Sunday, December 27, 2009

'Tis the Season...

...for a borderline-frightening orgy of drink and food. I really hope LDL and triglycerides take vacation like the rest of us at the end of December. I capped off a week of Nero's Rome-like decadence this morning with some homemade hashbrowns smothered in sauteed onions, Rotel tomatoes, and melted Velveeta. Please don't tell my doc. He doesn't own stock in Velveeta.

But there was one thing that clearly set the tone for my decline into lipid-induced shame and lethargy during this past Christmas week:

To set the scene, our neighborhood has a Progressive Dinner around the holidays every year. Basically, a concept where a group of folks move from house-to-house; first house hosts appetizers and cocktails, then main course at the next house, then dessert, and then, well, tater tots. Okay, more generally, late night snacks. And, clearly, if you harken back to your younger days, what were you eating at 2, 3, 4 in the morning? Watercress sandwiches? Waldorf salads? Hell no! Gorgings at Waffle House, IHOP, Krystal/White Castle, or Taco Bell were the modus operandi; anything to suppress a sustained binge of well-liquor shots and Natural Light. Those meals- perhaps- saved the life of many a college student.

So it was manifested: the tater tot bar. A cornucopia of golden-fried jewels of shredded potato, along with any condiment that could be mustered: chili, nacho cheese sauce, sour cream, bacon bits, chives, salsa, BBQ sauce, assorted hot sauces, more cheese...getting heartburn just reading? Clearly not haute cuisine by any stretch, but- somehow- satisfying, comforting; a perfect nightcap to calm our mature bellies, now full of fine wine, craft beers, and single-malt scotch...

Yet, despite the sophisticated nature of the cocktails creating the need for the late-night snack, said snack has remained a constant: crap food that could be replaced by nothing else, being the only feasible option to satisfy at this late hour. I really think food has the unique ability to connect us with the past; the smells, tastes, and textures remain in our memory banks more clearly than anything else. Ergo, it's only natural that when one finds himself with too many drinks in the belly late at night- whether fancy drinks or swill- the sustenance desired is pulled from our collective memories, and junk food registers as the antidote. Pretty amazing.

In the same sense, I think when Christmas week comes around, my sensory memory tells me that every day is a reason for a feast. And so it happens, leaving me in this gluttonous, shameful state (the detailed means to the end shall unfold on these pages soon). And I can't do anything about it until after Jan. subconscious tells me that New Year's celebrations require more debauchery and food.

Oh well...I can either fight it or raise my glass. How 'bout the latter? Cheers, Sláinte, L'Chaim, Salud, Prost, Skål, Konbe, Kampai, and Laissez les bon temps rouler!
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