How to gorge and not get (too) fat.

July 15, 2014
Olá from Lisboa! 

It's been two days since the boyfriend and I arrived in Europe's sunniest and most Westernly capital, and many a horrified/amused waiter has been left in the wake of our eating or rather, gorging rampage. Did I say Sunday's my gorging day? Monday is too. Did I say one week a month is gorging week? Well I gorge on holidays too, so that makes this week the second gorging week. In 36 hours we've blitzed through the best of Bica Do Sapato, eaten a whole lobster and then some at lunch, laid waste to the city's supply of pastel de nata (Portugese egg tarts), and depleted the Atlantic ocean with our conspicuous consumption of seafood.  

So yes, I eat like a fiend, even more than my boyfriend but I'm not going to pretend that it's not starting to show, slowly as it may. I could go down the route of 'bingeing then purging and pretending to be the blessed, perfect combination of good genes and 'mostly-healthy' lifestyle' but I find that much like lying about one's age and sun damage, these things eventually catch up with you and reveal themselves. I'll just put it out there that I gorge more than I should and it's showing but I do what I can to slow down the inevitable weight gain with my clever (or so I think) and patented tricks. And they don't involve exercise or any discipline! Here's how I gorge and not get fat (as quickly as I should).

Location for today's case study: Berner's Tavern at the ever popular and my personal favourite, the London Edition. 

We all know Berner's Tavern for its glamourous setting, stunning gallery wall, and its innocently modest description of itself as a tavern.

I personally love that my new iPhone case matches the gilded decor of the place.

Gorging day with mummy because I pretend that the loving, disciplinary iron hand in the velvet glove of parenthood is strong enough to keep my voracious consumption in check. Not so. For 27 years she's told me to stop stuffing myself like a goose destined for the under-counter of Selfridges. To no avail. One glance at my thighs will tell you as much.

Anyway, here's my trick to eating bountifully and still treading, precariously, the line between voluptuous and fat.

It's all about substitution.

Instead of having a glass of wine with each course, have just one cocktail at the beginning of the meal and afterward hydrate only with water.

'Once Upon A Thyme', pineapple juice with ginger beer, thyme, lime, and orange. Have I got the time? Yes, it's in my drink. Orange you glad I always have the thyme for you? Haha.

Instead of two starters and a main, I have three starters. 'Tis a bit lighter, both on the stomach and if you order carefully also on the calories. Besides, if everybody orders three (different) starters each and tries a bit of everyone's food it's just like tapas!

Starter one: 'egg, ham, and peas'. Pea risotto with lardons, shoots, and crispy quail egg.

Starter two: aged beef tartare with chopped duck egg, croutons, and garlic salsa verde.

Starter three: Middle White pork and pistachio pate with toasted sourdough, and pear and saffron chutney.

With your light alternative to mains out of the way, what about sides?

Instead of ordering a side dish all to yourself, share one with your party.

Triple cooked chips.

Likewise, share the dessert. Nobody actually eats dessert to fill full, it's just to fulfil the craving for something sweet after a heavy meal. All you really need is a few bites, not the whole cake. Order perhaps a pudding per two people, 'tis far more sensible.

Strawberry cream eclair with ice-cream and gold leaf.

Or...! Just ask for a scoop of sorbet, or three. Even if it's not on the menu as a dessert on its own, the ice creams that accompany other desserts will be happily served if you ask.

Ask and ye shall receive; and I received coconut milk sorbet with something refreshing like basil or lime, possibly both.

There you go, the lush's guide to gluttony with none of (or rather less and more slowly-emerging) the unfortunate side-effects that accompanies excess ie. health problems or clothes not fitting the way they should. Or maybe it will hit me all at once when I turn thirty, who knows. You might see a blog post in 2020 'How to lower your cholesterol/blood sugar while still having drunken crack-of-dawn suppers at Duck & Waffle'.

Thank you for reading this and letting me waste your time with my absolutely useless and possibly terribly dangerous advice.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to gorging.



  1. AnonymousJuly 16, 2014

    Gorge baby gorge! Real women have curves. H obvi digs it so should you. The same goes for women as it does for men, it's not size but how you use it! x N

  2. Ha! This is just fantastic, you are too funny.

  3. No worries. Everyone knows if the food is expensive, it contains less calories. Duh! x :)