Remember the first time you had a custard cream? Or a Jaffa cake? More importantly, did you end up eating them for the next half an hour, not because you needed to but because you couldn’t resist another bite?
The Spanish have a word for this type of insatiable appetite: gula.
It is officially defined as ‘the feeling of wanting to eat just because of the taste, not because of hunger’, which sums it up pretty perfectly. It’s a well-known fact that if you choose to have one chocolate finger, it is nearly physically impossible not to have another ten or 15. The taste is just too good. The same can be said of Pringles, whose current slogan is: ‘Once you pop, you can’t stop.’ Truer words have never been advertised.
Gula perhaps has an equivalent in English: pure, unadulterated gluttony. Imagine this: you’re at the buffet in Tiger Lily in Portswood and you’ve just polished off your third plate. And yet you’re still unsatisfied.
You crave more. Just one more spring roll or one more slice of sesame prawn toast. Your stomach is full to bursting and you’re on the cusp of falling into a serious food coma, but you persevere. This is gula in all its glory.
A combination of a lack of willpower and the almost narcotic-like effect of some foods on our brains means gula thrives in us humans. But hey, we all have our weaknesses. And food doesn’t just have the power to quell our hunger, but to delight the soul.
Self-indulgence, when not out of control, can be a beautiful thing.
Think of this next time you’re shovelling another dessert spoon full of Nutella into your mouth!
My advice? Check out http://beautifulpicturesofhealthyfood.tumblr.com/, a wonderful tribute to some of the more healthier options out there to satisfy your gula.