CHICAGO: The season of eating is upon us. It starts with Halloween; short and under the cover of darkness our gluttony whets its whistle. We try to camouflage our naked desire for the foil wrapped temptations with costumes and children.
“Hush!”—we tell our spouses. I bought those Almond Joys for the kids. It’s only a few hours and it’s over. But we want more. Pumpkin Spice is our new obsession and we’ll put it on anything. It effectively functions as a dinner bell.
Then a simple flip of the calendar brings Thanksgiving. The beast is loose.
We don’t need to hide in the night. We are fully committed to spend a day with our distended bellies bumping up against the dining room table. We will shut down businesses, financial markets, and general operations to feast. No frills, no presents, no costumes. It is all about food.
We concede it is a lot of food, perhaps more than we need.
There’s attention paid to all aspects of food consumption: dishes, silverware, tablecloths. Recipes are made and kept secret like family heirlooms. Your family probably doesn’t have a crest, but I bet it has a sacred Jell-O® mold. And nobody makes it better! With cranberry stains speckling your shirts, your family declares, “This is the gravy-soaked hill we are willing to die on!”
After spending an entire weekday with a tablecloth tucked into our pants it seems perfectly reasonable to extend the gustatory celebration to one week. From Christmas to New Year’s it is a gourmand’s dream of fatted shrimp, sugar plum fantasies, candy canes, houses made out of cookies, and roast beef. Guilt sets in, and we hide under the cover of religion. I converted our kitchen into a fudge shops because of Christ. How dare you question why I’ve made fourteen batches of cookies!
We concede it is a lot of food, perhaps more than we need. So once again we knock on our neighbors’ doors and offer food instead of taking it. It closes the loop on the season of eating, which commenced with taking and ends with giving, but always it’s about sharing, laughing, and being together.
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