Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Correspondent On Diet Repeatedly Lapses Into Food Reverie While Reporting

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cheesecakeCoral Gables, FL (AP) – Ever since she began a restrictive diet last month, Michelle Cowan, a correspondent for the Associated Press, has been unable to complete a sentence in her article submissions without lapsing into fantasies involving luscious chocolate desserts and other decadent gustatory experiences.

The reporter, 38, finally resolved over the summer to do something about the unsightly extra adipose tissue accumulating around her midsection, resembling in texture a brioche before it has been placed in the oven and baked to fluffy, buttery perfection. So she embarked on a strict regimen limiting her caloric intake to no more than 1500 calories in any 24-hour period, hoping to shed the extra weight within a reasonable amount of time and not be constantly consumed by unfulfilled thoughts of creamy, sumptuous cheesecake with a subtle but cinnamony graham cracker crust.

pb cupsInitially, Cowan’s resolve and the novelty of the effort combined to keep her appetite and imagination in check, but within three days of lower caloric intake, her cravings for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or fresh, crisp french fries became overpowering. Her editor and coworkers noticed that every statement, irrespective of its relevance to the subject at hand, included an unnecessarily lengthy exploration of a memorable baked macaroni and cheese dish or homemade schnitzel right from the skillet, for example.

Within a week, the phenomenon had crept into Cowan’s written work, as well, at first manifesting as out-of-place analogies to chocolate-covered pretzels or a croissant. Her editors quickly noticed that the analogies to comfort food slipped into Cowan’s sentences as smoothly as warm butterscotch pudding down a waiting throat. The obsession began affecting others in the newsroom, spreading so quickly that virtually the entire staff of writers found themselves employing metaphors of toll house cookies, garlic-roasted potatoes, and, in the case of the sportswriters, wine-and-herb tilapia sizzling in the pan.

gnocchiManaging Editor Mark Mywords attempted to address the problem directly by sending out a group e-mail with a reminder of certain style policies, but was drowned out as reporters and interns shared recipes for teriyaki beef and gnocchi with tomato cream sauce. He followed up with a disciplinary meeting for several egregious offenders, at which Cowan and fellow correspondent Samantha Drakes continued to turn every line of conversation into a discussion of Entenmann’s crumb-topped donuts.

This is not the first time a journalism outfit has been compromised by thoughts of garlicky chicken soup with fluffy dumplings. A similar development occurred at the Washington Post in 1994, the year this reporter discovered a deli with a stacked corned-beef-on-rye to make even the most die-hard vegan salivate. The New York Times suffered the same fate in 1971 and 1973, when editor A. M. Rosenthal brought in leftovers from a family member’s Bar Mitzva celebration, and reporters were stuffing themselves on cream cheese rugelach for weeks.

At press time, this reporter was still ravenously desirous of a pastrami burger.


Written by Thag

September 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm

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