Thursday Interview: Carol Calorie

Hi, Carol. Just to clear up something straightaway, when I asked your agent for a picture of you, she said she didn’t have any. Why’s that? Are you shy? Don’t like the way you look? Or you just want to cultivate the mystery?

None of those. I’m an abstract entity, that’s why. I’m just an amount of energy. Specifically the amount it takes to raise the temperature of a gram of water by one degree Celsius.

Oh. So you don’t actually look like this?  carol

Not at all. That’s just how you imagine me because you think I’m responsible for making you fat.

Well, you are, aren’t you? If I didn’t have so many of you, my abs would be more like abs.

So it’s my fault if they aren’t? Don’t forget I’m also responsible for keeping you alive. You can’t manage without me, you know. Just not quite so many of me, I’d say. Especially if all you do is sit in front of a computer. But whether you go for a chocolate diet or an apple is entirely up to you. I’m neutral in all this. I’m not even restricted to food – I’m everywhere. There are 7,004,684,512 of me in a ton of coal.

Wow! Explains why I felt so bloated after eating that sack of anthracite.

Ha, ha! The good news is that even a sedentary writer gets rid of about 70% of me just by breathing and thinking. Assuming you do think, that is.

Oh, yes, never stop. That’s cool. But what do I do about the other 30%?

Exercise. A lot of it. Eat a banana  and you’ll need to walk a mile. As for a big mac, I suggest you start training for the triathlon.

Mmm, think I’d rather forego the burger, thank you. Or maybe go on a diet?

Waste of time. Just eat a bit less and move a bit more. 90% of people who go on a diet put their weight back on within three months. Plus some, in fact, so it’s fair to say a diet makes you fatter. Still, that doesn’t stop people in the UK spending £2 billion a year on diet books, pills and magazines.

We’re not all equal, though – it’s easier for some than for others. Hardly very fair, is it?

Life’s not fair, I’m afraid. But whining burns up even less calories than writing.

Very true. I’d better get back to my novel. Thanks for sharing!

The Amazing New Cake Diet


Lychee, rose and raspberry meringue nests

I’m amazed that Jamie Oliver and Co. still sell as many cookbooks as they do. Now I’ve nothing against Jamie, who’s likeable, down to earth and does what he can to tackle obesity, but why buy a cookbook when everything you need is online? Enter the name of any recipe or ingredient and up come a million responses. And when it comes to cakes, cookbooks are even more irrelevant because there’s Lili.

There are two reasons why I haven’t yet made any of her cakes. One, we’re in Mayotte, where not only are ingredients hard to come by but our oven’s an absolute nightmare. But that’s temporary. Back in the Metropole, I’ll have no excuse (I’ve been drooling over the strawberry tres leches cake for the past week). Except, of course, my BMI, because how can you add such delights to your diet without it going off the scale?

Well, I’ve thought about this and it so happens there’s a very simple answer. I remember reading once that the great eccentric (and even greater novelist) Evelyn Waugh lived his days backwards for a while – brandy and cigar first thing in the morning, Corn Flakes before bed. Without going that far, I suggest that instead of having Ginger and Mint American Lime Pie at the end of the meal, you put it at the beginning. Because obviously, you’ll still guzzle something like that when you’re already full to bursting, but you wouldn’t feel the same about minestrone, would you? Result? Basically you eat nothing but Lili’s cakes. Sounds like a great diet to me (no kidding – many of Lili’s recipes are healthy).

I offer this dietary advice entirely free, but if anyone wants to turn it into a book, they have my blessing. If you do, you’ll be even richer, I’m sure, than the woman who made a fortune with the book based on her revolutionary diet, Get Thin – Eat Less.