Wednesday, 24 October 2012

"...and for your penance drink two flat whites"

Gluttony is an ugly word and, worse, an ugly sin.

Quite rightly, in my view; it comes second only to Lust in the listing of the Seven Deadly Sins and above Greed.

I am not given to the sin of gluttony in a mortal sense; just an occasional extra slice (or two) of cake or an extra glass of Possum's Spleen, I hope that such transgressions register only on the venial scale.

The thing about gluttony is that it can kick in with relatively small (venial sin) amounts or with massive (mortal sin) quantities.
I can't imagine that with lust or sloth for that matter. You cannot surely only be a little lustful or a little idle.
You lust totally and laziness is not a sin of half measures, whereas gluttony can be.

A flat white, or rather two, can lead to black sin

What brings me to this topic is coffee, what is called in Australia (where, I believe it hails from) a flat white.

A flat white is a most delicious form of coffee comprising two shots of good quality espresso followed by hot milk that has been infused with steam so that its nature changes and it takes on a marvellous creamy appearance.
But, it doesn't end there. The steam enhanced milk must be married to the coffee taking the milk from the bottom and not the top of the jug.

The result is a coffee par excellence.
I became addicted to this style of coffee when visiting Australia and it became so bad that I had to have a caffeine fix every morning before 10am and thereafter at 2 hourly intervals.

So when my local branch of Marks & Spencers featured flat whites on their menu, I was there in a flash.

Suddenly, I was volunteering to do the shopping; I became, in a short space of time, a veritable shopaholic.
But the reality was much more sinister. I was hooked on flat whites once more.

It reached a peak last week when I decided that they were so good that I would order two cups at the same time.

Luckily, I have nerves of steel and so was able to withstand Mrs L's snorts of derision and open laughter when I arrived at the table bearing my two cups, in a rather jealous fashion I do admit.

I had reasoned with my conscience, (as a Catholic aspiring to goodness) and theorised that, as I had worked hard for 50 odd years, I could be allowed to drink two coffees one after the other; it was, I decided not a vice and it was even my actual duty to do so. The caffeine would liven me up and stop me nodding off at 30 minute intervals.

And so it was I duly quaffed the coffees with great speed and relish.

And then, and then, I felt something akin to a punch in my chest from the Klitschko brothers followed by severe palpitations.

How dreadful, I thought, to have a heart attack in M & S and shuffle off my mortal coil between ladies underwear and kitchen utensils. I had such high notions for a final exit, and they didn't include a department store.

Soon my forehead was bathed in sweat and a dull pain took over my frame and then, the realisation hit me.

It was the effect of drinking 4 shots of espresso ultra prestissimo.

Never again, I vowed while my wife rocked silently with cruel laughter, and, true to my words, I have not touched a flat white since.

This form of gluttony is, I reflected, self regulatory.

You commit the sin and then penance is dished out instantly - but I think I shall still have to add it to my ever increasing list ready for confession proper.

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