I am, as I confided last month, rather stout. Not actually obese, but a good deal thicker in the girth than is good for me. Furthermore, like so many other gently-ageing gentlemen, my cholesterol level is higher than it should be.

This means, among other things, that I have to cut back drastically on my consumption of cheese. OK, so my doctor actually told me to cut it out completely, but life doesn’t work like that. Do I go to Mass as often as my priest would like me to? Exactly, you get the picture. But cheese is, nevertheless, a rare treat, and all the more precious for being so.

Despite a wet August, my crop of large, Mediterranean-style tomatoes were ripening nicely in the greenhouse early September. Pick them warm, slice them thinly, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar, chopped basil, and – the sine qua non – a nice, sliced mozzarella (the Holy Father is partial to it too, we learn). Out in the sticks, one cannot hope for a London delicatessen, but there is one of the usual, competent supermarkets within a day’s drive. And they had the cheese.

Imagine my horror (as they say) when the tomatoes all ready, I opened the plastic packet to slice the mozzarella, and saw (what I had not hitherto perceived) a thin green line under the title, with faint white lettering: ‘Reduced fat’. In all other respects, the package was indistinguishable from what I have enjoyed many times before. My rage and fury was unconfined.

So my gardening cum culinary triumph was now topped with weak, taste-free, leathery slices of non-vegetarian tofu-substitute – urgghh!!

If people like that sort of thing, fine. What is objectionable is this sneaky masquerading as the real thing. Sell cheese under the label cheese, and sell reduced-fat-diet-food on an entirely separate counter, preferably with a large, clear health warning: ‘This is fake!’

David Nichol ND