Jessie Ware: 'I'm such a bully about food'

The breakthrough British star of 2012 on Marmite, Lidl – and forcing her vegetarian guitarist to eat meat

When I sat in my high chair, my mother says my toes used to twiddle excitedly whenever food was coming. So I became really podgy. Super podgy. I broke a family's paddling pool by stepping on the side of it.

My friends were denied biscuits at home but in our house we were allowed the whole tin. There were midnight feasts during sleepovers and then Mum would lay out little tables of food for us to eat for breakfast while we watched cartoons.

I'm like a dog, if I glimpse food I want it. I was born a greedy cow – so much so that mother's nipples would bleed and my poor grandfather, a proud old Jewish man, had to go into the pharmacy and ask for nipple guards.

My mum has always said that I'd remember the first meal of each holiday more than the holidays themselves. Like the divine feta cheese made with nectar honey at the restaurant in Glossa on Skopelos, and the huge sundae which I asked to have with "more cream, please".

Ice cream is my comfort food. Whenever I was sad I was given an ice cream and I'd ask for cream poured on it. My favourite today is Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey, with single or preferably double cream. It's so naughty.

I love Marmite and I'll have it with poached eggs, or anything. It's so versatile. Marmite and marmalade works, in fact everything works with Marmite. It's very reassuring and British and makes me feel I know where I'm at.

I can't eat before I go onstage because I've learnt that burping on stage isn't a good thing. It's all about acid reflux. At night I take Gaviscon Advance which has alginate from seaweed and prevents acid coming back up during a ballad.

I've become one of those annoying people who brings their own food on to planes. You can't go wrong mid-air with crepes. And I'm such a bully about food on tour. I made my vegetarian guitarist eat meat. It's terrible, but he's not going back.

I'm from south London so there aren't many Jews about and I can't get a good bagel. To have a bad bagel – one without the crunch and elasticity of dough, too powdery and without the right colouring – is really upsetting.

I did my dissertation on Kafka. I took a research trip to Prague and ate lots of dumplings.

I'm a Lidl girl. The food they have there is brilliant – really good meat, orange and apple juices and Florentines and excellent olive oil, muesli and Jazz apples.

Jessie Ware's Devotion is out now on Island. She tours the UK from 6 March


John Hind

The GuardianTramp

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