For a while now I’ve been eating like a Mad Man. Not a maad man but as in Mad Men – the TV programme? Set in a 60s advertising agency on Madison Avenue in Manhattan?
You either know what I’m on about or you don’t. If you don’t, you’ve missed a treat that DVD boxsets and Christmas were made for. If you do, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Three martinis, two olives and six cigarettes. That’s lunch sorted then…
Steaks from the 60s
The 60s weren’t just famous for pop music, the Beatles, mini skirts, mini cars, a growing economy, optimism, the Vietnam War, the Kennedys, the Quants, The Twig, The Shrimp and The Stamp. Oh no. In the 60s, if you went on a diet you eat steak. Lots of it. And they are always eating steak on Mad Men.
So I do too. As I think I may have said elsewhere, don’t ever imagine I am joking when I tell you that I am very shallow. If they eat a lot of steak on a programme I enjoy watching very much then I will too.
WeightWatchers 60s high protein diet
In the 60s diets were very high in protein, lower in fats and very low in carbs. In fact Betty Francis – the former Mrs. Don Draper – attends a WeightWatchers group at the beginning of series/season 5 of Mad Men. Fascinating to see how little these groups/classes have changed in 50 years. I went to WeightWatchers once. I have the badge from reaching goal weight. But they don’t give you one for putting it all back on. Mind, their business model would fail if we didn’t mostly fail on our diets. (Though course that won’t happen on THIS diet!)
But I digress! The point about the food on Mad Men is that it’s so delicious and yet so simple and easy to prepare. Lots of steaks – clients are always being taken out for steaks and a show by the gorgeous Ken Cosgrove if they’re lucky; Pete Campbell if they’re not. Food cooked at home is invariably a steak or meatloaf.
Meaty beefy big and bouncy
They love their dinner parties on Mad Men and I love how the food they depict on the show is probably the simplest way to imitate this elegant, sophisticated, beautifully-made programme. In the 60s, many things were simpler yet stylish, wonderfully designed and eminently desirable.
Life today seems endlessly complicated, complex and nuanced after watching a few Mad Men back to back – don’t pretend you don’t do this if you’re a fan, I know you’re lying cos I know you do!
Bingeing isn’t just for food
If you’re overweight, chances you like a binge. Bingeing on boxsets, surely the most modern deadly sin, is a different calorie-free way of indulging yourself and why not? Ape the simple designs of the gorgeous clothes but ape the food too! Surely the food has had the least attention? We notice all the smoking, sex and drinking. But they eat divinely too.
My dinner most evenings now comprises a steak or a steak burger served with chestnut mushrooms cooked in butter and dijon mustard and served with green beans. Mixed berry fruit and thick cream to follow. And perhaps a square of the darkest chocolate to match the darkness of Don Draper’s suits and soul.
Winning the inch war
In the 60s we called it the inch war. And this being a time of high protein/low carb dieting there were plenty reduced starch products on the supermarket shelves to help. My inch war is working. I’ve lost another inch off my waist – now down to an impressive (for me!) 34 inches. That’s a total of five inches off. Soon I’ll be able to don those waist-clinching dresses the Mad Men women wear. Frankly, it’s the main thing that’s keeping me going on this diet.
See you later in the week.