BITES : Taking the SAT? Don't Forget to Cram

A study showing that "dieting makes you dim," as the London Daily Telegraph put it, was recently released by Britain's Institute of Food Research. It said that the effect of a weight-loss diet on memory and mental alacrity is equivalent to a double Scotch, though not as enjoyable. The cause is psychological, not physical, researchers said. Dieting produces a mental state akin to anxiety, so dieters's minds are just preoccupied.

The Flying Saucer Plate

It was noted by this scribe on a recent trip to Barcelona that some Spanish restaurants are serving a fast-food item called an OVNI. It's a sandwich toasted in a mold something like the French croque-monsieur mold, except that the sandwich comes out lens-shaped, rather than flat. OVNI stands for Objeto Volador No Identificado . . . that is, UFO. Sample OVNI filling: cheese, egg and chili con carne.

The Philosopher in the Kitchen

The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, famous for writing an impressive book about how speech must be a "picture" of reality and then another impressive book about how speech can't be a "picture" of reality, was not a foodie. He'd eat anything as long as it was the same thing every day.

Fried Mars

In other UK diet news, the Wall Street Journal reported last week on a Scottish craze for dipping Mars bars--yes, the American chocolate bars--in fish & chips batter and deep-frying them. Dietitians are viewing this with alarm, because Scotland has the highest incidence of heart disease in Western Europe.

One Chocatini, Barkeep--With an Olive

The Sutton Place Hotel in Newport Beach boasts of a line of "signature" martinis, like the Ranch Martini (gin and tequila), the Black Martini (vodka, Chambord liqueur and a twist) and the Chocolate Martini (vodka and chocolate liqueur, rimmed with cocoa). Since the martini is a drink of extreme simplicity and classicism, and martini lovers tend to be purists, this plan is either bold and interesting or the worst idea in cocktail history.

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