As we start the year, many of us are considering how on earth to get rid of the mountains of mince pies, chocolates and brandy that have passed from lips to hips over the last few weeks.
Every newspaper and magazine is full of top tips on how to lose pounds fast, and we find it easy to get swept away in the euphoria of becoming a sylph or Adonis in ten days. Beware, however! If you are like this household, there will still be outstanding invitations to shooting, supper or drinks parties lingering over January and early February, and whilst you will be keen to stay on the wagon, you must not impose your new fad diet of cabbage tea and pine kernel wraps on an unwitting hostess.
As a host, it is always politic to ask your guests if they have any special dietary requirements by way of ‘is there anything you cannot eat?’, but it would be taking it far too far if a guest responded with a long list of the diet menu components, or even mentioned that they were following any form of regime whatsoever.
The only exception is for breakfast, where if you are staying in someone’s home and they ask what you like for breakfast, it is perfectly acceptable at that stage to mention one or two options, as long as they are easily obtainable and likely breakfast foods, and you do not get your hostess to start trawling the shelves of Selfridges Food Hall for Himalayan ‘yugi’ berries or the like!
If your hostess forgets to ask, or worse, you do not inform of any genuine dietary issues, then you must eat what is put in front of you. It is acceptable not to finish, and if the items on your plate are going to make you mentally quake, then you can push them around a bit and have a few mouthfuls, but remember: never over-burden a hostess, friend or a lover with details of your dieting regime. Never inflict your diets on others, and save your new-found ways to skeletal happiness for conversations over coffee with your best friend.
Founder, The English Manner