It’s not only turkey’s that get
fattened up at christmas. If we’re not careful, well-meaning friends can
cause us to put on unwanted pounds.
the risk of sounding like Ebenezer Scrooge, I will state unequivocally
that I dislike the holidays. From sunup on Thanksgiving until sundown on
New Year’s, I am provided with unparalleled high-calorie grazing
options and numerous chocolate-consuming opportunities. These memorable
moments in munching are the recipe for diet disaster.
The task of
keeping my weight in check and my thighs to a minimum is complicated by
my “friends” who inconsiderately bake calorie-laden treats, slap them
on a festively decorated holiday plate and then give them to me! They
apparently assume that I don’t mind having my derriere look like two
humongous hot air balloons stuck together.
11 months of the year my nondomestic friends complain about cooking. I
see their messy kitchens stocked with Tuna Helper. They consider a meal
to be labor intensive if it involves stopping the microwave to rotate
For 11 months of the year these friends are sane,
budget-conscious women, scouring the grocery ads and clipping coupons.
But when the holidays approach–seduced by enticing, glossy, close-up
magazine photos–their domestic genes froth up like cappuccino foam, and
they willingly spend several hundred dollars on one cookie recipe
alone. The ingredients are always exotic, and the directions are like
something out of a deliverance manual:
“Over a low fire in a
copper-coated double boiler, melt 4 pounds unsalted, whipped butter and 1
package distilled Dutch chocolate. Stir in 1 bag dehydrated lemon
syrup, 1 cup imported marshmallow paste and 2 tablespoons of licorice
These recipes frequently have compound hyphenated
names such as Double-Chocolate-Fudge-Creme-Mocha-Nougat-Filled-Dainties
and require bizarre kitchen utensils that can be leased only from Martha
Stewart with several months advance notice and a large deposit.
roasting the chestnuts on an open fire, extract each nut whole from the
shell by placing them one at a time in the teak-handled, brass-tipped
nut-nippers. Raise the nippers in a smooth motion over your head and
while balancing on your left foot, gently squeeze the teak handles with a
These are the kinds of high-calorie
extravaganzas that my domestically impaired friends frequently whip up
in triple batches during the holidays. As the ungrateful recipient, I
have three options: (1) throw them away; (2) give them away; or (3) eat
Option No. 1 is out. My mother has convinced me that no food may be thrown out for any reason.
I have tried option No. 2–giving them away–but then I get recipe requests I can’t fill or questions that make me look stupid.
I lost track of the origin of a fruitcake and actually gave it as a
gift back to its maker. This culinary faux pas left me embarrassed and
the giver-recipient speechless (unless tears count as speech).
leaves option No. 3 by default: I eat them. I eat all of them,
frequently in one sitting, and then I lick the crumbs off the festively
decorated holiday plates. Afterwards, I slink to my scale like a guilty
dog with its tail tucked between its legs. Criminals are no more
terrified of the electric chair than I am of my bathroom scale!
mid-December my cellulite gets so thick and dimply that from the knees
up, my pantyhose appear to be stuffed with cottage cheese. When I catch a
glimpse in the full-length mirror (which I hang horizontally so I can
check my girth from thigh to thigh), I am disgusted with myself, with my
friends and especially with those enticing holiday recipes.
year I have a preholiday request for all well-wishing friends: If I’m
on your Christmas list and you are baking holiday cookies, please,
please, give them to someone else!
If you still feel charitably
inclined, purchase a few boxes of SnackWells, empty them onto a
festively decorated, lick-proof holiday plate and leave them on my
I’ll be in the bathroom, cowering by my scale.
Jackie Macgirvin is a free-lance writer.