Is a drink too wet without one? I’m referring to our increasing love of cake and meeting for coffee. Picture this. It’s a Sunday afternoon in a charming little coffee shop in Harrow-on-the-Hill near the world famous boys’ school. I am surrounded by people eating cake, ice cream, scones and sundaes. I feel out of place as I order a flat white and a glass of elderflower cordial with sparkling water. It’s not that I am more virtuous than others. I just don’t love cake.
What struck me was the apparent stress free abandoned pleasure emanating from each table as cake slices the size of a brick were delivered. Perhaps most of the people in the café were on their cheat day, training for the marathon, were starving, had eaten less than 1000 calories yesterday or were going to eat less than 1000 tomorrow? We all know someone who is trying to lose weight or is on a diet. Was it possible that none of them were in this crowded café? Just as I begin to worry whether I’m obsessive about health, my friend admits she doesn’t like scones but ordered one anyway, being carried away by the moment and the atmosphere. I could relate to that. But the ambition to reach old age healthy and without chronic illness saves me from temptation.
On a trip to Milan a few years ago, I found it easy to have “just coffee”. It was the accepted norm. Clearly a drink’s not too wet there. Then again, perhaps they just serve better coffee – no additional guilty pleasure required.