All you can eat? I take those words as a promise – and a challenge

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: MilanEXPO/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: MilanEXPO/Getty Images

There’s a Twitter account called Fake Showbiz News that is occasionally kind/cruel enough to feature me as the subject of one its “exclusives”. Even if there’s an unpleasant undertone to the story, I’m at the stage in my “showbiz” career that, pitiably, I can’t help being grateful for any sign that I’ve not been forgotten. This week’s offering was so close to the truth that I didn’t know whether to wince, laugh or cry: “Adrian Chiles ordered to leave bottomless brunch following ‘misunderstanding’.

The ring of truth here has aggravated my tinnitus. I’ve never been to a bottomless brunch but, if I had, there would indeed have been the chance of a misunderstanding, as until now I didn’t realise the “bottomless” refers to the booze not the food. Though I can put far too much alcohol away from time to time, unlimited food will always cause me more problems. Unlike many excessive drinkers, with booze I have a functioning off-switch; with food I have no off-switch at all.

Related: Bottomless brunch: unlimited prosecco sounds like a good idea – until you’re on your fifth glass

This is something I’ve been aware of since an evening in Salt Lake City in 1987. A couple of friends and I were travelling by Greyhound bus across America. Being on a tight budget, we were delighted to come across something we had never seen before: an all-you-can-eat restaurant. We filled our boots. My friends were soon full, as was I, but that didn’t stop me. I ate and ate and ate. The waiters were amused at first, then a little annoyed. As I troughed plate after plate, the annoyance turned to alarm and, finally, to admiration. Word reached the kitchen and soon the chefs appeared for a look at this gluttonous monster. I was applauded out of the place at the end of the evening. Who knows, I may even have been mentioned in the local press.

The three of us spent a long, sleepless night in an airless room in the cheapest of motels. We travelled south from there the following morning. It wasn’t until we reached Austin, Texas – more than 1,000 miles away – that my digestive discomfort passed.

• Adrian Chiles is a writer, broadcaster and Guardian columnist

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