The Moveable feast : Occupational hazard


There are two down sides to doing a food column. One is you get used to good food 24x7 and the charms of dal-bhat recede with each passing article. Then there is the business of trying to keep your audience (and this means you) as fully versed about a restaurant as possible.

So, typically off an evening you and a friend go and try and sample as much of a restaurant’s menu as is earthly possible. Despite the fact that you confine your tasting to a spoonful of each dish, by the end of it you have eaten at least three times of what you would normally eat.

This done week after week gets to be so bad for the figure that your doctor, if he happens to be the friendly Bharat Rawat of Norvic gently says, “Dubby, I am worried about your knees.” Which is a delightfully refined way of saying your stomach is so huge your legs are caving in.

So, I have not been eating out as much as I should be to give my lower extremities a fighting chance to haul the bulk of me about and I have been on my favourite diet.

I picked up a book in Thamel called It’s In To Be Thin in the 80’s. Basically the book tells you to cut out every bit of oil, no red meats and carbs and some vegetables in controlled quantities.

Actually it is a painless diet. One’s chickens can be patted with salt and pepper and the insides filled with herbs.

You are not allowed the skin or crackling of a chicken but the white tastes fantastic flavoured with rosemary, onions, garlic or sometimes chat masala. Easy to cook. Get a chicken, fill it up with non-fattening condiments. Not a drop of oil. Stick it into the oven. Wait. Eat.

Bad news coming up — you don’t get to eat the whole chicken at one meal. It is to be spread over four meals and the chicken you stuck in the oven weighed one kilo.

Your carbohydrates intake is controlled. You get lots from the veggies you eat and you can have two slices of bread a day.

Steam your vegetables with a powdered spice or add the sauce of one fresh tomato made to taste even better with a little chopped green onion and freshly ground pepper.

You are not allowed booze, which is one more incentive for you to drop weight fast. Not to mention the knees, which begin to feel comfortable after about a week and doctor Bharat Rawat is appeased.

You have to walk a bit but nothing to get alarmed about. And coming from me that should be reassuring. I consider walking to the nearest vehicle as unfair exercise.

And if you want nibbles, keep several non-oily powdered spices handy and dip cucumber rings into them and chomp away.

Soon you are thin and you don’t have to worry about your physiotherapist Bhim Subba, probably the most famous in the Valley, telling you that he wants your stomach to disappear so you live longer. At my fattest I imagined Bhim going on to his next appointment and me popping it because I looked like Sir Winston Churchill or Alfred Hitchcock in profile.

Anyway the point of all this is to give you the bare bones of a tasteful diet and to tell you that we shall be adventuring into food together but not into restaurants until the time comes when I don’t have to use two chairs and I escape insults like, “My you’re skinny — just yards and yards of skin”.