Winter is Upon Us…so Mandy eats stodge.


There’s something about the nip in the air, the frost on the lawn, the crunch of leaves underfoot, the smell of  pine trees, the sound of ski’s on snow, the velvet touch of  a reindeer’s nose…(okay, I’m going too far now) that makes me reach for the cooking pot. As I write, there’s a pot in the oven full of stew and dumplings and the aroma wafting from the kitchen is making me drool all over the keys.

The trouble is, we writers have a huge problem, and believe me, mine is getting huger by the day – Writer’s Bottom. For those who don’t know, that term refers to the fact that writers sit on their derrière for hours every day, typing away, while their bottom and other bits go without exercise.

Now in the summer it’s not so bad because a brisk walk seems quite appealing, but as we move into the rain, sleet , snow, hail and hurricane season it’s much nicer to sit inside by a warm computer and stock up on the fifty tons of stodge that I seem to crave. I mean, I get the reason why we as humans needed to put down layers of fat to see us through the winter back in the day, but nowadays there’s no excuse.  Even so, when winter comes, I consume enough to see a grizzly bear through a Canadian winter.

As well as the aforementioned stew and dumplings, there’s sausage and mash, sometime with cauliflower cheese, heart-warming pasta, sometimes with garlic bread, cake, biscuits, chocolate, (and wine, though wine consumption is pretty much unaffected by the seasons). And that’s just for breakfast…

I am a fairly sane person, though some might dispute that, and do know what happens when I eat this stuff. But something about winter makes me disregard that nagging little voice in my head that whispers, step away from the biscuits, the chocolate, the dumplings, etc. I’m wondering if anyone else has this compulsion to stuff themselves stupid at this time of year? If yes, do you have any tips to share about making the little voice nag a bit louder?

I know there are some very sensible writers out there who mange to stay slim and enjoy exercise, (shudder.)  Amongst this fine community of Choc Lit writers, I know for a fact that there is a  hula hooper and a zumba wumba, to name but two. Even though I realise this is the way forward… I just can’t seem to be sensible. And don’t even get me started on Christmas eating…so, what’s the answer? I’d love to know.

18 thoughts on “Winter is Upon Us…so Mandy eats stodge.

  1. When you find the answer, Mandy, let me know!

    Or you could put it down in a book …

    Liz X

  2. As someone currently counting Weightwatcher points (I just reached 57 ;)) this is a very cruel topic, Ms James! I love stew and dumplings, porridge, hot crumpets with butter oozing, and crusty bread with a hunk of cheese. And that’s just for breakfast.
    The answer? Eat whatever you like, in moderation, and preferably not all on the same day. I’m quite lucky because one or two choccies from the Quality St tin is enough – I can restrict myself very well. What I can’t do is give up completely – although I’ve been really good with the tub of unopened Kelly’s ice-cream in the freezer. Kelly’s is possibly by biggest weakness – until I started WW, I was eating a quarter of a tub each night, with a mini-flake crumbled over it for good measure.

  3. My suggestion was going to be Zumba but I see you’ve already dissed it. Harrumph! 🙂

    I didn’t think I’d ever have occasion to say this to you, Mandy, but your dumplings look gorgeous. x

  4. I’m with you here, Mandy – evidently, LOL. Afraid I’ve not a clue as to the answer – although I like to think, in my case, it’s ligter-life. But until I can afford to join, I’ll just have to keep comforting myself 🙂

  5. As I am about to put a big chicken stew in the bottom of the oven to cook slowly and fill the house with lovely aromas, this post is perfect timing. However….I find when I am writing – and really in the story – I forget to eat and I’ve lost count of the number of cups of coffee that have gone stone cold. Neither of these things are good for writers’ rear, alas.
    Oh, and you can get vegetarian suet for your dumplings, Mandy – not a veggie myself, just saying …. a bit less fat if that will help.

  6. Mandy – the look at those dumplings made me double-check what we were planning for have for dinner tonight. And it’s only just gone 10am! Joking aside, I, too, love stuffing myself but in the last couple of years have made a concerted effort to have only 1 portion, not 2. I don’t really need the 2nd portion, do I? Oh, and I’ve managed to get through whole series of NCIS, CSI, and Castle by exercising while watching TV, so perhaps the key is multi-tasking…?

  7. Last time I was with my mother, I told the district nurse how to make dumplings. She thought they would be difficult to make and you’d have to buy a packet mix. No – they’re disastrously simple. I usually stick a few on the top of any winter casserole. Who needs a waistline? BTW I hate exercise and avoid it as much as possible.

  8. Mandy, you’ve just described my daily breakfast!
    Seriously though, writers bottom at least keeps you comfortable, and imagine all those fresh veggies in your stew…! x

  9. Sometimes I whip my stew off the hob, and stick it in the oven for 15minutes or so, thereby making the dumplings lovely and crusty…like cobbler.

  10. Please don’t hate me, but I don’t like carbohydrates, and it’s only that fact that means I can still get through doorways. That, and the fact that my daughter’s new college timetable means that I can fit in a half hour run four days a week now, instead of three. So I am entirely justified in eating this entire box of After Eights, aren’t I? With a marshmallow chaser.

    Although that stew does look good, Mandy…

  11. So glad it’s not just me, girls!

    Thanks, Liz, that might be an idea.

    And ice cream with a flake too, Liv! Yum. Keep up the good work with Weightwatchers:)

    I like doing Zumba actually, Sue, it’s just the thought of doing it. I need to get back into exercise mode – I used to run three times a week, but that was a looong time ago now. And I’m glad you like my dumplings! lol

    Sarah, we all need a bit of comfort now and then, I just need to restrict my intake like Henri suggests.

    Thanks, Henri – I need to borrow some of your will power. Can you post me some today please?

    Linda, I’m coming round to yours later, chicken stew – mmm. I use the veggie suet too!

    And, Margaret, you are so lucky! You are lovely and slim AND you can eat what you like…so unfair.

    Fresh veggies in my stew, Donna – yes, I’m quite healthy really aren’t I?

    Thanks for all your comments, girls. Now…what shall I have for tea? 🙂

  12. You are a ‘fairly sane person’ excuse me? Know where you are coming from, or sitting from. Cold weather brings on the ‘feed me stodge’. PLUS there’s so many mince pies, panatone and puds in the shops too, Sigh. As for exercise, ‘fraid the only ones I do regularly are letting my imagination run away with me or jumping to conclusions. It’s a hard (but tasty) life!

  13. Today I’m a little low on the old willpower, ‘cos we’re having chocolate banana cake for tea. But tomorrow, folks…. *slaps fist in other palm determinedly*

  14. As someone who eats chocolate for breakfast, I don’t feel I’m qualified to give any advice here really … 😀 But I would recommend making hot stews WITHOUT things like dumplings, ie. just meat and vegetables. That way it should all be fairly healthy stuff and will keep you warm without adding any layers anywhere!

  15. Jumping to conclusions should burn a few calories, thanks Carol:)

    Chocolate banana cake…can I come round for tea, Henri?

    Thanks, Pia. I shall refrain from making dumplings. I’ll get the OH to make them instead and then I’ll eat them! No. You are right 🙂 x

  16. Very timely post, Mandy. I can recommend the Hairy Bikers’ Diet Cookbook from personal experience (as a recipe user, rather than a Hairy Biker). They make delicious slimline versions of curries, stews and even PIES! Not sure about dumplings, but they would probably rustle some up from a packet of pizza base mix (which they use for their PIES).

  17. Thanks, Juliet. I remember seeing that programme where they made pie from pizza mix. Very tasty it looked too x

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