We have it on experience (our own and thousands of others) that the following food and situations have no calories to speak of (although the knowledgeable might describe them as unspeakable calories).
OTHER PEOPLE’S FOOD: A chocolate mousse that you did not order has no calories. Therefore, have your companion order dessert and you taste half of it.
INGREDIENTS IN COOKING: Chocolate chips are fattening, about 50 calories a tablespoon. So are chocolate chip cookies! However, chocolate chips eaten while making chocolate chip cookies have no calories whatsoever. Therefore, make chocolate chip cookies often, but don’t eat them.
FOOD ON FOOT: All food eaten while standing has no calories. Exactly why is not clear, but the current theory relates to gravity. The calories apparently bypass the stomach, flowing directly down the legs and through the soles of the feet into the floor, like electricity. Walking seems to accelerate this process, so that a frozen custard or hot dog eaten at a carnival actually has a calorie deficit.
CHILDREN’S FOOD: Anything produced, purchased, or intended for minors is calorie-free when eaten by adults. This category covers a wide range, beginning with a spoonful of baby tapioca — consumed for demonstration purposes — up to and including cookies baked and sent to college.
UNEVEN EDGES: Pies and cakes should be cut neatly, in even wedges or slices. If not, the responsibility falls on the person putting them away to “straighten up the edges” by slicing away the offending irregularities, which have no calories when eaten. If pie or cake is neatly cut, but the remainder is not easily divisible into equal servings, it’s also permissible to even things up … without calorie consequence.
TV FOOD: Anything eaten in front of the TV has no calories. This may have something to do with radiation leakage, which negates not only the calories in the food but also all recollection of having eaten it. Entire no-calorie dinners are now manufactured and frozen for this purpose.
FOOD THAT DOESN’T TASTE GOOD doesn’t count. This is an enormous category covering a diverse range including airline food, cafeteria meals, and dinner at your sister-in-law’s. This also includes dinners manufactured to be eaten in front of the TV.
ANYTHING SMALLER THAN ONE INCH contains no calories to speak of. For example: chocolate kisses, maraschino cherries, cubes of cheese.
LEFT-HANDED FOOD: If you have a drink in your right hand, anything eaten with the other hand has no calories. Several principles are at work here. First of all, you’re probably standing up at a cocktail party (see “Food on Foot”). Then there’s the electronic field: a wet glass in one hand forms a negative charge to reverse the polarity of the calories attracted to the other hand. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but it’s reversible if you’re left-handed.
CHARITABLE FOODS: Girl Scout cookies, bake sale cookies, ice cream socials, and church strawberry festivals all have a religious dispensation from calories. It’s in the Bible.
CAKES WITH WRITING ON THEM: Primarily fat, starch, and sugar, all cakes are horrendously fattening. However, the calories can be eliminated simply by inscribing “Happy Birthday, Charlie” or “Good Luck, Alice” in colored icing. Not only is it unnecessary to decline, it’s impolite.
FOOD ON TOOTHPICKS: Sausages, cocktail franks, cheese, and the like are all fattening unless impaled on frilled toothpicks. The insertion of a sharp object allows the calories to leak out the bottom.
LEFTOVERS: An extra pork chop, the crust of bread, half a Twinkie, and anything else intended for the garbage has no calories regardless of what happens to it in the kitchen.
FOOD EATEN QUICKLY: If you are rushed through a meal, the entire meal doesn’t count. Conversely, if you have ordered something fattening and now regret it, you can minimize its calories by gulping it down.
CUSTOM MADE FOOD: Anything somebody made “just for you” must be eaten regardless of the calories because to do otherwise would be uncaring and insensitive. Your kind intentions will not go unrewarded. (See “Charitable Foods.”)