Jack and Mrs. Sprat

by Peggy Duffy    

"Dr. Sprat, welcome, your table is ready." The maitre-d' ushered them in.

"Madame, don't you look lovely," he said, sliding the chair out for Mrs. Sprat.

"Thank you, Pierre."

"We have three specials tonight," he said. "Duck a l'orange with wild rice and fresh steamed vegetables. A fresh halibut steak in champagne sauce with garlic roasted potatoes and vegetables. And a smoked salmon fettuccine."

"Cream sauce?" Dr. Sprat asked.

"Yes, but of course we can prepare it to your liking."

"Give us a few moments."

"Certainly, Monsieur. Anything to drink?"

"I'll have a Guinness."


"A vodka martini, thank you."

"I'll be back in a few minutes to take your order." He did not need to leave a menu. The Sprats ate here nightly.

"A Guinness? Really Jack, aren't you taking this to extremes?"

"It's a complex carbohydrate."

"Well, there are no carbs in my martini. So, what shall it be?"

"The fettuccine is clearly out. With the fat content of that cream sauce. That leaves the duck or halibut."

"The champagne sauce sounds heavenly, but I've a craving for duck."

"Duck it is then," Jack said. "The wild rice is a complex carbohydrate and better than the potatoes anyway."

"Will the rice be filling enough for you?"

"They have the best whole wheat rolls here, remember?"

"I don't eat bread, remember?"

Pierre returned with their drinks.

"Two orders of the duck," Jack said. "And bring another basket of these rolls."

"Very well, monsieur."

Jack picked up a roll. "Butter?"

"Don't mind if I do." She let a pat melt on her tongue.

When dinner arrived, the waiter placed the two platters in the middle of the table and clean plates in front of each of them.

"Duck for you, a la Atkins," Jack said, placing both servings onto her plate. "Steamed vegetables and rice for me, a la Ornish. Tomorrow we'll weigh in and see who's lost the most this week."

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