Is writing about food actually risky?

I’ve been writing more than usual about food of late, which seems to be well received, especially as it’s brought my blog some new followers, and based on the Likes, and comments, but every time I write, I wonder – just how high is the risk to my DLA?

I cannot – hand on heart – if provided with the ingredients, cook a meal, a fact which gets me lower care. I really need middle care (need help but can’t afford it), but the risk of applying in the hope of getting that is that I might lose what I already have – it happens.

There is also the risk of some DWP snoop looking at my blog and saying hey, this bugger can cook!

The fact is, though, that I actually can’t cook on demand, and I have to be careful that I don’t give the impression that I can, so somewhere there is usually a caveat to that effect.

The only thing I’ve been able to cook in a week is a pot of  (extremely good), soup, and doing so wiped me out. Since last Monday, I’ve eaten five bowls of the soup I made, and on one night had a couple of fairly dire Tesco cheese and onion pasties (Monday I was so exhausted I have no idea what I ate, if anything – this is why, DWP snoops). The soup, sadly, is now gone.

Some weeks I can’t cook at all, and any food I bought, in the hope of being able to, either goes in the freezer or, if it can’t be frozen, in the bin, eventually, if it can’t be used for something else. Those weeks, I live out of what’s in the freezer, or get by on sandwiches (I always have cheese and canned meat).

Some of what I write about is planned for the future, like faggots (possibly next week, but maybe not – there’s no way of knowing in advance and they’ve been “next week” several times already), and some exists only in my head but, for the sake of verisimilitude, looks as if I’ve done it (indeed, I will have, but not for a long time, but there is no mileage in writing “Hey, I cooked this 15 years ago,” it just wouldn’t engage an audience and writers – bloggers are no exception – have a duty to entertain, as well as inform).

To put it in simple, easy to understand terms – DWP-comprehensible – I write about what I know, not what I’m doing right this moment. It’s what every foodie journalist does (apart from restaurant reviewers). When Nigel Slater writes, “I cooked this on a snowy evening last week,” he doesn’t actually mean it literally. I know this because we had an email discussion about it a few years ago, when he wrote something very similar and there’d been no snow anywhere, and I asked him how come?** Nigel, by the way, is one of the good guys. Just thought I’d mention that.

**His column is written weeks, sometimes months, ahead, in which case mentioning the weather, when there are picky sods like me around, can come unstuck.

So, if that’s good enough for the pros, it’s good enough for me. Apart from the weather!

Bearing that in mind, then, I could write reams about cooking solo at Christmas for a dozen people** – but it doesn’t mean I’m capable of doing it this Christmas. In reality, I haven’t done it since 1988, but if I wrote it up, you wouldn’t know that – it’s called literary licence, but I doubt the DWP has even heard of that. Or would care if they had.

**Easier than it sounds if you’re confident in what you’re doing, as you have total control.

I post the occasional “Note for DWP snoops…” which some of you might have seen, but I’ve no idea how effective that is, if at all, and I’ll continue to write even though I find it quite bizarre that writing about a subject as fundamental to human existence as food needs to be treated with the care of an unexploded bomb…

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10 thoughts on “Is writing about food actually risky?

  1. Good thinking Ron. I had my housing benefit stopped because of something my daughter wrote on her LinkedIn page. It was untrue, and everything came right in the end, after 3 months of investigation and stopped benefit. I was, however, gobsmacked that snoops were reading LinkedIn and randomly trying to make trouble.
    Maybe you do need to put a disclaimer on any cooking posts you make. But do, please, continue to write. DLTBGYD!

  2. And Orwell thought 1984 was Big Brother – he was a little early!

    But I do know what you mean, I usually end up including some form of activist activity in my blogs, irrespective of it being years since I could actually take part.

    Hope we both continue to fly under the radar enough to carry on xx

  3. People who are not chronically sick and disabled don’t get the spoon theory even though it is quit simple to understand. I have to spend several days doing much of nothing to hopefully have some spoons on reserve to do some shopping, which in turn depletes those spoons and then some and I’m fatigued for the next several days. I like you try to cook enough to freeze when I’m able for many days I can’t. it’s not unknown for me to have a bowl of cereal for my tea. What a screwed up system and lack of empathy that we have to use precious resources to explain this!

  4. You forgot to mention that you do all your shopping, food included, on-line.

    I, personally, think that you should get more than lower rate DLA, at least middle if not higher, but I understand the worry of getting the lower rate taken away.

  5. The way things are going we’ll be getting asked why we are able to breathe! I for one will not give up the main thing that gets me out – the PC. Keep going Ron with your recipes – a lot of them make my mouth water and that’s got to be worth something 🙂

  6. I haven’t applied for disability support yet (it was only this year that heart & breathing problems kicked in & failing interviews because of my illness drove the point horribly home. I thought life sucked before that. Boy, was I wrong). I am going to give it a go after the changes next year. But I worry about some snoop following me round with a camera because I look perfectly healthy most if the time and on good days, I can walk at a fairly normal speed. Bad days, of course, I wouldn’t be bathed, dressed or outside. Facebook doesn’t help, either. I am considering reining that in considerably. I do use the facebook groups as a major source of support for my illness, though. Is it just us, with chronic illness, or does our society have one, too?

    • OK – from now on, good days don’t exist. The benefits system doesn’t understand good days and bad days, or fluctuating conditions in general, so it’s best not to confuse them. And be careful what you say in a semi-public forum like FB, It does seem to be routinely monitored.

      As for someone following you round with a camera, it’s not going to happen unless they have some evidence, to justify the expenditure, that you’re somehow fiddling the system. Tales of people being followed at random are almost certainly apocryphal.

      I’m mystified by your last sentence . . .

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