Diets Don’t Work


Diets don’t work.  Yeah, I said it.  Okay, I’ll admit that in some parts of the world, diets do work, but they’re mostly involuntary.  (Yeah, I said that, too.)  Here’s the deal.  Western society is awash in food, and for the last 50 years, we’ve been fighting a tremendous battle to keep it out of our mouths – and — we’re losing.  The problem is, like most contemporary situations, we want a quick fix, and we’re willing to lie to ourselves (and others) to get it.  So, when we say, “I’m going to change my life, burn my fat clothes, join a gym and start eating healthy from now on,” what we actually mean is, “God, I hope if I stop eating all the stuff I really like for a while and take the stairs at work, I’m going to be able to fit into my underwear again.”  Folks, that’s not the way to do it – because:

Food is everywhere. – Walk down any High Street in Europe or drive down any highway in North America, and you’re going to find food.  Fast food, slow food, food you can eat right now, food you can save for later, food from a farmer, food from a factory, food from a chemistry set, and even food that started life as something completely different.  My point is it’s easier to avoid heroin if you’re an addict than it is to avoid food if you’re on a diet.  Spend a day out in the big, wide world and you’ll come home so pissed off about all the stuff you CAN’T have, you’ll eat the sofa.

Our culture is built on food. – You have to look far and wide to find any social interaction that doesn’t involve food — breakfast meetings, dinner parties, potluck, barbeque, cake and coffee, tea and biscuits and it goes on and on and on.  Even our mating rituals revolve around food.  Want to get to know somebody?  Go out to lunch.  Want to really get to know somebody?  Go out to dinner.  Want to get laid, married or engaged?  Go out to an expensive dinner.  Nobody ever says, “Hey, I think you’re an interesting person.  Let’s get together and drink some water.”

Snacks – The harsh reality is snacks are the food we eat in between the time we’ve finished eating (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the time we start eating again.  Nobody west of the Vistula is actually hungry.  It’s just a contemporary twitch — and good luck trying to break that habit.

Most people are like me.  — I have a car, a microwave, a dishwasher, a Roomba, a thing that cuts up my vegetables and two guys who show up every once in a while to work in the garden.  I also have a television, a computer and a flat screen thingy that reads to me.  On ordinary days, I don’t get enough exercise to fill a mouse’s ear: on lazy days, I could be in a coma.  In the 21st century, we simply don’t move enough.  So it really doesn’t matter how many calories you’re not eating; if you work at a desk all day and spend your evenings cultivating your ass groove in front of a TV or computer – you’re pretty much screwed.

So, what’s the solution?

The Mediterranean was the first Eden, and by all accounts, Adam and Eve were pretty hot property owners, so it makes sense to eat the way the Mediterraneans do.  What’s not to like?  Fish, chicken, and the occasional cow, 50 kinds of pasta, 100 different sauces, who knows how many cheeses, olives, avocados, enough garlic to scare your friends, bread that doesn’t taste like sawdust, all the salad, fruit and veg you can get your mitts on, red wine, white wine and — at the end of it all — coffee and tiramisu.

No fuss!  No muss!  And it beats the hell out of kale and quinoa on a cracker!

Stuff I Learned From Food


Humans are the only species on this planet (aside from cats) who play with their food.  We mush it, we mix it and we marinate it.  We slice it.  We spice it.  We shape it with our hands.  We do things to food that nymphomaniacs and pyromaniacs only dream about.  At various times in our lives, food is our trusted friend, our relentless lover and our sworn enemy.  Food shares the blame — and the praise — for being both our master and our slave, and we can never quite reconcile that schizophrenic relationship.  Here are just a few things I’ve learned from food.

Fast food is usually neither.

If you can’t pronounce the ingredients listed on the package, they’re probably going to kill you.

Really good soup is actually just very wet salad.

That green stuff in the back of the fridge is never salad.

Red wine hates white carpet.

You can try but you can’t really disguise something disgusting simply by saying it tastes like chicken.

Haute cuisine is a French phrase that means “a bad cut of meat camouflaged with a pretentious sauce.”

Calling Italian cuisine “food” is like calling the Mona Lisa “paint.”

Potato chips (crisps) are free.  You’re actually paying for all that flavoured air trapped inside the bag.

The biggest secret in the world is that the vast majority of consumer honey isn’t honey; it’s some kind of weird, processed corn syrup.  (Sadly, this is true.)

Even though Cheerios™ taste like cardboard, they’re actually good for you.

“Swiss cheese is only cheese now and then.”  – Mitch Hedberg

Broken cookies don’t have calories: the calories escape when the cookies break.  Sounds legit!

You can run British mud through a French kitchen and you’ll end up with something that tastes pretty good, but if you run French food through a British kitchen, you’ll end up with mud.

In North America, barbeque is the last bastion of acceptable male behaviour.

Surprise!  Perrier is just water in a cute, green bottle.

If you microwave leftover pizza and call it “Italian toast,” it tastes better.

And finally:

Forget lingerie, music and candlelight — coffee, red wine and chocolate are the Holy Trinity of a romantic evening.

Food Heretics!

kitkatFor centuries, burning heretics at the stake was a perfectly acceptable practice.  Unfortunately, in recent history (400 years or so) it has fallen out of favour.  Too bad!  I think we should resurrect this little community activity, and get rid of one of the most undesirable members of our society – the food heretic.  These are people who cause anguish and consternation among all good and decent people by refusing to follow accepted gastronomic doctrine.  Here are a few examples:

Ketchup on eggs – Mother Nature has provided her children with the perfect food.  In fact, except for that pesky cholesterol (the bogeyman of the 21st century) eggs have all the nutrients humans need to survive – and they taste good.   So why would anyone drown them in faux pas tomato sauce?  Ketchup is for fries only – FRIES ONLY!  Besides, ketchup on eggs looks totally gross – like somebody just murdered a canary.

Opening snacks from the bottom of the bag/box – There are people (I’ve known a few) who don’t give a damn which end of the package they open.  It’s as if they don’t understand that top is always above bottom.  This is a law of physics as well as linguistics.  For God’s sake!  The writing on the package is upside down.  UPSIDE DOWN!  How can you even enjoy your snack, ya damn hoodlum?

Cutting pizza into squares – Since the days of Romulus and Remus, pizza has been cut into triangles.  TRIANGLES!  Okay, if you’re in Italy, you can eat your pizza with a knife and fork (When in Rome, etc, etc.) but everywhere else in the world, circles are cut into triangles so everyone gets an equal share.  This is a basic rule of geometry.  Sometimes I wonder how we ever even got to the Moon!

Milk in the bowl before the cereal – There are people who do this to children.  CHILDREN!  I have no words for this godawful habit.

Buttering toast with a sharp knife – Sharp knives are for cutting things; dull knives are for spreading things.  If you absolutely must, you can cut your toast with a dull knife, but never, under any circumstances, stick a sharp knife in the butter.  NEVER!  People who are capable of that are capable of anything – theft, arson, extortion, socks and sandals, Hawaiian shirts with lederhosen?  There’s just no end to it.

But the worst:

Randomly biting a KitKat™ — Since 1935, first Rowntree’s and now Nestle have been making KitKat bars to a specific standard.  In those 80 plus years, this cute little snack has spread all over the world and mutated into a plethora of flavours — including soy sauce, sake and banana.  And every minute of every day, someone, somewhere is carefully breaking a KitKat apart and eating it properly.  Yet, every once in a while, a wild-eyed anarchist will rip open the package and just take a bite.  A RANDOM BITE!  And people are surprised that some religious nutbars are calling these The Final Days?