My parents had me young and I’d often go to restaurants and dinner parties with them and their friends and I’d be the only child there. I’d draw on napkins and say “I’m bored!” and be told “Well, you have to suggest topics to talk about, Sophie.”
I remember when I was four going to Kenya with mum, when she was doing Blue Peter, and I was shown a live lobster which was then cooked for our supper, which is quite a dramatic moment when you’re four.
At secondary school and even a bit at junior school, I’d get called fat. When I tell people that, they say, “Oh, how mean. But were you?” I always had a tummy. I quite like it now. But at the time, oh I just wanted to be the same as everyone else, not to stick out. But that’s school.
All scars on my body are food- or drink-related. The scars on my ankle are from a shattered mango chutney jar in Camden. The blood caused me to faint on to the kitchen floor. The marks on my thigh are from oil spilt making a birthday fondue.
I’ve always found room service awkward. It’s very quiet, then there’s the rattle of the tray and things being arranged and shown to me and I’m thinking. “Just go, just go,” because suddenly, silently, we’re trapped together in this quite intimate moment where I’m being shown what to eat and I’m in my dressing gown.
I have my own Aeroflot air-hostess uniform which they sent me after I tweeted about it.Then I was invited to perform in it at Aeroflot’s 90th birthday at the Kremlin. The last time I flew Aeroflot, pickled fish was served – not everyone’s ideal breakfast, but fine by me. I like being fed in the sky, off little trays. It feels like being a baby, in a high-chair, with lots of plastic so I don’t hurt myself or the other bubbas.
My husband Richard cooked for me just before we started going out. He made a delicious Valentine’s Day lobster casserole. We’ve since done lots of cookery courses together. I was the only woman on the butchery course at the Ginger Pig, five months pregnant. Last year Richard and I made Christmas dinner together for the first time – quite a turning point. We have a turntable behind the pull-down drawer of a funky old 50s kitchen unit. And we have disco lights and a smoke machine in the kitchen which go on when the cocktails come out.
When I was pregnant with my second child, I craved Flamin’ Hot Monster Munch every day, whereas previously I’d been much more of a pickled gherkin girl. I just love pickled things, which goes back to fish & chip shops as a child, where I’d beg “Can I have two gherkins, please?”. And I still don’t like salt on my chips.
Nobody would do Strictly Come Dancing for the catering. The show was an amazing experience, except for the weekend food at Elstree Studios: a hard potato with an undressed salad in a polystyrene thingy.
Since having children I know how satisfying it is when children eat and how stressful it is when they don’t. If I say it’s bedtime and they say “I’m hungry,” I think, “Please don’t say that, because I can’t deny you food, I just can’t.”
Wanderlust is out now. Sophie Ellis-Bextor tours the UK from 24 September
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