Food, Glorious Food And Harry Secombe Who Provided Sustenance For The Heart!


Hi folks,

I love food! I think that the level of our appetite for the good things in life gives away exactly how alive we are! Don’t you? Forgetting food for thought and all that stuff, when it comes to eating there is a big difference between food and nutrition.

Food: “any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth

Nutrition: “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth

The funny thing is that neither of these definitions mentions pleasure as a component of food! If you want to know what I mean, take a look at this snippet from Oliver, adapted from the book (well, penny novels all joined together!) by Charles Dickens, which I watched with delight in London years ago.

That looks like the great comedian, Harry Secombe, in the background. He used to sing ‘If I Ruled The World’ on the radio, usually during The Goon Show when I was a kid in England. Guess I’m getting to be sentimental in my old age. Here is a clip with the song from YouTube.

Clearly, pleasure plays a major role in what we decide to eat. Such pleasure is a product of how the food looks, smells, tastes, the interaction of flavors, its texture, the noises it makes whilst sizzling in the pan, and nostalgia! For instance, I like to eat pasta, but only if it is cylindrical, as other shapes, especially shells, make me almost nauseous. I like macaroni. I like cheese. I really cannot stand macaroni cheese, a fact that I attribute to cacosmia, because my reaction is so profoundly unpleasant and disturbing. Interesting thing, the brain and its associated equipment.


Etymology: Gk, kakos + osme, odor
The perception of foul odor or stench when none exists. In most instances the condition results from psychologic factors, as in olfactory hallucinations that occur during certain psychoses, although it may be caused by a brain lesion. Also spelled kakosmia.

When you are undertaking endurance sports, nutrition, food, and the appreciation of both are critical for your success. This becomes increasingly important as you deplete your glycogen stores late in a race. The sensation of nausea lies just beneath your consciousness, waiting to appear at the most inconvenient moment. Miss one Hammer Gel and I can be throwing up within no time towards the end of the run in an Ironman race. A little food of the right type and that horrible feeling is gone and on I go!

During these long races I have to consume about 3500 calories, and my ‘on the road food’ comprises chocolate-flavored Power Bars on the bike and orange-flavored Hammer gels for the run. You might think that the flavor is unimportant, but there you would be mistaken. After bonking about 100 miles into the bike ride during the 2009 Lake Placid Ironman, it took me many months to work out which flavors my stomach likes! Doesn’t sound like very tasty food, but it is race nutrition that works for me. You have to find what works for you, as we are all different. When the race is over, however, and your stomach is really settled, you can move on from bars and gels to eat lots and lots of glorious food.

How about this?

Are you hungry now? I am! From:

Makes all that training worthwhile, as far as I am concerned.



Kevin (Old Dog!)


  1. “The perception of foul odor or stench when none exists. In most instances the condition results from psychologic factors, as in olfactory hallucinations that occur during certain psychoses”

    This is common among veterans. I get them sometimes. I smell burning resulting from phosphorous.

    The odours are real. They are real insofar as they have become hardwired into the brain like data in an eprom.

    I would not say it is uncontrolable as I can surpress it. It is associated with flashbacks.
    I get the feel that smell is the primal sense. It seems to be more primative than sight.

    I interviewed an old sailor for my Arctic Elegies. His was burning oil on flesh as he was one of the last men to get off HMS Goodall after she was torpedoed. He said he had the smell with him all the time and had been since about 1960. The interview ended early as he cried too much and I was taking him back to places best left alone.

    It was the last interview of any veteran I will ever do.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.