surinenglish

Food forethought

We eat too much. The media is riddled with self-proclaimed experts, wringing their hands, shaking their incredulous heads and talking earnestly about obesity as if it were inflicted upon us by some malevolent outside agency. I can't remember the exact figures but it appears that, these days, ninety nine out of a hundred people weigh over three hundred and fifty stone. Well, maybe they should stop cramming pickled onion Monster Munch down their faces then.

Three meals a day simply aren't necessary unless you find yourself working twelve-hour shifts in the fields humping hay bales or sacks of spuds onto farmyard trailers. By contrast, it's a simple fact that sales representatives munching on motorway pies and spending their working days slumped in cars and offices are clearly never going to enjoy the benefits of an attractively svelte body shape as they go about their business, so let's not kid ourselves.

Meanwhile hordes of children continue to waddle from electronic device to electronic device, exercising little more than their Playstation thumbs, chomping on pizzas and Wotsits until one of them eventually explodes and some politician no-one's ever heard of feigns outrage and demands government action in a bid to make a name for themselves. Fat people don't need government intervention, they need to cut down on the pork pies, mate, as, I think, Blur pointed out in 1995.

Here in Spain we have the phenomenon of the 'Menú del Día', originally conceived when people did a proper, physically exhausting, day's work. Subsequently, the workload was greatly reduced but the massive three-course extravaganza has remained part of the cultural fabric. For those who may not have had the pleasure, the Menú del Día is, essentially, two whole meals disguised as a first and a second course, topped off with a teeth-grinding pudding with enough sugar in it to sink the QE2. You can regularly see people tucking into this excessive fare (often on a daily basis) before blobbing back to the office to sit in front a computer for another five hours' mouse-clicking. Astonishingly, it's not unusual for some of these chaps to incorporate a snack break into the afternoon's proceedings just in case their metabolism had got the wrong idea and thought it'd been given a whole afternoon free to work properly.

Sometimes I forget to eat. It'll be ten o'clock at night or something and I'll suddenly feel peckish and realise that I've spent the last twenty four hours gloriously food-free. If you haven't been hungry it's almost certainly because you haven't done enough work to make yourself hungry. Nature is extraordinarily wise. Self-proclaimed experts are not.