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We’ve always had a funny, and somewhat fraught, relationship with food, my family and I. It probably started when we were kids and couldn’t really eat anything – food allergies back in the day were tricky to manage and The Mom was taking no chances: we’d get invited somewhere where there might be food, and we’d go along with a bag of prepared snacks, and instructions on when to administer said snacks. I believe we were also sent along with strict instructions to not diverge from the pre-prepared food items.

So it’s no surprise really that we have adopted this habit now that we’re older. Add to that the fact that we’re fussy and still have restricted diets to one degree or another: some things we just can’t eat, and then there are some things we won’t eat (you can always count on at least one vegetarian, and possibly a vegan to be counted amongst our lot).

I don’t always have time (or the inclination) to pack food when I get on a flight. If it’s just a little Squeezy Jet flight to somewhere in Europe, I tend not to bother. I eat something before I head out and then plan on eating once I’ve arrived. Unlke The Mom, I can go several hours without eating. I learned how to cope with being a bit hungry during the nasty Crohn’s flare I had when I was at home: eating just made me feel worse so I got used to the idea of not doing it too much. This has the added benefit of ensuring I won’t have to use the bathroom, mid-flight.

However, when I pack to fly back to Canada, I do try and bring something with me to eat, mostly because I know I will not want to eat whatever Air Canada’s serving. It’s almost always an early morning flight going west, so I get my traditional bacon roll and coffee at the airport and then, if there’s time (and that’s not a guarantee, and is completely dependent on how hungover I am when I get to Heathrow, and how late I’m running) I get some snacks when I buy my magazines.

It’s when I fly back to the UK that I’ve got a bag full of food on me. The Mom will kindly pack me a lunch for my flight – a nice homemade hamburger sometimes (that I don’t mind eating cold because it tastes like real food), or a sandwich, and sometimes pie (if there’s any left, which, with me in the house, is in no way a given). Why, just this past Christmas, The Mom even let me take one of her treasured bits of good tupperware back, such is her belief in the value of taking one’s own food.

The thing is, wherever I’m going will almost always have better food available than what’s on offer at my departure location. There are many lovely things about the UK, and the food is miles better now than it once was, but fresh fruits and veggies are still not quite up to the quality one might hope for, so it’s nice to arrive somewhere with a decent appetite. Especially at home in the summer, when I know The Mom will have a basket of peaches waiting for me.

Most of my chipmunk food hoarding/packing happens these days when my friend and I go for a long walk. We’ve taken to spending a weekend doing these walks, so on the first day we’re usually alright, having thought to bring some food from home for the journey. I’ve taken to travelling with a bag of dried apricots and some plain crackers. Honestly, I can walk 12 miles that day and want nothing more to eat. It’s the second day when we run into trouble, because the little village where our B&B is likely to be located probably doesn’t have a little shop in it where we can stock up. Leaving us at the mercy of whatever we can grab during breakfast. The Mom of course would be appalled at our lack of foresight and would probably fall down dead at the idea that we might only eat a muffin and pack of biscuits all day.

She is nothing if not constantly prepared to need a snack, The Mom, and I know that whenever we go out at home, there will be snacks in her car (they might not be fresh, but they’re there) and there’s probably some nuts or seeds in her purse too, if you look hard enough.

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