Taking Stock - 5 December 2011

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There’s nothing better than a Sunday dinner.

Preferably beef, or lamb (although My Good Wife insists on chicken), roasties, Yorkshire puds, veggies and a boat full of gravy – no granules mind, it has to be made from the juices in the tin.

I pride myself on my slap up Sunday grub but, I’ll admit, it does make rather a lot of mess. There’s the mixing bowls, pud trays, roasting tins, sticky stuffing if it’s chicken – and that’s before you’ve dealt with the plates, cutlery and table cloth, thanks to those inevitable spills.

It’s a full load for a dishwasher.

Unfortunately the dishwasher in our house has two legs, a ginger beard and a sideline in journalism.

So, from time to time, there’s nothing wrong with a little treat – a trip to the carvery.

It might not be a match for good old fashioned homemade fayre but at least somebody else takes care of the dirty dishes.

Of course, being a bloke, when it comes to a buffet my eyes are always bigger than my stomach which, given the increasing size of my waistline, is quite an achievement.

At this point I should point out that, unlike Alan Partridge, I don’t have an extra large plate for such occasions. But I have become a master of structural engineering – specialising in the medium of roast potatoes.

Of course, while you can load up on the veggies the meat is very strictly a rationed affair.

The chap behind the polished counter may be wearing a chef’s hat, but his role is strictly security related – stopping gluttons like me making off with half a leg of lamb.

The eyes and stomach discrepancy is not limited to the world of carveries.

Takeaways are another world of temptation.

Order a curry and it has to come with papadums, naan bread, samosas and those kebabs which, thankfully always taste better than they look.

A Chinese, well, that has to come with ribs or wings, a quarter of a duck, prawn crackers and special fried rice.

In truth a starter would probably be enough and, by the time I’m tucking into the main course, I’m normally bursting at the seams.

But it’s paid for and, my god, it’s going to get eaten – after all we don’t have a dog.

You’d think by now I’d have learned my lesson – to restrain myself at the buffet or when the takeaway menus come out.

But that’s not going to happen so I’m going to have to come up with my own plan.

Maybe I will start taking my own plate to the carvery after all – a smaller one.

That way I might just stand a chance of clearing it.