As a restaurant critic, my body is not entirely my own; I sacrifice it weekly in the service of your reading pleasure. And then, through either self-denial or ugly straining in the gym, I declare war on the calories I have just eaten in the restaurants I have just visited so you wouldn’t have to. But what can I do? I am cursed with the sluggish metabolism of a Mitteleuropean peasant designed, by natural selection, to get through a harsh winter on the Russian steppe. It just happens that this peasant has been misplaced to metropolitan London where the only hunger gap I will ever encounter is the one between breakfast and lunch. Such is my privileged life.
Mitteleuropean does not mean the steppe. Before, about and around, the 1880s, the steppe meant nomad still. The Mitteleurope, as the name suggests, means the next bit over, the middle. Which is where the agricultural peasants were.