In this month's "The way we were," Ian Irvine explores diets detailed in memoirs and lettersby Ian Irvine / September 19, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
William Banting, undertaker, publishes his Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public:
“Of all the parasites that affect humanity I do not know of, nor can I imagine, any more distressing than that of Obesity, and, having just emerged from a very long probation in this affliction, I am desirous of circulating my humble knowledge and experience for the benefit of my fellow man.
“For breakfast, I take four or five ounces of beef, mutton, kidneys, broiled fish, bacon, or cold meat of any kind except pork; a large cup of tea (without milk or sugar), a biscuit, or one ounce of dry toast. For dinner. Five or six ounces of any fish except salmon, any meat except pork, any vegetable except potato, one ounce of dry toast, fruit out of a pudding, any kind of poultry or game, and two or three glasses of good Claret, Sherry, or Madeira—Champagne, Port and Beer forbidden.
“For tea. Two or three ounces of fruit, a rusk or two, and a cup of tea without milk or sugar. For supper. Three or four ounces of meat or fish, similar to dinner, with a glass or two of Claret. For a nightcap, if required. A tumbler of grog, (gin, whisky, or brandy, without sugar) or a glass or two of Claret or Sherry.”
Richard Burton, filming in Paris, writes in his diary:
“I’ve decided to go on a mild diet, called ‘The Drinking Man’s Diet,’ to see if I can lose a few pounds gently. This morning in pyjamas I was 13 stone 2 pounds. I’d like to be 12 stone 7 pounds. [It was a] day of funny moods. It began well enough with blue skies and a promise of taking E […