Choose you thingy

Welcome to the Curry Mile

Food and Think - Antony Bolter

The Magic of Eating Big

Dale Carnegie inspired Eighties businesses and Amway would-be millionaires with his book, 'The Magic of Thinking Big'.  Any aspiring guru for the 21st Century clearly needs to produce a similar lifestyle manual and now the Curry Crew is proud to present this guide to an enhanced life and state of mind.

 Chapter 1 - Where to go

 A lot of eateries across the UK like to challenge their clientele.  Messages such as “All You Can Eat”, “Help Yourself Salad Bar” and “Free T-Shirt if You Clear Your Plate (only available in XXXL)” lay down the gourmandly gauntlet to gutbuckets everywhere.  Fad diets and exercise regimes may appeal to some, but there is an equally valid member of society who gets motivated by the idea of an excessively large blow-out.

 So, where should we go to test the strength of our waistbands?  Obviously, I don’t know every trough in the UK, but I have tried and enjoyed the following and would recommend them to you:

 ·         Salad bars – These come in several disguises and some only contain the bare minimum, so check them out before you decide.  Look out for long bars containing a variety of pastas and rices, guaranteed to bloat.  Garfunkels used to do an excellent main course salad bar, with chicken and other cold meats laid on.  The only essential issue is that it must be serve yourself.

 ·         Mongolian barbecues – A wonderful invention.  These strange semicircular hot plates are manned by cooks with two big sticks who stir fry your food for you.  The wonder of this arrangement is that you select the contents of your bowl (meat, veg and sauce) and take to the cook who does the business.  And what makes it worthy of inclusion here?  You can have as many bowlfuls as you like!

 ·         Mixed grills – There are mixed grills and then there are legends.  I have fond memories from many years ago of a meal called “Mwyaf” served in The Masons in Griffithstown, near Pontypool.  The menu informed me that mwyaf was Welsh for “the most” and the meal lived up to that description.  It is etched on my memory: A plate filled with gammon steak, pork chop, lamb chop, liver, kidney, sausage, egg, mushrooms, green beans and side salad.  There was no room for the chips, which came in a basket, or the steak – a 16oz T-Bone served on a sizzler dish.  Fantastic! And this was long before Atkins.  Although I do recall thinking it was not such a good idea to order a pint of Guinness with it.  Sadly, I am told that the meal is no more, but check out your own local eateries for special mixed grills – some offer free T-Shirts, so wear yours with pride, if you can still fit into it afterwards.

 ·         Carveries – Another help yourself fatter delight.  OK, I know that most of the plate will be filled with veg, but look out for lovely roasties and cheesy cauliflower, and don’t forget to top off your plateful with two pints of gravy, mmmm.  I really enjoyed last night’s carvery at the Holly Bush in Whitchurch, Cardiff – and only £4.49 each during the week.  Great value.

 ·         Indian lunches – No entry on the Currybeast website would be complete without acknowledging the importance of spice dealers.  Check your local restaurants for special lunchtime deals.  Some offer all you can eat buffets.  If these are not available, consider our regular habit of ordering too much takeaway (imagine an extra two seats at the table, but your guests then don’t show up).  Voila!  Instant blow-out with the possibility of a lovely reheated meal the next day.

 ·         Buffets – Meetings, especially those in the public sector, cannot go ahead without someone ordering large platefuls of sarnies and bites.  Don’t be afraid to gorge yourself – too many people in the room will be polite and only take a small amount.  Be that day’s trend-setter and be first to head back for a refill… and then do it again!

 ·         Buffet breakfasts – Some of the better hotels in the UK offer an amazing array of high cholesterol to start the day.  If you can face it, stay at a hotel with a breakfast bar and serve yourself a huge portion of meat, with meat on the side, and eggs to dip it in.

 ·         Harry Ramsdens – One of my personal favourites.  Harry’s used to be a (badly kept) Yorkshire secret, but they now have outlets across the UK.  Now they may no longer be the best fish and chips around – Bridgend now houses the best chippy in the country - but they are still darned good and they have a wonderful menu choice called “Harry’s Challenge”.  A truly enormous white oval plate is filled with chips and topped with a gigantic boneless, skinned, fillet of cod.  Served with bread and butter, a pot of tea and two ramekins of beans, peas or best of all, mushy peas, this is a meal to remember.  But the fun does not end there.  Finish your plateful and you are rewarded with a free dessert (I had sticky toffee pudding and custard) and a certificate!!!  My two certificates are treasured possessions now and reminders of a true eating marathon.

 Chapter 2 – Methods

Modesty and politeness have no place at the table when a monster repast is in progress.  You are about to embark on one of the labours of Hercules, so do not try to eat like you are dining at Sandringham.  If you do, you might run out of time or worse, you might actually fill up before the plate is cleared.  This is one of life’s great embarrassments and must be avoided at all costs.  Better to order a normal meal than to be beaten by a mega blast.

 Having decided to try a bit of a challenge, it is important to do some forward planning.  The following hints may be useful:

 ·         If you are new to the game, be sure to eat a little less during the meal previous to the big one and do not fill up on space filling devices such as water and alcohol. 

·         Dress sensibly.  Although you are going out for dinner, you should wear sensible trousers (or skirt) with an elasticated waistband or a belt with a few holes to spare.  I would also recommend not wearing a new shirt or blouse – you might be shovelling in food for more than an hour and anyone can make a mistake in that time.  Again, don’t be a fashion victim – XXL is no disgrace and allows room for expansion.

·         When you start to eat, don’t stop or slow down too much.  The trick to consuming large quantities is not to allow your brain to realise that you are full.

·         Ask if your chosen restaurant allows pets and bring your dog.  This is not to feed the little chap scraps under the table (a heinous crime), but to have someone with you to blame for the inevitable farts.

·         Do not attempt to get up too quickly afterwards

·         Ignore the heckling (especially from your partner) and you should be rewarded with words of praise and admiration from the waiting staff.  I have fond memories of Harry Ramsdens in Cardiff, “…we would like to congratulate you on finishing the meal and we would add that this was the fastest we have ever seen it eaten!”  They really were too kind.

·         And finally… at all costs do not offer to share your meal with anyone.  This weakness will not be tolerated.  You know who you are!

 Chapter 3 - Freebies

 A quick word about gifts and freebies.  Obviously, there is no such thing as a free lunch and there is also no such thing as a free lunch memento.  But be sure to check out the places that offer free T-Shirts, desserts, certificates and so on.  Your reminder of a lovely day will last much longer than the indigestion and may inspire others to adopt your enviable lifestyle.

 Chapter 4 – And finally…

 When you are a seasoned veteran of the mega meal brigade, you will have a new perspective on life.  Challenges will be sought out and overcome.  Nothing will be impossible.  Eating big can change your life for the better… for ever!

 If you are still in any doubt, watch that classic film “The Great Outdoors”, with John Candy and Dan Ackroyd.  A 96oz steak is not something to be feared.


The Stool Checker