In theory, food writing is an aid or a prelude to actual meals: you read a recipe, and then you cook. In practice - in a 'paradox' that Michael Pollan, among others, has identified - our current gastronomic fantasies, particularly on TV, have coincided with a decline in home cooking.
One of the rudest things you can do, food-wise, is to stare at someone in the act of eating. It draws attention to the unseemly fact that eating is a bodily function - like animals, we are trapped by our hungers, but we do our best to disguise them with such civilized props as menus and forks.
The danger of growing up surrounded by endless sweet and salty industrial concoctions is not that we are innately incapable of resisting them but that the more frequently we eat them, especially in childhood, the more they train us to expect all food to taste this way.
I like quinoa. I like gingerbread. I feel they should be kept separate. I'm not in favor of this thing of making kind of raw, vegan chocolate cake and saying it's as good as chocolate cake. I mean, just eat cake and be done with it. And then have a separate meal of quinoa.
One thing I always make - and I'm sure this is partly to do with memory and yearning and because I've made it ever since my children were born - I make gingerbread every year. And it's partly just the perfume of the spices in the house, makes it smell like winter to me.
The more people get advised to eat vegetables, the less it seems they wish to eat them. And it is quite a natural response. So I've said that the main way that we get to like food is through being exposed to them, but there's a second condition. We have to be exposed to them without feeling any sense of coercion.
Protein, we keep being told, is the vital nutrient that will give us a boost. It will burn fat, build muscle, reduce tiredness and kill our hunger pangs. Maybe if we shake enough protein powder into our daily smoothie, we will actually morph into Gwyneth Paltrow.
In the right circumstances, I'm a big fan of eating alone. Often, on a Sunday evening, I go to a yoga class whose charm is largely that it gives me an alibi to avoid cooking family supper for once. I return to have boiled eggs and soldiers in silence with a book. Bliss.