... a thin slice of bread and a cup of tea for breakfast and a light vegetable dinner with a bottle or two of seltzer water tinged with Vin de Grave.Other 19th century dieters:
Nietzsche tried a traditional restricted calorie diet and [Henry] James went in for Fletcherism, an elaborate system of chewing each morsel of food several hundred times.Fletcherism, eh? Horace Fletcher, "The Great Masticator" said we should only eat when "Good and Hungry" and never while angry or sad.
Seeing — at the linked Wikipedia article — that Mark Twain visited Fletcher, I decided to find some searchable text and happened upon this collection of 300+ Mark Twain works in the Kindle format for $1.99. I was hoping to find something about Fletcher. I didn't. But that's a side issue. I'm absolutely delighted to have a single searchable text of 300+ Mark Twain works. For 2 dollars. What a world we live in! What would Mark Twain have thought of it? Anyway, nothing about Fletcher, but what about chewing? Any morbid fascination with chewing? There's this dialogue:
"Do you love rats?"ADDED: The 1919 NYT obituary for Fletcher:
"I hate them!"
"Well, I do, too--LIVE ones. But I mean dead ones, to swing round your head with a string."
"No, I don't care for rats much, anyway. What I like is chewing-gum."
"Oh, I should say so! I wish I had some now."
"Do you? I've got some. I'll let you chew it awhile, but you must give it back to me."
That was agreeable, so they chewed it turn about, and dangled their legs against the bench in excess of contentment.
The theory is, in brief, that everybody eats too much and that the cure is to be found in thorough mastication of food....AND: There's also the first scene in Tennessee Williams's "Glass Menagerie," where our first glimpse of Tom's problems with his mother play out in the context of her admonitions about chewing:
During [WWI] Dr. Fletcher... was given the full opportunity... to demonstrate the worth of "Fletcherism" though which he taught the 8,000,000 starving Belgians to get the full nourishment from their food. Early in 1912 he had himself subsisted on a diet of potatoes for fifty-eight days.
AMANDA [to her son]: Honey, don't push with your fingers. If you have to push with something, the thing to push with is a crust of bread. And chew! Chew! Animals have sections in their stomachs which enable them to digest flood without mastication, but human beings are supposed to chew their food before they swallow it down. Eat food leisurely, son, and really enjoy it. A well-cooked meal has lots of delicate flavours that have to be held in the mouth for appreciation. So chew your food and give your salivary glands a chance to function !
[TOM deliberately lays his imaginary fork down and his chair back from the table.]
TOM: I haven't enjoyed one bite of this dinner because of your constant directions on how to eat it. It's you that makes me rush through meals with your hawk-like attention to every bite I take. Sickening - spoils my appetite - all this discussion of - animals' secretion - salivary glands - mastication!
AMANDA [lightly]: Temperament like a Metropolitan star! [He rises and crosses downstage.] You're not excused from the table.