Diehards nationwide are lining up to run in the holiday Turkey Trot. Imagine a marathon of a different kind. Participants hop about like caged rabbits on too much caffeine, flabs of steel barely contained by Kevlar reinforced spandex. It’s a record crowd of sumo wrestler contestants with tattooed contest numbers emblazoned on their foreheads, waiting for the starting gun for this year’s Blubber Trot. First hundred finishers get to be first in line at the communal Horn-of-Plenty table. Those who don’t finish, have to watch Hunger Games 3 without popcorn. Paying spectators will be allowed wander the leftover carnage and ask, “Are you going to eat that?”
It’s my annual humorous take on what I blithely refer to as the advent of blubber season (see last year’s article, Tis the Season to be Gluttonous). The holiday season is like no other time of the year. We dust off the George Bailey personality left in a drawer from last year, greet everyone like family, and gorge like our prehistoric forbearers did when they felled a mammoth. Would you like leg meat or trunk?
It’s in our genes, you know. Our prehistoric forbearers were flexivores (contrived modern term for the boring word omnivore). Whatever filled the belly, plants, seeds, anything that didn’t eat them first. It was a dog-eat-dog world, and I’m sure they ate a few of those too. Devouring fruit in season was all the rage, enhanced by the fermentation of natural sugars in swollen bellies, creating the first after dinner cocktail. Big animals bagged by Neanderthals had to be eaten quickly, lest it spoil. No one knew when the next meal would be available. Over time, when humans became more communal, bountiful foodstuffs became the center point of togetherness. Seasonality played a big role, timed to match harvest and migration patterns. It was great time to meet chicks. The first children’s table was likely a rock outside the cave.
In the past, folks gathered around holiday offerings and picked with fingers. Hygiene was an alien concept, possibly a corollary to Darwin’s theory if someone was susceptible to infection, they wouldn’t be around for next year’s feast. In the US, arrangement and quantity loaded on individual plates has become a science. What is left on the plate when finished (like Aunt Mildred’s cranberry-scrapple jelly), always comes back the following year, so that everyone can hate it all over again. Holiday meals are often mid-day, to allow for slumbering digestion to the spa-like sounds of slamming athletic helmets on TV, followed by returning to the fatted calf, or bird. Always lots of cranberry-scrapple jelly left.
Unlike yesteryear, we live in a time of conscientious health nuts who chagrin our tendency for culinary excess. This year’s crop includes Paleo diets and cross-fit training. No one seems to agree what Paleo Diet really is, defined as what prehistoric humans ate before animal husbandry and agriculture. It’s supposedly based on an optimal foraging theory. Optimal foraging is whatever humans stumbled upon or killed, which in my view is anything, so I’m confused. CrossFit, is defined as a conditioning program that employs “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad modal and time domains,” with the stated goal of improving fitness, which it defines as “work capacity across broad time and modal domains.” I’ve always thought of holiday gorging as a high intensity workout, but since it doesn’t occur across broad time and modal domains, whatever the hell that means, it doesn’t count.
As always, I’ll be flexing my holiday meal with extreme prejudice. Once I’m done filling my gastroenterital cistern with enough calories to heat a small city, I’ll need a good concrete cap on that toxic well. I’m going for cheesecake.
Paleo-dieters and cross-fit exercisers can eat yogurt.
Hope everyone has an enjoyable, belt-stretching holiday.