I was recently told that by the end of a three course meal in most high end restaurants, you would have consumed about two and a half packs of butter. Now, granted you wouldn't want to do that every night of the week if that were true (and I'm not recommending it), the fact didn't bother me as much as my companions.
People would now have you believe that fat is this evil ingredient that will double the size of your hips, block up your arteries, and add that extra wobble under your chin. And even in its many guises, fat has developed a bad reputation and has lost its lustre.
Yet it has been at the centre of our diets for centuries, and we need a return to the food we ate before over-processing and misinformation made eating and cooking filled with guilt.
Fat, fundamentally, adds flavour to our food. I'm not going to suggest that you start tucking into a tub of lard or munch on some bone marrow (though its appearance at sought-after restaurants is growing), but this phobia of fats, in all its forms, coupled with our obsession for low-fat products, is unhealthy. Are we now more likely to cut entire food groups out rather than eat in moderation?
My favourite thing to do as a child was to suck on a piece of pork crackling. Odd, as a now vegetarian, that the thing that thrilled me the most was a piece of roasted pig skin, all juicy and dripping in fat, with that tasty crunch.
And it wasn't that long ago that we considered milk, eggs and bacon the hallmark of a wholesome breakfast, with fats (and, despite my own views, I'm including animal fats in this) praised for being high in Omega 3s and rich in vitamins. But now our ideas seem so shaped by what's considered 'good' or 'bad' for us (for example, avocados and olive oil are acceptable, whereas butter and cheese should be approached with caution) that we're restricting our culinary choices.
And this theory that all fats are bad has cascaded into a barrage of low-fat fads and products, the majority of which hold little nutritional value. What happened to just eating sensibly? Is a slice of Victoria Sponge filled with cream and fruity jam any worse than sipping on several cans of diet drinks laden with sugar substitutes and goodness knows what anyway?
With barely a week going by without an obesity story in the news, our view of what is and isn't good for us seems to have been warped. Now, I would consider myself to be relatively health conscious, but I would never cut out an entire food group (minus the vegetarianism) or, god forbid, give up my daily afternoon biscuit or sweet treat. Because, quite frankly, life without some fats would just be boring.