COUNTY AGENT GUY
The ping of shirt buttons ricocheting off dining room walls all across this great land of ours heralds the arrival of the overeating season.
There are many other signs of this season aside from the zing of overstressed garment fasteners becoming shrapnel. Numerous TV, radio and newspaper ads are continuously touting the availability of food on the outside chance that any of us should forget to eat.
The sugar-infused fuse for this overeating season was lit at Halloween. Sadly, our two sons are grown and out of the nest, which means there was no opportunity for me to sample their confectionary loot – strictly in the name of safety and quality control, mind you.
Good thing we had laid in a plentiful supply of candy for prospective trick-or-treaters. Too bad none showed up at our house again this year.
And it certainly would be a shame if all those little Baby Ruths weren’t able to find a happy home.
The caloric deck is stacked against us as we meander through these darkest months of the calendar. No sooner is Thanksgiving over than we’re hit with other scrumptiously irresistible holidays such as National Fritter Day, Recipe For The Holidays Week and my favorite, Chocolate Covered Anything Day. And don’t even get me started on National Cookie Day!
December culminates, calorically speaking, with Christmas. Many of us have work-related Christmas soirees to attend, which is probably one of the few times of the year when we actually look forward to anything regarding our jobs.
Then there are pre-holiday family gatherings, wherein you get together with your kin to eat while preparing food for the actual holiday.
My mom and her daughters and granddaughters hold just such a gathering to manufacture mass quantities of tender, luscious, tissue-thin lefse.
Strangely, I have never been invited to be part of this familial all-female lefse-making league. When I asked about it, there were mutterings regarding the intolerable levels of lefse loss whenever I was around.
Well! So much for quality control!
Like most of us, I will probably stuff myself silly on Christmas day. I will then sit around groaning and saying things along the lines of, “Oh! My poor tummy! I will never eat again! Why didn’t anyone stop me from taking seconds that third time around?”
But shortly after the big Christmas meal is over, one of my sisters will pull some piping hot, coated-with-molten-brown-deliciousness monkey bread from the oven.
Smelling the heavenly fragrance, I’ll say, “You know, I suddenly feel a tiny bit peckish. I do believe that my stomach has shrunk to about a thimbleful shy of overstuffed. Maybe I’ll try a smidgeon of that monkey bread, just to check its quality.”
Christmas takes a long time to disappear in the rearview mirror – or at least from the refrigerator. We northerners are big believers in the maxim “waste not, want not,” even if adhering to this saying tends to maximize our waistlines.
New Year’s is upon us before the Christmas leftovers even have a chance to get comfy in their refrigerated digs. Then there’s the Super Bowl with its super-sized portions of wings and chips, along with burgers that are large enough to contain an entire cow.
Part of the problem is the fact that for many of us, eating is a hobby. And like any hobby, things can easily spiral out of control.
For instance, Bonnie and Clyde started out as a nice young couple who enjoyed the simple pleasures of collecting various denominations of currency. Their hobby gradually became an all-consuming obsession and, well, we all know how that ended.
There’s no caloric relief come February, what with Valentine’s Day and its chocolate mandates and restaurant meal requirements.
And if all those things aren’t enough, there are any number of organized banquets, including such seminal events as church basement lutefisk feeds.
For those who consider lutefisk an abomination and quite possibly a toxic substance, just think “an opportunity to consume large amounts of melted butter” and you may begin to see its appeal.
My theory is that our penchant for overeating is fueled by our inability to hibernate in the wintertime. But I’m glad we don’t slumber through the Long Cold, because that might cause me to miss International Bacon Day.
Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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