At university, I chose olive oil spread. My Timberlands and my trucker caps were very large and I had very large decisions to make about who I was going to be. I bought Own Brand, not Olivio; I didn’t want to be the type of person that got swizzed.
In my twenties, I learned that I liked to eat a lot of things in addition to tagliatelle and yoghurt. Crispy seaweed from the Chinese takeaway was a memorable late entry. But there were loads. Lobster, crab, olives, gherkins, avocado, meatballs, mozzarella, olive oil, crispy duck, courgette, sage.
Suddenly, I could get a lot of pleasure out of a tuna melt. Caramelised goats cheese wrapped in prosciutto. Bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese – the lemon and black pepper were crucial, as it turned out! Fish and chips. Bingo! I liked my tea milkier than I’d thought.
Then, one day, I ran out of olive spread. I used some salty butter instead. After that, I left it out of the fridge to go soft. I was given a beautiful butter dish. I watched butter disappear into my toast. I bathed my pasta in puddles of golden butter. I smiled as my butter curled on to my knife. In those heady, early days I picked up clumps with my sausagey fingers and lobbed them into the hot pan, so that butter blocks were never block-shaped for very long.
Now, ‘spread’ seems a gruesome thing to write. Like, “spread your legs.”
Life is real and hard but butter is the best.