With Thanksgiving having come so late this year, there’s really no transition period between the turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and Christmas indulgences associated with yuletide parties. So, there is simply no time for common sense and the self-depriving counting of carbs.
‘Tis the season to eat.
Partly plagiarized and partly drawn from many years of Christmas eating experiences, I offer tips on how to get the most out of holiday eating. Some of these are tongue-in-cheek and some are cake-in-cheek. You decide which.
1. Avoid the vegetable tray. A hostess who serves crudités (fancy word for carrot sticks, celery, etc.) just doesn’t have the holiday spirit. Rum balls and coconut fudge equal great party.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. It’s unavailable any other time of the year, so it’s not like it’s addictive. It may have a zillion calories per cup, but you’ll regret passing it up once fat Christmas has turned to skinny January. And don’t kid yourself, that sugarless, fat free, non-alcoholic eggnog is a viable substitute.
3. At any holiday meal, pour lots of gravy on everything. Make a volcano out of the mashed potatoes and fill it with gravy.
4. Under no circumstances should you eat before attending the party. This is not about controlling your eating; this is about eating other people’s food for free. That’s the whole point.
5. No exercising during the holidays. If you must go to the spa, skip those torturous machines and go straight to the jacuzzi, steam room or sauna. You may go to the pool, but do not swim; just float and think of all the eggnog you’re going to consume later. Instead, take a long nap before attending any food-bountiful party.
6. If you find something you really like on the buffet table, position yourself there and don’t move. Eat as much as you can from that spot before drawing attention to yourself. Those frosted Santa-shaped cookies are like a pair of purple, satin stiletto heels you’re only going to wear one time before coming to your senses.
7. Same goes for pies. Pumpkin, cherry, mincemeat, apple. Have a slice of each. If you don’t like one kind, have two of another. Have three. This is the only time of year when it’s socially acceptable to have more than one dessert.
8. O.K. Let’s talk fruitcake. I confess. I like fruitcake. Yes, I know they have the same density as mahogany and ancient Egyptians put them in the pharaohs’ tombs to eat in the after-life (after 3,000 years, still in original condition). But since there are only 17 known fruitcakes in the world due to passing along and re-gifting, you can send yours to me.
9. Don’t be shy about asking for a generous go-home portion of something you really liked.
10. Finally, if you don’t feel terrible and ashamed of yourself when you leave the party, you probably didn’t have a good time. You may as well have stayed home with a Lean Cuisine and a diet soda.
Health nuts existing on tofu, goji berries and pine cones while denying themselves wonderful fats, carbohydrates and sugars will no doubt die with the kind of body that looks great in autopsy. All they have to do is live by each of the above tips IN REVERSE.
My body at autopsy will prove far more interesting as the coroner examines my aged carcass and is amazed that it lasted so long. My mom does not jog or swim. Her diet consists mostly of bananas, whole milk, chocolate donuts, ice cream bars, fried catfish and anything made with marshmallow fluff. She recently gave up her cigarettes and beer only because they became too expensive.
At 93, she doesn’t seem to be slowing down. From her and from my grandmother, who died at 95, I have learned to eat, drink and be merry. And never pass up dessert.
I agree with the philosophy of some anonymous wit who declared, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘WOO HOO, what a ride!’”
But instead of the martini, I’ll just have the eggnog.
Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. Her columns are published on Saturdays.