“Hi,” I am happy to hear from my best friend that morning. “I think my au-pair has an eating disorder. I think she is bulimic. What should I do? Should I discuss this with her head on?”
“Why do you think she is bulimic?” the Mentalist wants to know before he starts dispensing his advice.
“She is getting fatter,” I tell him in a low whisper.
“Does that mean she is bulimic?” the Mentalist can’t make the immediate connection between my assumption and my observation.
“Not eating her meals properly,” I explain further the strange patterns I have observed. “She binge eats sweets when nobody is looking. And she throws up at night.”
“I see,” the Mentalist let’s me know he is starting to see the picture I am depicting. “So she is depressed not bulimic.”
“What do you think?” I ask for good measure, but immediately think he might be right. “Oh yes. She is. What can I do?”
“When does she throw up?” the Mentalist questions me further to get a more accurate diagnostic. “Late at night or just after eating?”
“When everyone is in bed,” I tell him what I know.
“Well you can do one of four things,” the Mentalist has made up his mind about what is going on in my house. “Talk to her and ask her what’s wrong and what does she think or feel she needs to get better. Or send her for therapy. Or send her home. Or try to help her find friends. Put her on a dating site.”
“Okay. Thanks,” I smile relieved as these are all things I can do easily. “How are you doing? It’s getting bloody cold here.”
“Fine thanks,” the Mentalist replies pleasantly still. “Here too.”
“Are you still baking?” I am curious to know what exactly he is up to lately.
“Yes,” the Mentalist acquiesces and decides it is a good moment for some teasing. “Are you hungry?”
“I have my hunger under control,” I am happy to note. “It’s just when there are social engagements that the diet goes out the window. But that should be allowed I reckons. Have you started your business yet?”
“Yes. I am looking for customers now,” the Mentalist replies. I am sure we were at that stage before when he spoke about his business. However, I know he knows better than anybody how to do things the right way so I don’t question this any further. “Problem is it is difficult to cost things as inflation is going up. Prices are going up.”
“Keep trying till you get the best price for both yourself and the client,” I tell him the bit of good common sense that I do know.
“Ok,” the Mentalist agrees.
“How is Debbie and her pottering?” I go on, because I am after all really curious what goes on in his life outside of our little talks which I enjoy so much.
Belgium can be satisfyingly snowy in the winter, and come spring, it’s a delicate shade of green. We also have some of the best restaurants, cafés, bars, and markets you’ll find anywhere, thanks to the super conscientious organic farmers and restaurateurs who call the area home. My love for food and bringing my family together around the table to enjoy the moment together inspired my love of cooking.
When you are new to Belgium it can be hard to navigate the food landscape. Living near the city of Mechelen gives us plenty of opportunities to discover those under-the-radar places that are so good, they keep us coming back. Even for my au-pair from the other side of the world.
In good health,