This Is Why We’re Fat – The Book Version (Part 1)

Aside from the obsession with literary blogs, lifestyle blogs and design blogs, I also adore a good many food blogs. A popular website This Is Why You’re Fat, has the public sending in photo evidence of the fattiest, sugariest treats humans could ever dream of consuming. If gluttony was a crime as well as a sin, Net Nanny would be blacklisting that site faster than I can ask: “Does my butt look big in this?”

Thankfully, we can look at these savage morsels without the repercussions ending up on our bellies, hips, thighs…our tastebuds can tremble, but that’s as far as it goes, and we are saved from at least one guilty pleasure in life. Or so it would seem…

Why is it that certain books feature the most mouth-watering, epic feasts known to mankind?!

I blame Enid Blyton (in part). One of the first books I ever read, a picture book of hers entitled The Little Button Elves, was about several identical little elves who could only be told apart by the amount of buttons on their jackets, and so the numbers became their names (“One”,”Two”,”Seven” etc).

On their adventures in the woods they meet an old dame who has a number of freshly baked pies sitting in a glorious pile on her windowsill. The woman tells the elves not to eat the pies, but of course as soon as she leaves the room the pies are devoured and the elves run off. Turns out, however, that the old dame is a witch and enchanted the pies, knowing that the elves couldn’t help themselves. A little while away, the elves’ bellies full of pie are growing at an alarming rate until the buttons on their jackets begin to pop free! And so they can’t tell one another apart! Distressed and dismayed, they return to the dame’s house filled with remorse, and she is kind enough to sew their buttons back on their jackets (but not without telling them first that all they had to do was count the buttonholes – hah)!

I suppose the moral of the story is DON’T BE GREEDY, but I remember often flicking back through the pages to the picture of the pies on the windowsill, and thinking in my child-mind: “I wouldn’t mind growing fat by enchantment if I could eat one of those pies.” And so it began.
Nosiree, this isn’t where Enid Blyton’s literary food crimes end. I can’t count the number of times I attempted to host a Secret Seven clubhouse in our backyard, roping my mum into providing the scones and homemade lemonade that Janet’s mum seemed to whip up so effortlessly each meeting. And the Famous Five picnics! With ginger beer and those thick slices of ham on heavily buttered bread! The Folk of the Faraway Tree wasn’t doing me any favours either – I could literally feel the flood of honey from Silky’s pop biscuits and smell the deliciously steamy google buns offered by Moonface.

But it was the midnight feast in The Adventures of the Wishing Chair that undid me each and every time- had me begging my parents to go to the nearest grocery outlet in search of treacles and raspberry tarts, chocolate eclairs, marzipan and scotch eggs…I didn’t know what half these things were, but I knew they were disgustingly droolworthy and it ruined shaped my healthy eating habits childhood for a very long time forever. 

Yet as much I would like to place the blame squarely on her, Enid Blyton isn’t the only author sending me subliminal messages to eat, and I intend on outing these literary food criminals in Part 2 of ‘This Is Why We’re Fat – The Book Version’.

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Aimee Burton

Aimee Burton is a lawyer-in-training who still dreams of befriending unicorns. This blog will be her escape from reality, and hopefully it'll inspire her to finish writing that fantasy trilogy she's always promising her friends is "almost halfway" done.