But I've encountered a dilemma. I love eating out, but I am not sure if I am 'allowed' (I say that figuratively speaking) to do it. So imagine the flurry I got myself into when the telephone rang this week.
"Hello Annie, is that you?" I recognised my friend on the end of the line.
"Yes, it is you lucky devil," I replied.
"Ermmmm, yes... quite," came the response, "just wondered if you fancied eating out at a restaurant in Oxford this evening."
"Oooh, which restaurant?" I asked.
"The Rice Box, on Cowley Road."
"I don't know if I can, because I am on a diet," I said.
"Ah," came the reply and we both pondered for a while.
"I suppose if I steer clear of the lardy stuff it can't hurt," I replied.
"Cool, I'll pick you and Izzy up at 6.30pm."
By 7pm, we arrived at the Rice Box. From the outside it looked pretty basic, but as the old adage goes; don't judge a book by it's cover. We opened the door and entered, and shiver me timbers, the inside was all pretty basic too.
"Where have you brought us?" I hissed through my teeth, surveying the bolted-down formica tables and benches, and strip lighting.
Pic.No.1. The interior of the Rice Box on Cowley Road. It was not sumptuous
"Shut your mush and give it a go," I was told uncategorically. Upon closer inspection of the restaurants's clientele, I noticed something promisng. Most of the patrons seemed to be of Chinese origin. Surely it's gotta be a good sign if a Chinese restaurant is good enough to attract Chinese diners?
I perched myself on the edge of one of the benches and proceeded to study the menu. The dishes were all pretty much what you would expect from a Chinglish restaurant, and I tried to guess which ones were going to the most complementary in terms of my diet. In truth, I had no idea, and the dish I selected (Chicken Chow Mein) was a stab in the dark in terms of the amount of calories it was going to yield. Crikey, I really am not cut out for this
And then something suspicious happened. Our meals were literally served within three minutes of handing over our cash. How the bloody hell did they manage that? They couldn't have got 'em quicker if they had served them by catapult.
But as it happens, the food was actually very tasty, so I am surmising that the restaurant had just decided to employ a National Fast Cooking champion or something similar.
Pic.No.1. Me wielding a spring roll as though it was an offensive weapon. I like doing things like that. Later on in the meal, I pretended that a sweet and sour chicken ball was a shot put
Pic.No. Izzy insisted that her teddy join us for dinner. He normally goes by the (imaginative) name of Cuddly, but when he is in superhero mode, we have to address him by his alterego; Fat Cat Supercat
So all in all a very pleasant night out - good food at reasonable prices. But the Rice Bowl is not somewhere you should go if you are trying to impress a date. They would think that you were penny pinching and would dump you after the first date, and then they would text all their mates saying... 'I just went out with the tightest date ever tonight. He was so tight that his butt cheeks squeaked.' And you wouldn't want that happening would you?
So back to this diet thing, yeh I am a bit confused about eating out now. Should I not do it because I am on a diet? Given that a diet is meant to be a permanent change of eating habits, does that mean I can never eat out again? I mean, that's not an option - I would quite simply perish if I couldn't eat out. I would be like a Gremlin exposed to bright light. There's gotta be a solution?