Critic, Wean Thyself

I lost my appetite yesterday when I read Sam Sifton’s “My Life in Food.”

The opening paragraph said he took in more than 24,000 calories. That was in a week’s worth of eating. Who measures calories by the week? Still, divided by seven, that’s 1,500 a day more than the RDA. I refuse to believe the commenter who said that 65 percent of Americans probably consume more calories.

Apart from the calories, the Sifton diet is high in two of the three food groups: fat and sodium. He commits less of a felony with sugar. I noticed before I read the comments that the diet totally flunks in the department of fruits and vegetables. I counted five actual servings of fruit and veggies, seven if you include the lettuce, tomato, etc. found in the hero sandwiches. That’s about 30 under the recommendation. Even my carnivore husband does way better than that with prompting from me. I didn’t count condiments such as the salsa verde or the onions in the creamed herring. Commenters also noted the lack of whole grains, which is as worrying as the dearth of fruits and vegetables.

Having gone out to dinner with a restaurant critic, I know it is possible to go out to eat multiple times a week and not pile on the pounds. We were allowed to take leftovers home.

Herewith a few suggestions on how to cut back without shirking the job or feeling deprived. I left the New Orleans visit alone. Vacation rules apply even if he was working.

  • Cut down the portions on each meal, e.g., eat two pancakes instead of three. Don’t finish everything on the plate. Those bites of pasta on Monday were exactly right.
  • Put either butter or syrup, not both, on the pancakes.
  • Change the cream in the coffee and on the oatmeal to milk, then downgrade from whole to 2 percent.
  • Eat half a bagel instead of a whole, and use light cream cheese.
  • Get pickled herring instead of the cream variety.
  • Skip the beurre blanc on the green beans.
  • Eat sherbet instead of ice cream.
  • Limit drinks to two at any meal.
  • Have scrambled or poached eggs instead of fried.
  • Add to the exercise regimen.
  • Omit the french fries or just nibble a few. (Hah!)
  • Add salad and fruit to each meal.
  • Don’t skip breakfast.
  • That Thursday dinner should have been divided into three meals.
  • Ditto Friday’s dinner.
  • Vietnamese sandwiches and soup before lunch are just too upsetting.
  • Substitute seltzer for soda with sugar.
  • Order junior size subs. If they aren’t filling enough, add fruit.

P.S.: I’m thrilled that you rated KFC’s Double Down “a must-avoid.” But why did you attack the folks taking for your picture? You did announce your intention to pay a visit to one branch or another of the fast-food emporium.


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