The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental!

Yes! I believe in the sentimental value of food and I am ready to spill the beans and share something personal. Yes! I’ll expand on this at the risk of causing shock. After all, as Cicero said as the Senate watched in horror that there was pineapple on his pizza, de gustibus non est disputandum (in matters of taste there can be no dispute).

So, here is my personal achievements montage sequence: six years old, 16 cups of my mother’s avgolemoni, a salt bomb with extra-extra lemon; 26 years old, sunrise, mountain balcony, unique sounds of rustling leaves, little birds and my sucking kisses on my grandmother’s snails, cooked by my aunt, a Karpass speciality with pumpkin and tomato; 32 years old, a watermelon plus one piece of goat’s halloumi, beach, feet in the sea… 45 years old, a quality upgrade, midnight, tiny, lean and tightly-folded Cypriot stuffed vine leaves aka koupepia, dipped in a certain irresistible and famous praline spread, location over the pot, an accidental discovery, happened on while I was transferring my fave dish into a container, while the chocolate spread was in my mouth.

As an honorary member of the Spoon Lovers, a soup club I founded, I remember Roman-symposium-type evenings with honourable besties preparing and consuming all varieties of soup, broth and consommé: onion soup, pumpkin soup, pea and bacon soup, decorated with chillies, sour cream, melted cheese and deep-fried croutons.

Last but not least, a childhood vice that to this day still entices me more than anything else is going to bed with a tiny piece of silky English chocolate – the one with hazelnut and caramel inside – in my cheek.

Gone, forgotten. Not a child anymore, no longer a rebellious youth. I climbed up the menopause Kilimanjaro and won a promotion: Oh yes! The fresh hell of a 50-year-old. And as they say… one bad thing leads to another. The party ended, the lights went out and I was left with KitKat’s silver underwear in my hand, standing in a deserted ballroom screaming:

Alas! I can NO longer eat whatever I like!

So there, halfway through, it’s time to confess: I did not throw that 50th birthday bash, I had a colonoscopy! I was drugged in a fetal position having a tube inserted back there as they lowered another one out of my mouth. My most loyal mistresses – sugar, gin & tonic (and a slice of pink grapefruit please) and those spicy BBQ ribs – were nothing but harlots, conspiring with stress and unbalanced cortisol. Just when I needed cuddling… they devoured me. I went to the doctor!

– No more, sugar, dairy, cigarettes, alcohol!

– What are you talking about, bro. Why don’t you euthanise me instead?

– I won’t have to! Apparently, you’re doing just fine on your own.

And just like that, Hippocrates demolished my gourmet lifestyle.

So, what’s left now? Where will I find happiness in the next 50 years? How can my gluttonous proclivities be satisfied? What could possibly replace the joy and humour of a late-night ice-cream spree, the comfort of mixed kebab and a cola?

Ah yes, inner peace.