The Gobbler

How a Restaurant Critic Diets

Nope — not Platt.Photo of man:; Illustration by Kanika Rehani
Like the spavined, dreamy-eyed diet freaks celebrated in this week’s magazine, the Gobbler spends a good part of each day obsessing over his calorie intake. Unlike those healthful wraiths, however, he’s not concerned about limiting himself to 1,800 calories over the course of a day; he’s concerned about limiting himself to 1,800 calories during dessert. (Or, for that matter, 4,000 calories over a modest luncheon at some new, not very distinguished Italian restaurant). Already chubby before becoming a professional eater, the Gobbler got on a scale a couple of years ago and found he’d ballooned to a sumo-size 286 pounds. Ever since that horrible day, he’s been forced to exercise, utilize steely self-discipline, and call upon the help of several long-suffering nutritionists. Briefly, a few summers ago, he got down to a slim 225 pounds. Recently, the scale’s needle has been drifting back up, so before the Gobbler once again becomes grossly and irredeemably fat, here are a few of his common-sense diet tips.

Exercise Like a Rabbit. The Gobbler rides the stationary bike for at least 45 minutes every morning, lifts weights four times a week, and employs the services of a personal trainer, an ex-pro football player, who yells at him when he’s weak.

Eat Like a Rabbit. The Gobbler used to starve himself, which led to binging, which lead to further fatness. These days, the Gobbler eats regular snacks — carrots, almonds, tofu burgers, low-fat cheese — but in small portions. On the days he eats out (which is most of them), he chokes down a whey-protein shake for lunch.

Bread Baskets Are the Devil. The portions at most gourmet restaurants are modest, even nutritionally correct. It’s the carb-rich, highly seductive add-ons (the perfect little baguettes at L’Atelier, the puréed potatoes at Craft), that get you in trouble.

Foie Gras Is the Devil. Offal in all its delicious forms (foie gras, liver, kidneys, calves’ brains) are atrociously high in cholesterol. The lone exception is tripe (stomach lining), which has to be cooked two or three times before it’s edible. The Gobbler eats perhaps too much tripe.

Drink Is the Devil. Drinking is part of a restaurant critic’s job, but too many cocktails and too much wine addle the brain, expand the appetite, and make you fat. The Gobbler has a single glass of wine with his dinner and sips half of it.

Nutritionists Are Your Friend.
Gobbler’s current nutritionist is a smiling, suspiciously thin woman who offers up cheery slogans like “You’re doing a good job, considering” and “It could be much worse.” Most important, she forces him to lumber on the scale, regularly, and to be accountable for what he eats.

Don’t Ever Clean Your Plate. Once upon a time, the Gobbler considered it his professional duty to clean his plate (and everyone else’s). Now, like Marie Antoinette, he takes dainty tastes of dishes and always leaves something behind. In the Gobbler’s world, there’ll always be another meal.

— Adam Platt

Earlier: Starve Your Way Into Immortality!

How a Restaurant Critic Diets