Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Monday, May 23, 2011


I hope I don’t sound like a preachy health nut, or a paranoid hypochondriac. Heck, everyone thinks I am super health conscious, and that I don’t eat an ounce of fat.

Truth be told – I love potato crisps, and chocolates, and brownies, and ice cream, and crème brûlée, and macarons…

The main difference is – moderation. I know when I am satisfied with what I have eaten, and I know when to stop. Like Mireille Guiliano in French Women Don’t Get Fat, I adopt ‘’the culture of moderation and painstaking attention to taste’’. Lest you think portion control is a strict torture, she wrote, ‘’portion control is more an art than a discipline’’. As you dine, ''you ask yourself whether you are content, and therefore whether continuing would be a matter of pleasure or merely routine’’ (and might I add – pure undiscerning greed).

This subject matter surfaces again and again to haunt me. Last night I was at a dinner with a friend and her three other friends. My friend, Agnès, is visiting from France with her Italian buddy and they are being hosted by two Singaporean friends.

One of the Singaporeans ordered a plate of char kway teow, hokkien mee, hong kong noodle, fried rice, carrot cake, pepper crab, kang kong, an assortment of drinks and later two desserts – for five of us ladies. We hardly had any elbow space at the table. ‘’It’s even better than a buffet!’’ exclaimed the other Singaporean gleefully.

I sampled most of the dishes, ate my normal portion, and sat watching them eat. Why aren’t you eating, the Singaporeans goaded. They ate like there was no tomorrow, even though the Singaporeans live here and can have access to all these ‘’lardy’’ carbo overload anytime, and the two visitors would be here for another three days with them.

‘’How can you live on salads most of the time? It’s like eating grass. You are so boring and unadventurous!’’ one of them continued when they found out that I normally like to make my own salad for lunch. Obviously, there was too much food and the two Singaporeans, while helping to polish up the excess, had to keep egging the two visitors to eat up. ‘’Don’t waste food lah!’’ they kept saying.

If you don’t want to waste food, then don’t over order. Simple as that. Forcing yourself to finish up excess food, or eating more than you need, is hardly ‘’enjoyment’’ nor true appreciation of the chef’s creations. It’s also the fastest way to get fat. And ordering lots of food isn’t necessarily the best way of showing hospitality to visitors and newly met friends. Being considerate - and speaking diplomatically - is.

Soon, the four of them managed to eat up almost every dish. And guess what. The Italian woman got so stuffed that she went pale, sick and we had to go scurrying for a toilet so she could puke. So much for ‘’enjoyment’’.


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