Claudia Colvin, Entrepreneur and Founder of Nobody’s Watching, shares her reflections of the day after the terror attacks that took place in London, but also on food and love. Thank you so much, Claudia.
When the attack happened yesterday I was in a pub right behind London Bridge. I was throwing a party that I had been looking forward to and organising for the past couple of months. The party was called “I quit my job, celebrate with me”. I invited my friends to share this moment with me, and I was planning on announcing my next steps as an entrepreneur, including the translation of my grandmother’s recipe book from Italian into English.
I put a lot of work into the preparation for the party. I had a small speech prepared. I had prepared a playlist and brought my silent disco kit with me to give people a taste of the silent disco business I’ve been working on. And I had made tiramisu for everyone.
moments before I was about to get up to start speaking, someone appeared at the window of the pub and shouting that it was unsafe to go outside, that people are shooting and that we need to stay indoors
I was, as I often am, in a bit of a last minute scramble on the day of the party. It was the first time I made tiramisu in such large quantities, and it was taking longer than expected. As I reached 1.30pm, with still the playlist to finalise and the speech to write, I starting doubting whether I should have spent so much time making the dessert, and whether I should instead have focused just on the playlist and the speech as this was more important. I felt it was more important at the time because in a sense this party was a launch party for my business: the speech would have explained the business, and the playlist would have given a taste of the business. The tiramisu was just an extra. But it was just a fleeting thought that I didn’t spend too much time on, and I later finished everything in time and didn’t think back.
At the party, moments before I was about to get up to start speaking, someone appeared at the window of the pub and shouting that it was unsafe to go outside, that people are shooting and that we need to stay indoors. They then ran off.
This is when it all changed for us, and when we realised that the night would not go on as planned. That we would spend the rest of the night glancing at our phones for news updates, and in a very different state of mind. Not celebratory anymore. It was in this moment that I realised that the speech and the silent disco I had prepared were not going to happen. It would have been inappropriate. But it was also in that moment that I realised the one thing I had nearly discarded as unimportant was the only thing that could still be relevant: the tiramisu.
We all ate the tiramisu. Food is never inappropriate. In fact, it could not have been more appropriate. Tiramisu means “pull me up”, because of the caffeine in the coffee-soaked biscuit layer. “Pull me up” in Italian can also be intended as “make me feel better”. We all needed a piece of “make me feel better”. Including the Spanish security guard in the pub, who had a piece and then came back for two more helpings.
Food is a simple, authentic way to bring us together
It reminded me of why I love food so much, and why it’s so important to me. Food is appropriate in every occasion. There is food in funerals as there is in weddings. There is food at birthdays, graduations, reunions. Food is a simple, authentic way to bring us together and to remind us that we all eat, and we all shit, and we are all human beings every single second of our lives, no matter what the occasion, so we might as well make the most of it and enjoy the simple things, like the good taste of a meal cooked with love. Food can be so much more than something to fill your stomach. Food is what keeps us alive, but when made with love it’s also part of what keeps us loved.
And remember that food is love. Love who you eat with.
I invite you to cook more, eat well, and share your food when you can. When you can’t, still eat well, treat yourself. Chew slowly. Taste it. Enjoy it. Buy good quality ingredients that your grandmother would be proud of. And remember that food is love. Love who you eat with. And if you are eating alone, never forget to love yourself too.