I caught myself with this the other day and it set in motion a chain of emotions so toxic I feel that, although I need the best help money can buy, this is the only therapy I can really afford.


By day I work in the public sector, dotting ‘I’s and crossing ‘T’s until the allocated finish time, by night I go to the pub in order to forget the dimly lit date with myself that will follow. And so, I expect, the cycle will repeat to a regular tick and tock of an alarm clock, until I have the funds to put myself on a mortgage I’ll never be able to afford or pay off. Tick tock.
You may notice that only a knife lies between the potato and the abyss. Closer inspection might reveal that, beneath the thick, leathery skin, lies a bitter, chewy and tasteless interior that the second-hand microwave I scraped my savings together for could only dream of getting at.

This can sustain me because I have no hunger or desire to grow or improve in any way.


A meagre potato is all the company I need. 

Will this be enough for the rest of my life?

 Will I ever shake off this ennui and learn to want again?

I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answer. That’s probably because, at root, I don’t even know the question.

Help me.

Alex



There are many people out there tormented by their grim and unrewarding lives, who long to break free from the chains of a cruelly indifferent capitalist society but are sadly all too aware that the best the world can currently offer them as a fighting champion against the robber barons is Russell Brand. Russell Brand.
I get many letters from people in the grips of various existential crises. 
Some look at the heap of carrots sitting on their chopping board waiting to be sliced and diced, only to pause and say “Why bother? We’re all doomed to die alone, is cutting my vegetables really going to help?”.
Others spend several hours reading about quinoa and come away questioning whether their lives have any purpose, or if they are in fact the victim of a global conspiracy to make them feel like an uncultured fool.
So many questions that we’ll spend our whole lives trying to figure out, hoping against hope we’ll make some sort of psychic breakthrough and that everything will fall miraculously into place.
Unfortunately, to paraphrase the great Roddy Piper, just when we think we’ve got the answers somebody changes the questions.

I caught myself with this the other day and it set in motion a chain of emotions so toxic I feel that, although I need the best help money can buy, this is the only therapy I can really afford.

By day I work in the public sector, dotting ‘I’s and crossing ‘T’s until the allocated finish time, by night I go to the pub in order to forget the dimly lit date with myself that will follow. And so, I expect, the cycle will repeat to a regular tick and tock of an alarm clock, until I have the funds to put myself on a mortgage I’ll never be able to afford or pay off. Tick tock.
You may notice that only a knife lies between the potato and the abyss. Closer inspection might reveal that, beneath the thick, leathery skin, lies a bitter, chewy and tasteless interior that the second-hand microwave I scraped my savings together for could only dream of getting at.
This can sustain me because I have no hunger or desire to grow or improve in any way.
A meagre potato is all the company I need.
Will this be enough for the rest of my life?
Will I ever shake off this ennui and learn to want again?
I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answer. That’s probably because, at root, I don’t even know the question.
Help me.

There are many people out there tormented by their grim and unrewarding lives, who long to break free from the chains of a cruelly indifferent capitalist society but are sadly all too aware that the best the world can currently offer them as a fighting champion against the robber barons is Russell Brand. Russell Brand.

I get many letters from people in the grips of various existential crises. 

Some look at the heap of carrots sitting on their chopping board waiting to be sliced and diced, only to pause and say “Why bother? We’re all doomed to die alone, is cutting my vegetables really going to help?”.

Others spend several hours reading about quinoa and come away questioning whether their lives have any purpose, or if they are in fact the victim of a global conspiracy to make them feel like an uncultured fool.

So many questions that we’ll spend our whole lives trying to figure out, hoping against hope we’ll make some sort of psychic breakthrough and that everything will fall miraculously into place.

Unfortunately, to paraphrase the great Roddy Piper, just when we think we’ve got the answers somebody changes the questions.

A paralysing fear of change has meant I’ve never spent much time away from the small town I live in.
New experiences fill me dread, even positive ones like moving out of the flat in which a constant stream water pissed out of the ceiling and into my kitchen every time my upstairs neighbour had a bath. 
I’ve never lived in the ‘big smoke’ which is what old people used to call London. I visited once or twice, but not being a fan of living statues and having panic attacks on the tube I haven’t been in a while.
Luckily the place I live has prohibitively high rents and becomes unbearably full of tourists every summer. So I feel I get a lot of the London experience without having to uproot my life in vague pursuit of having the sort of life a distant part of me wishes I’d had the courage to pursue in my twenties. 
Emma is altogether a braver soul. But she is also eating egg and ketchup for dinner, so I’d think carefully before running off to that London and being a brave fool.
"It was a choice between living in zone 6 off salmon and goats cheese dinners every night, or living in Fulham and eating eggs and ketchup packets until I won the ‘reduced to clear’ lottery.
It’s OK though, last night I made a smiley face in my dinner to soothe the malnourishment and discontent. 
When I burst that egg, it’s yolky tears of joy reminded me that at least this chicken was born free (range).”

A paralysing fear of change has meant I’ve never spent much time away from the small town I live in.

New experiences fill me dread, even positive ones like moving out of the flat in which a constant stream water pissed out of the ceiling and into my kitchen every time my upstairs neighbour had a bath. 

I’ve never lived in the ‘big smoke’ which is what old people used to call London. I visited once or twice, but not being a fan of living statues and having panic attacks on the tube I haven’t been in a while.

Luckily the place I live has prohibitively high rents and becomes unbearably full of tourists every summer. So I feel I get a lot of the London experience without having to uproot my life in vague pursuit of having the sort of life a distant part of me wishes I’d had the courage to pursue in my twenties. 

Emma is altogether a braver soul. But she is also eating egg and ketchup for dinner, so I’d think carefully before running off to that London and being a brave fool.

"It was a choice between living in zone 6 off salmon and goats cheese dinners every night, or living in Fulham and eating eggs and ketchup packets until I won the ‘reduced to clear’ lottery.

It’s OK though, last night I made a smiley face in my dinner to soothe the malnourishment and discontent. 

When I burst that egg, it’s yolky tears of joy reminded me that at least this chicken was born free (range).”

Stephen’s third disciplinary proved to be his last, the generous pay off he received allowing him to be something of a man of leisure.
Days which had previously been filled in the fulfilling pursuit of customer service excellence were now spent watching reruns of Top Gear and making nuisance phone calls to the women’s  gym across the road.
Stephen had rekindled old relationships with the racist American teenagers he played Call of Duty with over his patchy broadband connection, but he couldn’t help but miss the bawdy office banter. The bawdy office banter of which he was the sole instigator.
Though his constant innuendos and failure to respect personal space had cost him his lucrative telesales job, Stephen was a slave to the banter.
Finding someone with which to indulge his debilitating vice, however, proved to be a challenge.
The post office stopped knocking on his door, preferring to leave his parcels in the rain rather than run the risk  of a prolonged and uncomfortable conversation.
His local newsagent stop stocking ‘lads’ mags in an attempt to deter him from standing around and leering. Eventually even the charity shop where he volunteered decided to relocate to the other side of town, neglecting to tell Stephen in the process.
Finally, thirsting for ribaldry in any shape or form and receiving no reinforcement, positive or negative, Stephen was forced to take desperate measures. He began making inappropriate remarks to the haunted reflection in the bathroom mirror, sending lewd text messages to his own phone, and sexually harassing himself via food with a crudely spunking breaded sausage cock.
This proved to be the final indignity for Stephen. He disappeared without a trace shortly after watching a Dapper Laughs video on Youtube.
Some say that as he boarded the last banterbus into the sunset his eyes were bleeding tears of pure undiluted laddishness. Others whispered that perhaps he was off to spread word of the presence of a new messiah among overcompensating men, a permatanned prince of patter ready to share the sacrament of the frozen-meal-that-did-look-quite-like-a-penis.

Stephen’s third disciplinary proved to be his last, the generous pay off he received allowing him to be something of a man of leisure.

Days which had previously been filled in the fulfilling pursuit of customer service excellence were now spent watching reruns of Top Gear and making nuisance phone calls to the women’s  gym across the road.

Stephen had rekindled old relationships with the racist American teenagers he played Call of Duty with over his patchy broadband connection, but he couldn’t help but miss the bawdy office banter. The bawdy office banter of which he was the sole instigator.

Though his constant innuendos and failure to respect personal space had cost him his lucrative telesales job, Stephen was a slave to the banter.

Finding someone with which to indulge his debilitating vice, however, proved to be a challenge.

The post office stopped knocking on his door, preferring to leave his parcels in the rain rather than run the risk  of a prolonged and uncomfortable conversation.

His local newsagent stop stocking ‘lads’ mags in an attempt to deter him from standing around and leering. Eventually even the charity shop where he volunteered decided to relocate to the other side of town, neglecting to tell Stephen in the process.

Finally, thirsting for ribaldry in any shape or form and receiving no reinforcement, positive or negative, Stephen was forced to take desperate measures. He began making inappropriate remarks to the haunted reflection in the bathroom mirror, sending lewd text messages to his own phone, and sexually harassing himself via food with a crudely spunking breaded sausage cock.

This proved to be the final indignity for Stephen. He disappeared without a trace shortly after watching a Dapper Laughs video on Youtube.

Some say that as he boarded the last banterbus into the sunset his eyes were bleeding tears of pure undiluted laddishness. Others whispered that perhaps he was off to spread word of the presence of a new messiah among overcompensating men, a permatanned prince of patter ready to share the sacrament of the frozen-meal-that-did-look-quite-like-a-penis.

Every now and then you need some respite from the misery. Kirstyn Byrne has done some wonderful work encouraging students on a budget not to follow me down the route of malnutrition and debt.

Check out some ideas for meals on a budget that don’t rely on stealing your flatmate’s cheese.

The other day I found out that this humble tumblr had made it in to Dutch food magazine Elle Eten’s Top 100 food trends. My Dutch is pretty much non-existent but from the preview they sent me it seems I made #91 in the list, just below designer coffee flasks, one space above cooking sausages on an open fire. 
Obviously this is very exciting. I’ve long suspected this blog was marginally better than a piece of pork skewered on a stick dancing in the naked flames of a Dutch campfire. Luckily this has now been confirmed for me in print.
Someone who might feel differently about this media recognition is Raymond.
Raymond sent in this picture of his lonely bachelor meal with a note, the despair therein truly palpable.
I wasn’t sure about this blog for a long time because it seemed like it was reasonably popular. Now that the corpse seems to be going through it’s final twitches I feel it’s time to share my food with you. I couldn’t stand to see my words twisted against me by some trendy social media site.
I don’t want any silly stories made up about it. I don’t want you to try and find ever more elaborate ways of saying that this food looks like a plate of sick. We both know it looks worse than that.
 I want you to feel my pain. I try and try and try but nothing ever turns out right. I mashed the tomatoes as hard as I could. I cooked the living hell out of these eggs. I spent over an hour and a half making something Jamie Oliver had told me would take fifteen minutes.
I have no fancy crockery to eat from. Not even a big blue plate. I had a housemate and a lover and they took my dishes from me when they left. I am a shell of a human being reduced to eating off of old polystyrene plates leftover from my thirty ninth birthday party.  
Raymond, brother, it’s okay. I feel your pain. There will be no silly stories today, only respectful silence and a mute acknowledgement of the terrible self-inflicted agony your cookery skills have brought you.

The other day I found out that this humble tumblr had made it in to Dutch food magazine Elle Eten’s Top 100 food trends. My Dutch is pretty much non-existent but from the preview they sent me it seems I made #91 in the list, just below designer coffee flasks, one space above cooking sausages on an open fire. 

Obviously this is very exciting. I’ve long suspected this blog was marginally better than a piece of pork skewered on a stick dancing in the naked flames of a Dutch campfire. Luckily this has now been confirmed for me in print.

Someone who might feel differently about this media recognition is Raymond.

Raymond sent in this picture of his lonely bachelor meal with a note, the despair therein truly palpable.

I wasn’t sure about this blog for a long time because it seemed like it was reasonably popular. Now that the corpse seems to be going through it’s final twitches I feel it’s time to share my food with you. I couldn’t stand to see my words twisted against me by some trendy social media site.

I don’t want any silly stories made up about it. I don’t want you to try and find ever more elaborate ways of saying that this food looks like a plate of sick. We both know it looks worse than that.

I want you to feel my pain. I try and try and try but nothing ever turns out right. I mashed the tomatoes as hard as I could. I cooked the living hell out of these eggs. I spent over an hour and a half making something Jamie Oliver had told me would take fifteen minutes.

I have no fancy crockery to eat from. Not even a big blue plate. I had a housemate and a lover and they took my dishes from me when they left. I am a shell of a human being reduced to eating off of old polystyrene plates leftover from my thirty ninth birthday party.  

Raymond, brother, it’s okay. I feel your pain. There will be no silly stories today, only respectful silence and a mute acknowledgement of the terrible self-inflicted agony your cookery skills have brought you.

These arresting images are the product of Hans, a young vegan cook on an ongoing quest to educate and inform their rapidly dwindling audience of facebook friends on the finer points of cruelty free dining.

Hans has been posting up his top vegan eats on social media along with other classic animal rights slogans and picture memes.

Current favourites of Hans include: 

Meat Stinks and so does your face , Tofu doesn’t scream when you rip it away from it’s new born child and the infamous photo of Morrissey onstage in Hamburg applying a rear naked choke hold to Ronald McDonald captioned This is for the baby cows you nasty red nonce.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what exactly these hessian sacks full of shite were meant to be. 

Could they be bread? A couple of vegetable kievs? A pair of rugby balls made from tightly packed quinoa, suitable for an all vegan XV?

I finally decided they were in fact replicas of the alien pods from that classic Billy Crystals movie, the name of which escapes me and which I just can’t seem to find perusing Billy’s long list of fine credits on IMDB.

You know the one. It’s where the aliens crash their cocoons into an old man’s swimming people. The old man and his old people friends swim with the cocoons and drain their lifeforce, becoming incredibly horny in the process. The cocoons then decide they’ve had enough of being cocoon shaped viagra for Wilfred Brimley and then return to their cocoon planet with a bunch of the silver shaggers in tow.

Pretty sure it was called Splash! now that I think of it. Yep, they’re the cocoons from Splash! done vegan style. 

Top work Hans, you clever boy.

Let me give you my heart.
It’s covered in barbecue sauce and scabs and I’m serving it on a plate of cheese and onion crisps.
Look at my square blue plate and matching placemat.
They’re a soft baby blue, the colour of the romper suit you were wearing in those old photographs of family Christmases gone by, when everyone was happily drunk and still speaking to one another.
I know you won’t ever read this, you’re off enjoying crisps in new exotic locales.
They probably don’t even call them crisps where you are now, they call them chips, or chunks, or pomme de terre croustillante.
The people there smile and don’t bring you down by talking about how much they hate their jobs and how Alan in finance has a personal vendetta against them and they’re really unhappy that they’re starting to go bald and they’re only thirty.
No. They don’t do that there.
So I guess I’ll eat my heart alone, again (naturally).

Let me give you my heart.

It’s covered in barbecue sauce and scabs and I’m serving it on a plate of cheese and onion crisps.

Look at my square blue plate and matching placemat.

They’re a soft baby blue, the colour of the romper suit you were wearing in those old photographs of family Christmases gone by, when everyone was happily drunk and still speaking to one another.

I know you won’t ever read this, you’re off enjoying crisps in new exotic locales.

They probably don’t even call them crisps where you are now, they call them chips, or chunks, or pomme de terre croustillante.

The people there smile and don’t bring you down by talking about how much they hate their jobs and how Alan in finance has a personal vendetta against them and they’re really unhappy that they’re starting to go bald and they’re only thirty.

No. They don’t do that there.

So I guess I’ll eat my heart alone, again (naturally).

A tall stack of psychedelic pancakes please.
Make them a shade of pink so revoltingly bright that when I blink it feels as if the interior of my cranium has been renovated to resemble Barbie’s Dreamhouse.
Then throw some sprinkles on it yeah?
Another thing, bit of a strange request, but do you reckon that instead of, say on at table with a knife and fork, you could serve it to me on the grass somewhere at the bottom of your garden? Near a faerie ring or a magic looking toadstool if poss.
Ideally I’d like to dress up in my stripey neon knee high socks and sneak up on it through the undergrowth like I’m some sort of inquisitive acid washed woodland creature and devour it by surprise.
Brilliant, so you’ll be able to accommodate me this afternoon?
Fantastic, and I’m assuming you’ve still got a waiting staff of pixies, imps, and elves who’ll be able to spoon feed this into my mouth right?
Lovely stuff.

A tall stack of psychedelic pancakes please.

Make them a shade of pink so revoltingly bright that when I blink it feels as if the interior of my cranium has been renovated to resemble Barbie’s Dreamhouse.

Then throw some sprinkles on it yeah?

Another thing, bit of a strange request, but do you reckon that instead of, say on at table with a knife and fork, you could serve it to me on the grass somewhere at the bottom of your garden? Near a faerie ring or a magic looking toadstool if poss.

Ideally I’d like to dress up in my stripey neon knee high socks and sneak up on it through the undergrowth like I’m some sort of inquisitive acid washed woodland creature and devour it by surprise.

Brilliant, so you’ll be able to accommodate me this afternoon?

Fantastic, and I’m assuming you’ve still got a waiting staff of pixies, imps, and elves who’ll be able to spoon feed this into my mouth right?

Lovely stuff.

In your own small way you’re trying to make the world a more beautiful place whilst simultaneously expressing a hazy message about the duality of man via a plate of cold sliced beef and plain white rice.
Then you went and smeared your chutney right in the middle of it all and now it looks kind of like how I imagine a tapir’s dilated anus might look prior to delivering a fibrous dump to the floor of a South American jungle.

In your own small way you’re trying to make the world a more beautiful place whilst simultaneously expressing a hazy message about the duality of man via a plate of cold sliced beef and plain white rice.

Then you went and smeared your chutney right in the middle of it all and now it looks kind of like how I imagine a tapir’s dilated anus might look prior to delivering a fibrous dump to the floor of a South American jungle.

"This was supposed to be a super fancy (for college dorm eating) pear grilled cheese… I would have been better off going to the dining hall."
People often accuse me of being relentlessly negative and completely miserable, but I like to think that my ability to delude myself with blinkered positive thinking is just as well developed as anyone else.
With that in mind I’d like to try and put a more flattering spin on this submission.
It’s not a carbonised hunk of cheese, it’s a culinary tribute to the great Canadian pastime Ice Hockey.
You’ve painstakingly carried out a series of chemical processes on that piece of cheese and now it’s a semi-edible puck. All you need now is a mullet and a propensity for extreme violence and you’re golden.
There, it’s no longer bad student cooking- it’s bad molecular gastronomy with a tenuous hockey theme.
You’ve gone from failed collegiate cook to Heston Blumenthal in no time at all.

"This was supposed to be a super fancy (for college dorm eating) pear grilled cheese… I would have been better off going to the dining hall."

People often accuse me of being relentlessly negative and completely miserable, but I like to think that my ability to delude myself with blinkered positive thinking is just as well developed as anyone else.

With that in mind I’d like to try and put a more flattering spin on this submission.

It’s not a carbonised hunk of cheese, it’s a culinary tribute to the great Canadian pastime Ice Hockey.

You’ve painstakingly carried out a series of chemical processes on that piece of cheese and now it’s a semi-edible puck. All you need now is a mullet and a propensity for extreme violence and you’re golden.

There, it’s no longer bad student cooking- it’s bad molecular gastronomy with a tenuous hockey theme.

You’ve gone from failed collegiate cook to Heston Blumenthal in no time at all.

'Yum' says Joe, 'yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.'
Joe has baked himself a pie to celebrate his three year anniversary with himself. 
It was way back in 2011 that Joe realised he’d been looking for love in all the wrong places. Going out, pretending to be interested in other people, talking about his hobbies less for the sake of ‘conversation’- none of these had brought him any joy, not compared to the pleasure of a sixteen hour Skyrim binge fueled by his favourite energy drink Pegasus Juice.
Joe reflects on these three years he’s spent with himself, they’re the happiest in his life. Joe doesn’t have to worry about saying something insensitive and upsetting himself, he never has to visit his in-laws (or mum and dad as he calls them) if he doesn’t feel up to it, and he’s never met a lover who knew him more completely.
One slight problem, though, Joe isn’t overly fond of pastry.
He tells himself he’ll try to remember this, but every year it’s the same pie for their special meal. It’s not a big thing, the filling is always tasty, but he is wondering if this could be the sign that there’s trouble in paradise…

'Yum' says Joe, 'yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.'

Joe has baked himself a pie to celebrate his three year anniversary with himself. 

It was way back in 2011 that Joe realised he’d been looking for love in all the wrong places. Going out, pretending to be interested in other people, talking about his hobbies less for the sake of ‘conversation’- none of these had brought him any joy, not compared to the pleasure of a sixteen hour Skyrim binge fueled by his favourite energy drink Pegasus Juice.

Joe reflects on these three years he’s spent with himself, they’re the happiest in his life. Joe doesn’t have to worry about saying something insensitive and upsetting himself, he never has to visit his in-laws (or mum and dad as he calls them) if he doesn’t feel up to it, and he’s never met a lover who knew him more completely.

One slight problem, though, Joe isn’t overly fond of pastry.

He tells himself he’ll try to remember this, but every year it’s the same pie for their special meal. It’s not a big thing, the filling is always tasty, but he is wondering if this could be the sign that there’s trouble in paradise…