What's in your basket? Tony Parsons

'Food is a way of communing with your past. Beans on toast is my equivalent of Proust's Madeleine - one bite, and it's a la recherche du Billericay, which is where I grew up. I have happy memories of drinking Tsing Tao Chinese beer with my best mate who lives in Hong Kong. It is my all-time favourite beer. I always buy it from my local supermarket, Oriental City at Colindale, North London, which my Japanese wife, Yuriko, introduced me to. I only allow myself to drink it once a week though: I don't mind getting old, but I refuse to get fat. Men should be a bit more neurotic about putting on the pounds. We need a few more eating disorders. However, I don't resist Pocky - Japanese chocolate sticks. They're perfect when writing and you have that mid-afternoon energy lag. The sugar goes into your bloodstream and, hey presto, another best-selling novel is closer to completion.

Lunch is for wimps and wasters. Why? It breaks the day up. I like to meet people for breakfast at places like Smiths of Smithfield and Claridge's. Lunch will be a quick bacon sandwich made with a Japanese imitation of white sliced western bread. Slightly wrong, but better than the stuff you get here. You buy it in the Oriental City bakery. The bacon is Danish(not organic because I think buying organic is a lot of self-righteous masochism). I'll put barbecue sauce in the sandwich. I became addicted to it on a book tour of the American south. So, a quick bacon sandwich will do me, and then 100 lengths of my pool. Dinner could be dim sum - the pork dumplings at Oriental City are better than anything in Chinatown. I snack on tons of Inarizushi - it's white rice stuffed inside sweetened tofu wrapping. Bananas are another snack - I like them firm and fresh, like my women, not bruised and few days past their sell-by date. Pampers (my daughter's favourite nappies) are another thing that always go in my basket. She gets a bit leaky with anything else.'

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Danish bacon

Even if Tony has no concern for animal welfare, the opportunity to avoid some potentially toxic chemicals seems like a no-brainer to me. Some might even say that organic bacon tastes better too. When Tony described opting for organic as masochistic, I can only imagine he was suffering a bout of the confused thinking that can come when blood sugar levels hit a low point.

Japanese white sliced bread

Like a lot of the foods in Tony's basket, this food will tend to cause a considerable surge in the level of sugar in his bloodstream. However, after this initial lift, a spot of overcompensation may lead to low blood sugar levels later on. Eating a diet based on blood sugar stabilising foods such as meat, fish, vegetables and wholegrains may help keep Tony's creative juices flowing, and might even make him a nicer person too.


It's nice to see that Tony manages to get some fresh produce into his diet somewhere, though this looks like a bit of a token effort. Eating decent quantities of a variety of fresh fruit and veg is likely to bring much needed goodness to Tony's nutritionally bereft diet.

Heinz BBQ sauce

This contains hefty quantities of sugar and salt, two generally undesirable elements he seems to get in more than ample quantities elsewhere in his diet.


There is some evidence that the hormone-like chemicals known as phytoestrogens in tofu may help prevent prostate cancer. However, the refined white rice in this snack is fast sugar-releasing, and this won't be helped any by the presence of added sugar too. The Japanese are renowned for their healthy diet. What a shame Tony seems to have his fill of some of the worst elements of it.

Tsing Tao beer

Recent evidence suggests that moderate drinking (up to three units a day) is unlikely to manifest as surplus pounds. The weight-conscious Tony may believe he's doing the right thing in keeping his love of this beer bottled up, but I reckon he could afford to live a little.

Pocky - Japanese chocolate sticks

Tony may enjoy the sugar rush that comes from eating this sort of food, but the hormone insulin his body will secrete in response encourages the accumulation of weight around the midriff. It may benefit Tony to learn that he doesn't need to drink beer to get a beer belly.

Heinz baked beans

This food's principal ingredient - beans - are a nutritious, high-fibre food that some research suggests might help reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease and colon cancer. However, I'm less enthusiastic about this tinned variety, on the basis that it is a processed food that comes with a fair amount of added sugar and salt.

Pork dumplings (dim sum)

Blood sugar surges from the white flour in dim sum are a distinct possibility, and the (non-organic) pork component cannot really be viewed as a redeeming feature. Another of Tony's favourite foods that it's difficult to make a case for from a nutritional perspective.

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.


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