Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Secret Diet Tip

Apart from getting a 3-day cold (Lord, I hope it's just a 3-day cold, because staying at home is getting old), here is my foolproof French recipe for keeping those sugar cravings at bay:

Yes, gentle reader, it is the French version of the fig roll (or fig newton, if you are American), about which I have spoken before. Their secret is that they bear just enough similarity to their juicy Irish counterparts

that having one after your meal tricks your taste buds into thinking they have had the desired sugar fix. Their "advantage" is that, unlike their juicy Irish or American counterparts, they are so mouth-desiccatingly dry that there is no temptation whatsoever to have a second. Their consumption is thus self-limiting. Addiction to the Leader Figue would be a sheer physiological impossibility.

Oddly enough, these amazing concoctions are not sold in the pharmacist's under the rubric of "diet aids" (are any of my readers old enough to remember when there was a diet aid called AIDS, broadly advertised in the Reader's Digest, in what now seems like an unimaginably innocent age?). No, they are sold on regular supermarket shelves.

The mystery of their origin (because the apparent complete lack of butter used in their manufacture seems as if it would be a crime on French soil) is partially resolved by closer inspection of the packing, which merely stipulates that they were produced "within the European Union". I think we know at least one country, just a stone's throw across the Pyrenees, that must be considered a suspect in the fabrication of the "Leader Figue". And, no, I'm not talking about you, Andorra.


  1. The Plain People of Ireland: Begob, that reminds me of yer man, Jim Figgerty.
    Whipping Cats Management: Enlighten us. Who was Jim Figgerty?
    PPoI: Sure he was that private detective that was always going around trying to fig-ure out "How do Jacob's get the figs in the fig rolls?" He had a raincoat and a fake moustache, looked kind of like a dirty old man.
    WCM: Ah yes, how the memories come flooding back in Proustian torrents.
    PPoI: Ah sure now you're confusing the fig roll with the madeleine, a confection of an entirely different complexion.
    WCM: Not for the first time, ye astound me with yeer erudition.

  2. I remember diet AIDS! As I recall, the key to their success (at least the kind we had here in the American south) was their extreme stickiness: the dieter would chew one, transforming it into a formidable mass of tenacious glue ~ which would then pull out amalgam fillings, cast off crowns, and even, so I was told, extract teeth. Et voilà! Fewer chompers to eat with.

  3. Mentos can have a similar effect, as I discovered on my first night in Buenos Aires. It wasn't all bad, though, as I went on to have a considerable amount of work done there, at a fraction of what if would have cost in the U.S.

  4. This is too embarrassing. I actually like fig newtons. On the other hand, I do remember Aids, when the word only meant a lousy "food" meant to curb hunger. I didn't know Gary's dental complaints about it; I could eat only one.
    And, for more embarrassment, I don't know what country is across the Pyrenees and I'm too lazy right now to look it up. Germany? or is Germany in a completely different direction? Was the Battle of the Bulge in the Pyrenees?
    No need to answer; I'll look it up soon. But one more word about figs. We had a wonderful fig tree on the farm where I grew up. My brother replanted a part of it where it now thrives in Santa Monica. He does not sell figs to cookie companies!

  5. Well, I looked up the Pyrenees and it must be Spain you refer to. The name Bahnsen is German (my grandfather came over as a teenager) so I should feel guilty for thinking you must mean Germany. Also, now I know where Andorra is.

  6. Bebe. Yes, Spain's the one. The legendary dryness of Spanish baked goods was kind of a running gag on my Spanish blog (MAINLY ON THE PLAIN), where I would occasionally feature a so-called OPERATION BAKED GOODS update, often to highlight some fresh Spanish atrocity. The Iberians, it appears, like their cookies dry. To the point they could be used as anti-desiccants to replace those "DO NOT EAT" sachets you see in new luggage.