Pret a Manger – Prescribing Happiness

I have been having a horrific past year or so, and have struggled to find ways to cope, and one of them is to treat myself to a visit to this chain of cafes.

This may read like they are sponsoring me, but they really are good. Not just the friendly staff – that is not too rare, but their whole approach to food.

As far as I know they were the first to give their leftover food to the homeless.

They have no sell-by date on their food; as they say, it is made on the day it is sold, not shipped half way around the world or deep frozen or whatever.

They have beautifully arty photographs of food shaped or arranged in unusual ways. I love the fennel tea pot. They make you feel good about the food you eat. They make you feel like you have a lot more money, a much better life just by being surrounded by such fine art work.

The stuff they sell is seasonal, and they have a good selection of interesting vegetarian food. I love the artisan roll with egg, asparagus and mayonaise. Their coffee is great and they make one of the best carrot cakes I’ve ever had.

I had one particularly bad day when I was carrying too much stuff, for too long and every part of my body was screaming in pain. And it was raining. Their mushroom soup and mozarella cheese pastry most definitely saved my life. I am not joking. It really made that much difference.

They do not sell low fat food. They make it clear why. They believe we should eat well, and treat ourselves. To lose weight you should reduce what we eat, not cheat with low fat. I discovered this years ago when I was a keen mountain climber. I could never stop eating chocolate until I discovered European chocolate. It has a higher cocoa butter content which makes you feel full, whilst the cheaper stuff, like most junk food, just doesn’t tell your body when you are full. This is why the Atkins diet works.

So, whenever the world is falling apart around me, even if everyone is running around trying to flee the invading Martians, I will head straight to the nearest outlet of Pret. It’s the only safe place to be.

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