My stomach is rumbling. I hear a light gurgling sound, feel a vague tingling sensation. At first glance, one might think that I’m simply hungry. But in truth it’s stage fright, since I have to go grocery shopping in a bit.
Sometimes I dream that avocados are chasing me. Like pimply, black-green hand grenades, they lurch towards me by the dozens, while I scamper away, a forbidden bag of chips in my hand. Sometimes I am attacked by eggplant bludgeons in my sleep as well, or fired at with rhubarb stalks sharpened to a point. Perhaps, I think to myself in the morning when I wake up from a food nightmare soaked in sweat, I’ve really spent a little too much time over the last few weeks focusing on nutrition.
But that should come as no surprise: Never before have people defined themselves, and others, so much based on what they eat, on what things they allow to enter their bodies. Nutrition has never been such a big status symbol and at the same time so terribly complicated: Healthy, regional, seasonal, gluten-free, vegan, alkaline, harvested under a full moon, genetically compatible – first you have to manage all that, ideally in that combination. Whenever I went grocery shopping at the store around the corner, I used to only throw food in my basket that would cast me in a radiant light as a consumer. The other customers who took a peek at my basket as they passed ought to look at me in wonder: Almond milk? Quinoa? Psyllium husks? Wow, this woman is a nutrition goddess!
I used to be a dreaded shopping cart gawker myself. If I ran into an acquaintance at the grocery store, I would immediately stare flagrantly into their basket and start my analysis scan: Strikingly large quantities of chocolate and a bottle of booze? Oh no, the poor thing was probably just dumped. If I spied vanilla ice cream, orange juice and vodka, on the other hand, the ingredients for the punch bowl all too familiar to me from my college days, I quickly deduced: Someone is planning a party here, and I wasn’t invited! Scandalous! I could have been an exceptional detective. One who solved her cases based solely on the consumption habits of the suspects.
Every evening as I cook a wholesome, albeit – just between you and me – joyless, meal with my exemplary groceries, I dream of driving to a remote store where nobody knew me. I would fill my shopping cart with extra-fatty mascarpone and caramel popcorn. Maybe I would even buy one of those yucky, shrink-wrapped cutlets in aspic. Because I’m a vegetarian, I’d probably have to dispose of the evidence in a random neighbor’s mailbox. No one would suspect me. After all, I only eat flaxseed and stalks of celery; you can ask anyone at my grocery store.
born in 1973, journalist, avowed trash TV fan, and huge animal lover. She works as a freelance author for SPON, SPEX and SZ-Magazin, among others. Her favorite pastime, however, is venturing out into the world and watching exotic animals. She lives in Berlin with her dog Juri.