Brilliant book. Old diet books can often be depressing, especially second hand ones with teeth marks in the margins and doodles of cupcakes in every blank space. They’re often accompanied in the bags of donations we get by books about sumptuous French cuisine and Port, with the owner offering both up to charity presumably in order to give up food altogether.
This was a corker – clearly the author had neatly cornered the market in middle aged men who were willing to try anything – absolutely anything – to lose weight, as long as it wouldn’t interfere with their drinking. The author offers early reassurance on the inside cover:
“Did you ever hear of a diet that was fun to follow? A diet which would let you have two martinis before lunch, a thick steak generously spread with Sauce Bearnaise,[…] A diet which allows you to take your favourite girl for a dinner of pheasant and broccoli, with Hollandaise Sauce and Chateau Lafite, to be followed by an evening of rapture and champagne?” Ding dong!
You can almost hear the conversation in the London club which surely inspired the author:
Gentleman 1: “No thirds for me thanks chap – I’m trying to shed a few pounds”.
Gentleman 2: “Dangerous business this dieting, old bean. Hope you’re not going to let it put you off the sauce. Knew a chap once who started trying to ease back – stopped having a second martini at lunch, that sort of thing. He wasted away to nothing in a matter of weeks.”
Gentleman 1: “How ghastly. No, I certainly won’t let it affect my drinking. Trouble is, how does a man about town such as myself set about getting into shape without compromising on rapture and champagne.”
Gentleman 2: “I don’t know George, but just remember – you are a Drinking Man, first and foremost”.
Perhaps there are a series – “The Smoking Man’s Workout”; “The Gambling Man’s Savings”?