Ellington Diet

"Duke Ellington, who is always worrying about keeping his weight down, may announce that he intends to have nothing but Shredded Wheat and black tea. When his order arrives, he looks at it glumly, then bows his head and says grace. After he has finished his snack, his expression of virtuous determination slowly dissolves into wistfulness as he watches Strayhorn [composer William 'Sweepea' Strayhorn, his arranger] eat a steak. Duke's resolution about not overeating frequently collapses at this point. When it does, he orders a steak, and after finishing it he engages in another moral struggle for about five minutes. Then he really begins to eat. He has another steak, smothered in onions, a double portion of fried potatoes, a salad, a bowl of sliced tomatoes, a giant lobster and melted butter, coffee, and an Ellington dessert -- perhaps a combination of pie, cake, ice cream, custard, pastry, jello, fruit, and cheese. His appetite really whetted, he may order ham and eggs, a half-dozen pancakes, waffles and syrup, and some hot biscuits. Then, determined to get back on his diet, he will finish, as he began, with Shredded Wheat and black tea."

["He is usually surrounded by an admiring crowd, which watches him with friendly awe. He chats with the chicks in the group and may turn from his steak or lobster to say pleasantly to one of them, 'You make that dress look so beautiful.' He is not a bit embarrassed by the fact that he said the same thing the night before to another chick in another town. Sometimes he will pause before eating a dessert awash in rich yellow cream and say to a girl, 'I never knew an angel could be so luscious.'"]

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