Jane Green
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Why Are The Portions SO DAMN BIG?

November 30th, 2015

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.40.21 PMI had breakfast this morning with Funny Girl. We went, as we always do, to the local diner, and we spent much of our two-hour breakfast, as we always do, discussing our problems with food and what we look like.

Funny Girl orders, as she always does, a plate of fruit, one toasted English muffin, and a side of Canadian bacon (which is essentially thick-sliced ham, fried). She ate three grapes, a slice of melon, half the muffin, one slice of bacon, and took the rest home for her mother.

I ordered an omelette with onion, cheese and spinach. I ate the omelette with onion, cheese and spinach. I did not bring anything home for my mother or anyone else, but I did spend the entire meal bemoaning the fact that I have gained huge amounts of weight this summer, despite the fact that I tend to eat incredibly healthily, and not very much. Clearly, the omelette doesn’t count.

I think this comes from living in America where all the portions are absurdly sized. When I first moved here I remember going to an Italian restaurant and being served an enormous platter of chicken, and being horrified that they thought the food, enough for four, was for one person.

Now when the platter arrives, I think, food’s here! Yum!

When I was back in London for a week earlier this year, I kept ordering food in restaurants and a small plate would arrive, with a small portion of food, which I looked at with an air of bemusement. “Where is the rest?” I kept thinking. I was permanently starving.

Everybody knows that American portions are inordinately enormous. But I was raised in a country where children starving in Ethiopia were held over our heads as reason to finish everything on the plate. It is a habit that has been deeply ingrained. If you give me a small portion, I will eat it. Place a portion that is enough to happily feed a family of four in front of me, and I shall eat that too. I am not fussy.

Americans have a tendency to deal with the huge portions by exercising like crazy people. Many of the women in my town do not work. They don’t have time. Hot Yoga takes an hour and a half, which doesn’t include traveling time to and from, gossiping time in the changing room, showering time, straightening hair again time, and coffee time with the girls which, apparently, often stretches into lunch.

I say apparently because on principle, I will not go to hot yoga. Nor will I go to anything vaguely class-like. In fact, one of my friends has been laid up with a torn Achilles tendon as a result of running, which, as far as I’m concerned, is the perfect evidence to support my belief that exercise is bad for you.

Now I just have to train myself to eat less.

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