I was watching a programme on TV the other night called 'Eataholics', a programme about people with severe food phobias and how they attempt to deal with them.
I am a big believer in the statement 'I never met a calorie I didn't like' so all food phobias are somewhat alien to me.
However, for the last 17 years of my life, I have been forced to live with the most irritating and inconvenient food phobia – my then boyfriend, now husband, will not eat onions.
Doesn't sound too bad does it? I certainly didn't think so at the start. I once dumped a previous boyfriend because he hated garlic. If I had realised the extent of Kevin's phobia earlier, then I would probably have done the same to him – harsh though it sounds.
Eating out is a pain
Eating out with my husband is an enormous challenge involving much grilling of the waiter before they even get close to grilling the main course.
And then there is always an anxious wait until the food actually arrives at the table. We have to be certain that no sneaky leeks have made their way into the dish, or that the garnish of the day which they forgot to tell us about isn't chopped spring onions.
But much worse is eating in
Have you ever tried cooking anything without onions? It's either impossible, inedible or totally bland and boring.
I come from the UK and our only contribution to the culinary heights is our stews and casseroles. All the recipes for which commence with 'slice up two onions and brown them off in a large pan'.
And if it's not casseroles, then it's onion gravy to go with our Toads in the Hole, pickled onions to go with our pork pies or an essential ingredient of our national dish – Chicken Tikka Masala. My entire culinary heritage – written off without even an onion-induced tear!
Luckily, I was hooked on other aspects of him...
By the time I discovered Kevin's loathing of onions, I was hooked on other aspects of him and so decided to give him a chance.
But since I now cook three different meals every night – one onion-free, one everything-except-fish fingers-free for my two-year old son and one normal meal for myself – I am not so sure whether I made the right choice at all.
People say to me 'It could be worse' although I have noticed that they never go on to say how exactly. I honestly believe that this is about as bad as it can get in food phobia terms.
Unless, of course, you know differently, in which case, please let me know, as I would enjoy a good gloat over somebody more culinarily-challenged than me. I await your mails with bated and onion-free breath...
Cathy Marston is the owner of The Nose Restaurant & Wine Bar and a fulltime, professional eater and drinker. Any food, any drink, anywhere, anytime...