Please excuse any typos. I have to sit so far back from the desk I can barely see my computer screen. My arms are barely long enough to reach over, around, and by my stomach.
Wish I could say I was pregnant. However, at this point in the year (and, quite frankly, my life), the only thing I will be giving birth to is a Honey Baked Ham. If I had a tail, it would be curly.
Once again, my holiday spirit has manifested below the waist in my thips: that vast expanse of hips, thighs, and tummy. Like the Marines, the sins of the season have landed, and I don’t think they will be going away any time soon. My interest in elastic-waist pants is rekindled.
We had an epic family gathering for Christmas at a cabin in the mountains this year, and the eating was legendary. As anyone knows, you can’t show up at such an event empty-handed. Not only do you supply special holiday treats (sugar), but you also bring along anything languishing in your refrigerator that might transform into a science experiment before you return. The result is a vegetable bin full of despondent-looking produce.
But no worries – there were plenty of hearty offerings. We all arrived bearing some incarnation of pork, the original party animal. Bacon and ham were featured at every meal and/or snack. After a few days, we were so puffy with the water weight that accompanies unfettered sodium consumption that we ladies threw out our eyeliner. It was not pretty.
If you thought we ate only ham and bacon during our retreat, you would be so very wrong. As appealing as a ham and bacon sandwich on pork rinds might sound, we also were tempted by other, non-sodium food groups. Or group. We consumed our (ever-increasing) body weight in sugar.
We have a running debate in our family about which candy company makes the best toffee and peanut brittle. This is a question that goes unanswered from year to year and thus requires constant re-evaluation.
My sister from Arizona brings the See’s, and my mother brings the Dinstuhl’s from Memphis. I added another candidate this year with my Enstrom’s dark chocolate entry. Once again, we were unable to pick a clear toffee winner after repeated samplings. It is a miracle we have any teeth left.
The hands-down (or tummy-out) winner in the peanut brittle category, however, is See’s. It wins year after year. My sister will have to lug boxes of it to family gatherings for the rest of her life.
That box of See’s brittle is the first thing opened after hello hugs and kisses are exchanged, and it is being eaten by someone, somewhere, without interruption, until that box is as empty as Scrooge’s heart on Christmas Eve.
Someone actually tried to throw away the box with some brittle dust left in it, but my horrified brother retrieved it from the trash and made quick work of the nearly invisible remains. We mourned their passing.
Naturally, there were other offerings that gave us a little respite from the constant flow of pork and sugar. We had fried bread, a family favorite consisting of bread dough fried in olive oil and sprinkled with salt. It makes a lovely companion for the ham.
We also had a fancy-schmancy tasting of some English and Italian cheeses. While quite delicious and interesting, they were overshadowed by the stout block of cheddar from Sam’s that required significant upper body strength just to remove it from the bursting refrigerator.
A strange thing happened during our holiday. After consuming oh, maybe 6-8 ounces of ham, some critical part of our brain went dark, and we completely lost the ability to tell when we were full. We began eating anytime we came within 2 feet of food, no matter when we last ate.
Witness nachos at 9 pm, after a turkey feast only a few hours earlier. Listen to the constant repetition of, “I couldn’t be hungry – why am I eating candy???” Or, “Say –where’s that big cheese thing?”
We left our Shangri-La moaning and groaning, swearing we would be eating nothing but greens and the occasional piece of poultry. Pork would definitely be on the no-show list in the upcoming weeks. The resolve lasted two entire days, until pork tenderloin was the menu choice at a family dinner.
Cherie Kimmons can be reached at email@example.com