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Holiday Eating Tips

KaimukiMan Dec 22, 2010 09:53 AM

Auntie Mame in Auntie Mame

1. Avoid carrot sticks and celery. Anyone who puts rabbit food on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday Spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door or across the street where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now! So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think.

3. If something comes with gravy, use it - in abundance. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat. Gravy may be used with any meat dish, almost any starch, most vegetables, and selected desserts.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? You should also be able to taste the butter and cream cheese. Otherwise it's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. Have the snack if you want, but not enough to spoil your appetite. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. Speaking of plates, make a trip to the big-box-store and buy a case of those extra large disposable plates. Bring a stack to every party as a hostess gift. It lets them know how much you appreciate their cooking.

8. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted cookies, the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

9. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. Thats why you gave them those big plates. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

10. Don't be embarrassed to go back for seconds or thirds. Again, you want to be sure your hosts know how much you enjoy their hospitality. This is the only time of the year where you wont look like a pig doing that. You are just indulging in the Holiday Spirit.

11. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards. If you can not avoid the fruitcake, refer to the section on gravy above. A healthy slathering of butter is also suggested.

12. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, CHOCOLATE in one hand and WINE in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!"

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  1. cookieluvntasha Dec 22, 2010 10:20 AM

    I love it all. My family always brings an extra lock-n-lock to pack away leftovers at our gatherings. I wouldn't do this at just anyone's party, but for large family gatherings when there is an overabundance of food, everyone has dinner/lunch for the next day. That sleepy feeling you get after eating your seconds of all the things you really liked at the buffet is called a "food coma." I plan on giving myself one this weekend. Enjoy everyone.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cookieluvntasha
      viperlush Dec 22, 2010 11:43 AM

      <My family always brings an extra lock-n-lock to pack away leftovers at our gatherings. I wouldn't do this at just anyone's party, but for large family gatherings when there is an overabundance of food, everyone has dinner/lunch for the next day. >

      I hated it when my cousin did this in college. He would load up on left overs and leave very little for the rest of us. Didn't matter where the holiday was, he wanted to leave with at least a weeks worth of meals.

      1. re: viperlush
        KaimukiMan Dec 22, 2010 07:01 PM

        your family just doesn't cook enough food. It is a simple equation. if 15 people are coming, each one prepares enough to satiate 15 people, plus a little bit more just in case. In most cases you are never expected to cook for more than about 25 or 30. After all there is only so much tupperware and tinfoil in the world. and if you think i'm kidding get yourself invited to a potluck in hawaii.

        1. re: KaimukiMan
          viperlush Dec 23, 2010 05:36 AM

          There was always plenty of food and enough left overs for all to leave with plates, until he reached college age. He wouldn't bring just one or two containers. He would buy one of those multi-packs with containers of all sizes and shapes and fill a couple paper bags. It became almost like an arms race. More food was cooked, more containers were brought. And then all the other single male cousins started doing the same...

    2. rworange Dec 22, 2010 11:52 AM

      Great post, but I have to disagree with point 11 and think you have never had a good fruitcake.

      Not the type with brightly colored stale candied fruit that dyes the palid light colored cake unatural colors ... but the deep, dark, rich cake that's been soaked is three or more types of booze and is studded with pecans and other tasty nuts. The fruit is dried apricots, raisins (white and black), prunes, maybe apples. No glow of neon Northern Lights candied fruit to be found

      13 Replies
      1. re: rworange
        KaimukiMan Dec 22, 2010 06:55 PM

        what have you been smoking - good fruitcake?? ive never seen anything like what you described. if i thought such a thing actually existed, i might be tempted to try it, but you gotta eliminate the prunes.... er, i mean, well you get the idea.

        it does make me wonder, if you have had a certain food prepared poorly innumerable times, at what point are you turned off forever no matter how good it is the next time it is presented?

        1. re: KaimukiMan
          rworange Dec 22, 2010 07:22 PM

          Don't know. My own recent personal quest is to see if there is such a thing as good suchile ... a fremented pineapple drink that tastes like what I imagine is the same flavor as stagnant pond scum.

          Anyway, Cheeseboard in Berkeley makes such a fruitcake and there are lots of posts over the years on ambrosial fruitcake

          My favorite fruitcake post over the years was by Joe H

          Homemade Dark Fruitcake, Aged Three Years: An Observation or Two

          1. re: rworange
            buttertart Dec 23, 2010 12:56 PM

            Thank you rworange, a great fruitcake is a thing of beauty. I happen to have a 3 year old one in the fridge that we'll eat this year. Try it with some sharp cheddar cheese, fantastic combination.

            1. re: buttertart
              cayjohan Dec 23, 2010 03:08 PM

              Oh. My. Fruitcake and sharp cheddar? I need to rectify my terrible oversight in not trying this before. It sounds swoonworthy.

              1. re: cayjohan
                buttertart Dec 24, 2010 06:09 AM

                It's great. My family was introduced to it by neighbors from the north of England. Do try it!

                1. re: buttertart
                  lagatta Dec 24, 2010 11:13 AM

                  I agree, buttertart. Fruitcake is British, and there are excellent examples from the UK and the "Colonies", including Canada.

                  Lots of holiday cakes and breads have been debased, including pannetoni shot through with chocolate and other goo.

                  Fruitcake and mature cheddar is a wonderful combination.

                  As for the original post; it is very funny, but I can't eat like that any more. Carrot sticks, no, but Mediterranean vegetable salads, yes.

            2. re: rworange
              KaimukiMan Dec 23, 2010 07:10 PM

              its a good thread rwo, but when I look at the recipe he provides, it starts with half a pound each of a half a dozen glow in the dark candied fruits.

              1. re: KaimukiMan
                buttertart Dec 24, 2010 06:10 AM

                C'mon KaimukiMan, you only live once. I thought you were more devil-may-care than that. A piece of fruitcake once in a while isn't going to kill you. Try it with cheese!

                1. re: buttertart
                  alkapal Dec 24, 2010 06:21 AM

                  my mom made a great "icebox" fruit cake using a box of vanilla wafers, and those fruits, along with coconut. then you pack the "dough" back in the vanilla wafer box (in wax paper, of course). it was really tasty, but a little slice was all you needed.

                  her lane cake was terrific, and it used some of those candied fruits and then pecans of course.

                2. re: KaimukiMan
                  rworange Dec 24, 2010 06:31 AM

                  From what I know about Joe H, reading his posts online, he probably personally candied that fruit ... and grew it.. Ok, maybe not the last.

                  The point is that there are recipes using dried fruit ... and lots of booze ... which are great.

                  In Central America the candied fruit is more likely to be papaya which is dyed different olors. Bimbo, a bread company that makes terrible baked goods under that name (they own Orowheat and other bread companies) ... anyway, they make a very tasty pannetone using candied papaya. That's how desparate I was ... I bought a Bimbo pannetone ... but it had a happy Christmas ending and was good.

                  1. re: rworange
                    buttertart Dec 24, 2010 06:46 AM

                    They sell that in a convenience store run by Mexican people near our place...was considering buying one...should I?

                    1. re: buttertart
                      rworange Dec 24, 2010 07:24 AM

                      I can't say for sure. In Central America, they are made in Peru. Real sugar is used. Take a look at the ingredient list and see if they are using sugar or HFCS. Maybe check the origin.

                      It won't be as good as an artisan pannetone, but one of the better reasonably priced boxed varieties.

                      1. re: rworange
                        buttertart Dec 24, 2010 03:40 PM

                        I'll take a look. Thanks.

          2. l
            L987 Dec 22, 2010 05:32 PM

            hahaha! and dont for get to wear streatchy pants

            7 Replies
            1. re: L987
              KaimukiMan Dec 22, 2010 07:01 PM

              and no button front shirts!

              1. re: KaimukiMan
                smartie Dec 24, 2010 06:34 AM

                and a shirt that won't show slops and stains!

              2. re: L987
                viperlush Dec 23, 2010 05:38 AM

                Or a long shirt that can cover up unbuttoned pants.

                One of the benefits of wearing a dress, not as constricting as pants.

                1. re: viperlush
                  Whats_For_Dinner Dec 23, 2010 07:56 AM

                  I am always secretly grateful that Christmas falls in winter and I happen to live in a cold climate where sweaters, wraps, pullovers and other such garments are acceptable. If I had to get through that 48-hour period between the 24th and the 26th in a form-fitting tank top, I think I would cry. Tis the season for happy bloated stomachs.

                  1. re: viperlush
                    KaimukiMan Dec 23, 2010 11:02 AM

                    but with the bloated belly you have to unbutton the shirt as well, or you WILL rip the buttons out.

                    1. re: viperlush
                      John E. Dec 24, 2010 07:01 AM

                      A dress...hmmm, now there's an idea.

                      1. re: John E.
                        alanbarnes Dec 24, 2010 07:19 AM

                        I wonder if any stores selling plus-sized muumuus are open on Christmas Eve?

                  2. SOBoston Dec 23, 2010 04:00 AM

                    With the egg nog, never, ever look at the back of the carton for caloric information---avoid it at all costs. I did that once after my third glass and realized that the meal I had just eaten had been an appetizer to my drink. Not that it stopped me from heading for a fourth cup and dessert...

                    1. Sra. Swanky Dec 23, 2010 05:43 AM

                      Kaimuki Man, I can't agree more! And your quote at the bottom is stellar! What a great mantra -- will definitely share with family and friends!

                      Happy Holidays, happy eating and a delicous 2011!!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sra. Swanky
                        KaimukiMan Dec 23, 2010 11:03 AM

                        wish i could take credit for it. it showed up in my inbox, i made a couple of minor modifications and decided it would be more appreciated here than anywhere. Thanks SS!

                      2. alkapal Dec 23, 2010 03:10 PM

                        great post, kaimuki man!

                        here is my all time favorite (and my life-long philosophy): ""5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. Have the snack if you want, but not enough to spoil your appetite. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?"""

                        seriously -- why fill up on sensible food (a grapefruit for goodness sake?!?!) when shrimp cocktail awaits.

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