A few Thanksgivings ago, as the long afternoon reached its tipping pointwere we going to open those last bottles of wine, or were we all simply going to collapse in front of an old movie?a friend dropped a geeky, but interesting, question: "Would you trade three IQ points for the ability to eat anything you wanted, for the rest of your life, and not gain a pound?"
We all agonized over this oneparticularly those of us who have alert appetites, ho-hum metabolisms and an almost perverse inability to shake off that extra 15 to 30 pounds. A few guests replied (after we'd opened those last bottles) that they'd hand over the IQ points right now, thank you very much. I was with the group that reckoned, alas, we didn't have even one extra point among us to spare.
What we all needed, I later thought, is one of those lovely doctors A. J. Liebling wrote aboutthe ones from pre-World War I France who "recognized that their role was to facilitate gluttony, not discourage it."