By now I loathed cooking. From the moment I walked into the kitchen I’d be on Red Alert. The slightest creak on the staircase and I’d throw the mince, tomatoes or whatever into the chopped onion which I’d dared to fry in oil. I’d stir vigorously to remove any sign of oil and then stir it again before I served it to make sure the oil was still invisible. And all the time I’d pretend to be acting normally. Sometimes I’d even find myself nervously humming songs in a bid to distract Ben from what was going on in the kitchen. At Christmas 2009 I remember singing Winter Wonderland over and over again until I was sick to death of it.
I’d keep "contraband" like extra cheese or whatever hidden away in strange places like in the oven, ready to slip into the mix as soon as the Food Policeman was back upstairs, my body ramrod straight with tension in case I was found out - frantically tasting the food to make sure the extra ingredients weren’t detectable. If in doubt, I didn’t add anything.
"You deceived me!" Ben interrupted. I was well aware this was the first time I'd confessed to adding extra stuff to my cooking. Not that I felt he ever really needed to know. However, because knew that Ben would be reading my book anyway, I decided I might as well risk coming clean.
"Yes, I admit I did do this back then," I responded. "What mother wouldn't? Heck, Ben, you were falling off a cliff at a rate of knots - I was fighting to save your life. I'd have done anything to save you. All parents would do it. You'd do it if you were a parent, I guarantee it."
"But I thought I could trust you."
"You could and can trust me, Ben, and you know that. But back then, during the early stages when you lost a quarter of your body weight in a couple of months, I was terrified that the anorexia would destroy you. It would have been negligent of me to sit there and do nothing."
So it was a difficult one, confessing to the "sin" of adding extra cheese, oil or whatever to the recipe.
But I think Ben understands why I did it.