Is there anything worse than hearing smug slim people nag you with, ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a beggar?’ Unless I’m on holiday or on a business trip, I rarely eat breakfast at all (though I do occasionally enjoy bacon and eggs, albeit with a guilty conscience, at the weekend). A good strong cup of tea is always essential, but that’s another matter. I’ll only eat lunch if I notice that I’m hungry. Sometimes the distractions and pleasures of work, or sport, or shopping defeat the pangs and rumbles of an empty stomach. But a good dinner is essential, of at least two courses, preceded by nibbles. 8pm is best. I don’t hold with the Spanish habit of 9.30 or later.
Frankly, I don’t believe all that nonsense about the body using breakfast calories for good honest work, and storing dinner calories as fat, like a miser laying down gold. I’ve heard eloquent nutritionists saying that the only thing that really matters is how many calories you eat, not when you eat them, and that makes sense to me.
I watched a television program on the subject recently, and, true, a sample group of people who ate only between 10 am and 6 pm lost weight, but that was undoubtedly because they simply ate less. Eating less always works. That’s why I eat less in the mornings.
The Brazilians, though, offer a very tempting breakfast (at least, if our hotel near Florianopolis is anything to go by). Seven courses, a kind of ‘tasting menu’. And Brazilians are neither slimmer nor fatter than the rest of us, as far as I can tell.
Start with a kale, apple, lemon and ginger ‘shot’.
Then drink some orange and papaya juice.
Then a strawberry and mango thing.
After that, some yogurt, with grapes, quinoa and honey.
Don’t forget the tea (Fortnum and Mason, if available).
A few sandwiches, to keep the wolf from the door.
Followed by a selection of pastries.
With butter and an assortment of tropical jams.
A baked quail egg with spinach cream to follow.
And finally a stuffed pancake, but it was gone before I could photograph it. I’m not sure where it went.
I don’t know what it means to eat like a President, but I doubt that former President Lula will eat so well in jail, if that’s where he’s going. Whether over breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the chatter in Brazil is of nothing else.