What’s a food and drink writer to do when she finds herself unable to eat or drink?

After this week I can tell you that the answer is ‘not an awful lot’ other than feeling sorry for herself and pining for the times when anything more exotic than a dry cream cracker didn’t risk another wave of nausea.

Yep, after making it through the depths of winter with nothing more than the occasional runny nose or tickly cough, last weekend I found myself completely wiped out by some hellish form of springtime lurgy.

Being bedbound? I could manage. They’ve just put Dexter on Netflix and I was searching for an excuse to binge the lot.

Cancelling plans? Frustrating, but I’d sooner not have spreading germs on my conscience in a post-Covid world.

A loss of appetite, however? Now there’s a bit of heartbreak.

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After just recently writing about my firm belief that food is one of life’s greatest joys, here I found myself joyless.

Call me dramatic all you like, but with no prospect of weekend cocktails, a home-cooked dinner or mid-afternoon biscuit breaks in the office, the world suddenly seems a little flat.

I do love to bang on about the importance of our daily food rituals and the ways what we consume can enrich our lives, and with all of it suddenly absent I couldn’t help but appreciate the truth of this even more.

Another unfortunate consequence of the dreaded lurgy is that I have no fun stories of glitzy events or foodie adventures to share with you this week.

The Herald: Pictured: Contini on George Street in EdinburghPictured: Contini on George Street in Edinburgh (Image: Supplied)

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Instead, let me put the spotlight firmly back on the wonderful Contini family and their team who are celebrating 20 years in Edinburgh city centre this month.

From hosting famous faces to holding their own against early customers who questioned a lack of cream in the authentic carbonara at their George Street restaurant, Carina and Victor have now been helping Scotland fall in love with our food and appreciate its provenance for two decades.

Graciously forgiving my sniffly state over the phone as we talked through it all, Carina struck me as one of the magical people in our country’s hospitality scene who is truly committed to running a business that means a whole lot more than its commercial successes.

“I think that’s what really great restaurants, cafes and pubs do,” she said.

“Find a way of deeply understanding people and sharing their stories.”

I couldn’t agree more and, when my appetite returns, it’s food like theirs I want to be eating.

You can read the full interview with Carina Contini, co-owner of Contini George Street in Edinburgh here.