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Why do women in movies always eat ice cream directly from the tub after they’ve been dumped? It’s a question posed by ‘Food and Heartbreak’, the latest episode of podcast Life in Food with Laura Price (available now).

Food journalist Price’s guest is Jessie Stephens, author of Heartsick, a new – and rather cornily written – non-fiction book about love and loss. “I suppose it’s supposed to represent a little bit of comfort,” she says in answer to that ice cream question.

But the movie trope is far from realistic, she insists. Heartbroken people are much more likely to suffer a severe loss of appetite, nausea or even vomiting. (Hence the title of Stephens’ book.)

They also frequently, and understandably, lose interest in cooking – an activity that’s about “zest for life” and “hope”.

But those same qualities can help ease heartache, Stephens adds – pointing to author Marian Keyes, who pulled herself out of depression by getting busy with pots and pans.

Stephens, however, seems less likely to turn to her stove once her appetite returns post-break-up. Her preferences are frozen chocolate and “hearty” meals at Mexican and Greek restaurants – but probably not the ones she used to visit with her ex.

She tells the tale of a colleague who’s unable to even look at spring rolls since being dumped during her starter in a Thai restaurant 20 years ago.

“I don’t understand people who break up with someone at the beginning of a meal,” Stephens says.

It’s a mystery even more perplexing than the movie ice cream one.