Tag Archives: eating healthily;


I’ve never been a great fan of fish.

I don’t mean that I’m averse to them as pets. Just as there is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England, there is one corner of the Tingarden that is forever Fishland, final resting place of a series of watery pets who briefly shared our home, swimming around their tank trying to figure out why there was a small castle in it.

No, I mean that I’m not wild about eating fish. Apart from the fact that it smells of, well, fish, it is full of bones. Mean nasty little ones that get caught between your teeth, vicious needle-like ones that force themselves into the top of your gum, big ugly feckers that get caught in your throat. Fish is food that fights back, and I’ve never found that the taste is worth the trouble.

Remember, no-one has ever choked on a McNugget bone.

The widespread belief that fish makes you brainier is one of the great triumphs of clever marketing, since all evidence suggests that fish themselves have no brains at all. All that most people know about marine psychology is that goldfish have a three-second attention span, though in fairness I would question how scientists actually know this.

Mrs Tin, though, is an enthusiastic fish-eater and never gives up trying to convert me. So it was that yesterday I heard the familiar dreaded sound of fish hitting frying-pan, that hissing sound that always reminds me of listening to my grandad’s old 78s. I sighed and moved towards the cooker, trying to establish which branch, if that’s the right word, of the fish family I was to be subjected to.

The fish spat in my eye.

Ok, it didn’t, a spurt of fat or oil or whatever it is fish is cooked in leapt out of the pan, but the stinging, smarting, eye-watering effect was the same.

I’d like to stress at this point how concerned Mrs Tin was about my well-being. I’d like to, but I can’t, because once she established that I wasn’t actually blind she just fell about laughing.

We have a saying here when something is moderately good: “well, it’s better than a slap in the belly with a wet fish.”

Well believe me, having a fish spit at you isn’t.

Potato Salad

The pencil-slim young wans that I work with are forever slagging my diet, if diet is not too kind a word for it.

My lunch does tend to consist each day of a relatively unadventurous sandwich, but anyone listening to them would think that I exist on lard, deep-fried in batter. They verbally finger-wag me with phrases like “balance”, “food-pyramid”, and, of course, “five-a-day”.

Apparently I am doomed because I do not eat five helpings of fruit or vegetables each day. The fact that the Eskimos have survived for thousands of years without easy access to either of these does not seem to invalidate this argument.

And, if I do try, it seems that I do it wrong. I proudly pointed out one day that something I was eating had chickpeas in it. It seems that these are “pulses”, and therefore do not count. No, I don’t understand that either.

In case you wish to measure your own fruitandvegginess, the following items are also among the list of Things That Do Not Count:

  • A Terry’s Chocolate Orange;
  • Potato Crisps;
  • Listening to the Black-eyed Peas;
  • Cranberry Bacardi Breezer;
  • Blowing someone a raspberry;
  • Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles;
  • Having a category on your blog called “The Banana Republic”;
  • Wine (although grapes count, wine – i.e., grapes evolved into a higher life-form – apparently doesn’t);
  • Owning an Apple Mac;
  • Jelly beans;
  • Taking a leek (sorry);
  • Watching old Bond films, directed by Cubby Broccoli;
  • Smoking. Although tobacco is a plant, and you are consuming its leaves, seemingly this does not count as twenty of your five a day;
  • Kissing a strawberry blonde.

In other words, anything that might be fun.