x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

A year in potato denial

Twelve months with barely a carbohydrate and certainly no potatoes or potato-based products has created an indifference to the spud rather than a craving.

This month saw an anniversary of sorts for me. It wasn't the kind of date I'd normally celebrate, or at least not celebrate well, but it was something of a milestone. On May 8, it was a year since I last consumed a carb. A real carb, mind, of the cake, crisps and chips ilk. Before anyone writes in, I am aware that there are carbohydrates in celery (although this seems unfair).

This time last year I started the Dukan diet, which has recently been touted as the eating plan behind Pippa Middleton's behind. Tragically, I have yet to morph into the kind of creature who could upstage the bride at the Wedding of the Century™, but I still stand by it.

The diet appealed to me for two reasons. First, it sounded terribly sensible, promising sustainable weight loss, greater vitality, bags of energy and other things that I probably should care about. Second, it allowed you to eat steak - lots and lots of steak. In fact - and here's the big draw - it offered the opportunity to eat unlimited amounts of the stuff. The idea of an extended period spent in some form of carnivorous craze was, surely understandably, appealing and so I embarked on the regime.

The first few months saw me proceed in the way that I imagine Desperate Dan might behave on a works do at Chamas and, while I'd love to say that I started to long for a little balance, I really didn't. I should point out that I cheated wildly and, er, "adapted" the Dukan method to suit my own particular weaknesses (mostly Lindt and Roquefort), but in the main I held firm on the carb front.

There have been slips, of course. The occasional wild night in with a bag of cashews or an accidental encounter with a bowl of edamame. There were a couple of suppers at which I failed to entirely avoid the chocolate pudding and there was one small sandwich-related upset involving fear of flying, a private plane and a whimper-averting triangle of egg and cress. But the one thing I have managed to stick to is the potato ban.

Not a single chip, forkful of baked spud or smidgen of potato salad has passed my lips. No Kettle Chips, roasties, Jersey Royals or hash browns.

And so, a year on, now what? A return to a less restricted way of eating beckons, but I'm not as keen on this as I expected. I had thought that I would reach the end of my annus horribilis and plunge head-first into the nearest bowl of Dauphinoise. The odd thing is that I've come to regard the stodgy stuff with disdain.

It has been pointed out that my dining table demands ("No, no boiled potatoes thanks, but I will have the roast beef. Again.") can seem spoilt and I will admit that it has been great fun to have an excuse to reject anything boring-looking on the grounds that it's a bit too carby.

But, I suppose, all good things must come to an end and it may be time to grudgingly accept a little starch. On the upside, I'll probably get by better at events as deconstructing canapés and stashing small discs of bread in my clutch become unnecessary, my Spinneys bill will plunge and dinner parties may become slightly less fraught. Pass the mash.