yourself with happy colours and decent people x

  5. Oh, Kerstin depression is not good. I have been there. Hopefully we can take your mind off it up here in Scotland for the weekend at least. I've got my shopping list sorted now bananas, avocados,chocolate, red wine... See you soon. Ax

    PS I've got 3 copies of your book.

  6. Eat and drink everything on your list
    except perhaps pasts..!! or you could
    try reading Jane Juskas - recent book
    or - Grumpy Old Women.

  7. Bought the book, already, but ordered another, which I'll give as a gift. Alas, since I am stuck in NYC, attending one of your events is slightly off the beaten path for me at the moment. But when next on your side of the lake....well.

  8. Thank you:
    My teen says I'm a terrible embarrassment for writing this post. But then everything I do embarrasses her.

    I feel a bit exposed, but actually the reason I started blogging was to express myself. This blog has become my job really and so it's tempting to present a good face, the hey I'm so successful, everything is cool.
    But the reality is of course different.

    I know lots of people suffer from depression and particularly in winter. Too many blogs give the impression that those who write them live perfect lives; constantly cooking great stuff from scratch, beautifully presented dishes, relentless freebies, glorious dinners.

    (The trouble is with every freebie, every dinner you don't pay for, you feel guilty for not blogging it. Blogging is work. Uploading pix, writing, editing, when you are not passionate about something is frankly a drag. So I avoid most freebie events unless it's something that really interests me. One night of eating and drinking means a day of work the next day. I'm not comfortable with taking hospitality without payback.)
    But really I'm trying to blog truthfully in the hope that readers will either laugh (because there is a dark humour in it) or feel companionship, the important feeling that you are not alone on your bad days/weeks/months.

  9. Okay, girl. This is Time Out. Big Time. Take two days and just sleep. No showers, no changing clothes, no answering the phone. Nada. Third day, hot shower, lavish soaps and suds. Shave legs. Blow dry hair, put on makeup. Grin at self in mirror. Flip hair back, go out door to take yourself to lunch with your fave book or magazine. Ignore everyone but you. Then in the afternoon...go back to work, just for a few minutes, so you can see what YOU, all by yourself, created. Pretty clever, you are. Yes? Now, to bed for one more night before you emerge as your powerful little self. Go, girl.

  10. Married woman who tweets quite cheerfully here...which covers over quite a few of the miserable bouts that appear out of nowhere (even though I live in year round sunshine - in fact this can make it worse).
    As you know from my regular (and probably annoyingly upbeat) comments here, I applaud your incredible creativity and energy (albeit from afar). While not everyone who feels depressed in creative, I do think (very unscientifically) it effects people who are creative more. It's the heightened appreciation of your surroundings or aspect that stimulates your art or craft that affects you so deeply at the other end of the spectrum.
    Your honesty has always been breathtaking - and it's not the type of honesty usually dished out by self-acclaimed 'real people' which is usually to give some unpalateable feedback to you. It's how you reveal the things most of us do our best to bury under the floor boards. Lucky teen to have you as a role-model and Mum, warts and all - surely this is parenting at its best (this is better than any drugs lecture). Agree totally that many blogs paint unattainable perfection (and these are the ones that get the most traffic so what does that say about us all!).
    You've succeeded in your aim to make at least one person feel that they are not alone (I will bookmark this to reread when the black dog appears on the horizon).
    Rattling on rather badly here - bought the book and will one day find a way to draw a chair up at your wonderful events.

  11. LInda: now it's really funny that you mention shaving legs. I've stopped shaving. I'm growing underarm hair!
    Is this a sign? In fact I'm getting a slight kick out of the idea of going a bit 70s feminist with tufts sprouting under my arms.
    Sally: I know, yes I know, my jealousy of married women is completely unreasonable. Completely. Being in a relationship brings its own special misery. Especially if its been going a while. But I wouldn't mind just leaning on someone else just for a little while, a moment, a little release...
    Thank you for your comments and I love your upbeat comments. In fact I love any comments, all of which seem to be getting rarer than hen's teeth.
    I think nowadays people just retweet or share, which is great too. But it's so lovely to get verbal feedback.
    One of the things I didn't like about writing a book was that you don't get that instant feedback, that sharing.

  12. come and have a holiday in Munich - completely anonymously!

  13. I love your blog and love your honesty. I've been on some tabs from after an op and lightly mentioned it on my blog ( and several friends texted me saying was it wise to comment about it. Hell yes.

  14. I thought this was a brilliant post and thanks so much for writing it. It makes you realise everyone goes through shitty times, without always being being able to figure out exactly why. And it's always good to know you're not alone in that! And thanks for writing your book, I've got one for me, and one for a friend now! Not bad for a boy :)

  15. Hey lovely,

    I need to send this post to my mum - she suffers from depression and SAD and being a primary school teacher and she was down this morning. I suggested she eat a when i read this entry I smiled.

    You have so much to be happy about and proud about though lady so look in the mirror when you're pulling your sad face and tell yourself it will pass. And then book some time off, a holiday okay?

    I have your I can't help there but how about I make it a new years resolution to come to another one of your events? I'm stupidly poor right now and contemplating a job half the salary I used to earn but when things are more stable (and Christmas has come and gone) I'll make the effort.

    As for drugs...I agree. I used to think it would be funny to put MDMA into the office water supplies. The world would be a happy place for a little while...and then afterwards we'd kill each other!! I think though it is worth thinking what do these drugs do to the brain? They suppress the worrying side of our brain (right side?) and let the other side (left?) take control for a bit so we get that 'at one' , euphoric feeling. Yoga and time out can to a degree help with this...we just need to make a conscious movement to the left side...

    Okay blabbing and not being v eloquent because my RSI hand hurts and I'm being a lazy writer because of it - I suggest you watch that Ted talk by Jill Bolte Taylor which sums it up better than I do here... xxx

  16. I'm so glad you posted this. I love it when people are honest about feeling bad - if more people were then we wouldn't all feel such pressure to pretend everything's ok. Hope you're feeling better now.
    A big bowl of pasta followed by tea and chocolate is, in my opinion, the perfect meal when I'm depressed.

  17. I too suffer from feelings like this (in fact, I actually think that everyone does particularly those of us who read blogs and can't help but feel envy at the perfect lives depicted in them!)
    I think Linda's advice about taking time to rest and focus on yourself is good and we should all follow it

    But instead of focussing on what you don't have, think about all that you do. You've achieved so much and have reached so many people. As I write this, your pavlova is baking in my oven and I'm about to make your salted caramel to go on top. How cool is that?

  18. Dear MsML, Awww, guess we all have times when we feel quite unhappy with life and think that's quite reasonable. You've done some amazing things though- you should have a read back over some of your own blog posts. Not sure I can offer much advice (apart from the fact that long term happiness does not lie in eating a large bowl of crisps- I have been previously misguided in this belief). But reckon you could do with a bit of break and maybe some sunshine somewhere nice.

    But this post does really emphasise why yours isn't just another food blog. I really appreciate your ability to be so genine and honest (and still funny).

    I also have your book, and it is bloody lovely! Ixx

  19. thanks so much for your heart warming comments. I can stop being Mrs Unreasonably Angry (it'll probably come back again tho)

  20. Hi Ms Marmitelover

    I check in on your blog fairly regularly as it is attached to my favourites. I am looking forward to receiving your book in the post as I ordered it this week. I enjoy cookbooks, and look forward to delving into yours as I enjoy reading your words... not to mention your recipes.


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