Lately, whenever I try to look at anything on the internet – user reviews for TV shows I find confusing because of the plot holes and missing third act (it turns out everyone else is as confused as I am. Note to TV writers: It’s not us, it’s you); pictures of baby goats in pyjamas; highbrow leftie op-eds; porn in the old fashioned sense, preferably not involving step family – I have to scroll through food porn ads featuring a bunch of pictures like this.
And then, before I can even get to the baby goats in pyjamas or the porn stars shedding pyjamas or the attempt to rationalise what just didn’t happen on Doctor Who or the incisive rant about why Trump is a dickhead or . . . *insert attempt to distract self from the overwhelming meaninglessness of existence here*, I accidentally click on the thing while trying to scroll down and get taken to a page full of this:
GLAMOUROUS 1950s SEXY COOKING – OOOOO!
Married Mother of Five, Still Sexually Appealing Mrs Phyllis Dillis’ Easy Recipes for the Home Gourmet
Hi! I’m Phyllis! I first started cooking at home when I was retrenched from my job as Head Bitch at *evil multinational company X* in 2015, and quickly discovered that the best way to stop my emotionally alienated children from hating me was to stuff them full of sugar and fat.
So, I cracked out my grandmother’s recipes from the 50s and now I cook stupid things at home ALL THE DAMNED TIME! And that means I’m important.
You too can make stupid shit at home, and then leave comments beneath the recipe about why you now worship me as a goddess forsaking all others. For I am a jealous goddess.
First, though, you have to read through this lengthy description of my health problems (no idea why that’s become an issue lately), and why my son Aquila Tarquinius who is gifted according to his parole officer LOVES this recipe for battered deep fried chocolate lard.
COOKING NOTE: My husband and I like to drip the melted chocolate all over each other’s bodies as part of the cooking process, and then invite the neighbours in to lick it off. That won’t work for you, because you’re ugly. But you might like thinking about it as you weep gently into the bain marie contemplating your own hideousness while you stir.
Oh, and if I haven’t worked this phrase in yet: 1950s housewife.
I kind of get why this is a thing. Sugar and fat are pretty appealing. Somehow, combining the two at home rather than going out and paying someone to do it makes the result seem nutritious; therefore, naughty and sexy without being fattening. Nostalgia for what we think of as a simpler time is also fun. And all those 1950s housewives in the pictures are smiling, aren’t they? And kind of hot? They must’ve been healthy and having great sex all the time!
Yeah well, guess what. The 50s sucked. Ask anyone who was actually alive for them. And those 1950s housewives smiling in the ads? They weren’t really 1950s housewives. They were professional models. Of course those women are skinny and smiling. They’re all cute for a living, eighteen years old, and doped up to the eyeballs on amphetamines and cocaine – probably prescribed by a doctor (OK, so the 50s weren’t all bad). That lady in the adorable green and white check pictured above is so off her face, she doesn’t even realise she’s holding a stick of butter. She thinks it’s a teleportation device to a happy universe made entirely of gingham curtains.
If drooling over pictures of dumb food and reading self-satisfied testimonials about how awesome and attractive the maker is is your escape from reality, that is absolutely fine. True, if that applies to you I think you’re probably quite unhinged and need to make some real friends who aren’t just bots on Twitter. But my unkind judgments of you and your lifestyle choices aren’t things you need to worry about. Our chances of ever meeting socially are staggeringly low.
What we all need to keep in mind though about this trend: For fuck’s sake, people! This shit is REALLY BAD for you!
You know why your Nanna, who really was a 1950s housewife, lived into her 90s? It’s not because she inhaled cream puffs filled with brandied mascarpone every two hours. It’s because she worked her arse off her whole life doing physical labour, and then when she got older she started making healthier food choices. You know why she looks hot in those old photos of her with your mum or dad when they were little? It’s because people married young back then, and she was in her mid twenties. Everyone looks hot in their mid twenties. No one thinks they do, which is cruel, but they do.
So if you’re not in your twenties, going anywhere near something called “twice-drizzled caramel saffron buttered pancakes with créme Grand Marnier” for breakfast is a truly awful idea. Two days of that, and your loved ones will find you face down in a mess of exploded arteries with Grand Marnier-flavoured cholesterol dripping from your hair.
Sometimes-food, people. Sometimes-food.
It’s difficult to wean off the fat-sugar-sexy nostalgia combination. It’s pretty dynamite. It’s an appealing package that comprises the exact opposite to all the things we hate about having to be here – not-fat, not-sugar, and our own immensely disappointing lifetimes.
Fortunately, there is a solution.
Every time you find yourself hovering over a page of smug food porn, open a new window. It’s OK. You don’t have to close the page even. You can do it.
Then, I want you to look up something awesome.
Something that will make you feel joy. Something that has nothing to do with food or how boring life is. Something that will make you forget all about it.
Something like this.
You will never need to look at a photoshopped image of something called a “sauteed icecream and cheese-stick pizza” ever again.