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Byline: Kirstie McCrum

Feeling full? I am. In fact, I can't remember the last time I finished a meal at a restaurant and didn't feel absolutely stuffed to the gunnels.

Speaking as someone lucky enough to attend and review restaurants fairly regularly, I'm struck by how much food is served up in the average three-course meal.

Last night we ventured to one of the capital's newest eateries, so yesterday I actively watched what I ate all day, knowing that too many snacks were bound to make dinnertime... uncomfortable.

But still, when dessert came, a heaving belt buckle and a chronic pang of impending indigestion said: "That's enough, now".

Regardless, I bravely tucked in - I'm a pro, after all - but was left feeling like a contestant on some US-syle eating contest, a sort of Kirstie v Food which would end only when I shovelled the last mouthful into my chubby cheeks.

You'll be delighted to hear that I finished, of course. We McCrum girls were raised to clear our plates, and I'm not one to shy from a challenge, but it's uncanny how we seem to have adopted American values in terms of food servings.

Yes, finally the world's dominant culture has absorbed us into its increasing impressive folds of flab, where we're not happy that we've achieved true value for money unless we have meat sweats and shame in our hearts.

How many times I have spoken to friends returning from some Michelin-branded haute cuisine trek, only to listen to a whispered, "We had to go for a Maccy D's on the way home, there just wasn't enough food in those seven courses."

Because returning home from a meal out we have a desire to feel like we've converted cash into calories and are displaying the results proudly, a veritable food baby in front of us.

Don't get me wrong, last night's restaurant was gorgeous, lovely atmosphere, and the food was, in isolation, truly delicious. It's just that half of it would have been overkill.

And as I was raised that way, I never once said I felt full. Is this another McCrum thing? My mother considers it rude to exclaim, "I'm so full the button's about to fly off my jeans and nail the waitress between the eyes", or something similar.

No, the correct summation of a hearty meal that leaves your chair creaking is, "I have had sufficient". In my childhood, we were taught to utter that polite little phrase almost before our times-tables. "I have had sufficient," repeated around the table as a kind of a mantra, as if maybe it will help the sickness pass.

At home, clearly there were portion control issues at work. But I just can't leave anything on my plate. Even if I have very definitely had sufficient.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 24, 2013
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