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Hoping for a Chanukah Miracle

November 29, 2018

Did you know that the first night of Chanukah is this Sunday? Fortunately, the holiday isn’t quite the gift extravaganza that is Christmas. So I’m not panicked that there are precious few shopping days until the holiday starts. Plus, I’m going to be at Crossgates anyway on December 1 for the Cask & Crossgates – Winter Beer Fest. Maybe after the after after party at Lucky Strike Social I’ll pick up a few small things for the kids.

That also means by Monday, December 10, Chanukah will be completed. The eight festive nights will be behind us. So, while the rest of the country furiously shops for presents, I can busy myself with making batch after batch of chicken stock. Amazingly, I’m all out. But as it turns out, I’ve got a freezer full of chicken carcasses just waiting to be simmered.

For me, this holiday is all about the food. I’m sure nobody is surprised by this revelation. Especially since the foods of this holiday are all fried. It’s a long story, but one of the themes for next week is “the miracle of the oil”.

However, I’m hoping for another kind of miracle.

Potatoes are one of my favorite foods. Fried potatoes are one of my favorite ways to eat them. And when you serve fried potato pancakes with sides of thick tangy sour cream and sweet bright applesauce, I can lose any sense of self control. I’ve been known to eat potato lakes long after I’ve had my fill. And then eat some more.

The miracle I’m praying for is the miracle of moderation.

Beyond just hoping for this kind of shift in my behavior, I’ve been actively working on managing my portion sizes, reducing the frequency and quantity of between meal snacks, and eating only when hungry. All of which are harder than one might imagine.

My thought was that my work this fall and heading into the locking, would prepare me well for the Thanksgiving feasts. However, that strategy totally failed me. I had no power to resist the goose pate and the spread of Eastern European dried and smoked sausages I picked up from Euro Deli and Market in Latham.

Even just yesterday at lunch when I ordered a bento box with reasonable sized portions of a few different dishes, I ate the whole thing. When I was driving home, and feeling over full, I realized that there was no acceptable path in my own mind for not finishing all the food I had been served.

I’m not sure where the old adage comes from, but I like the notion of “always leave them wanting more”. Over the years I’ve learned that it’s better to say goodbye when everyone is still having fun, instead of after you’ve worn out your welcome. That too is still an area of improvement for me, since I want to squeeze every last bit of fun out of every single joyful opportunity. But I think there’s something to be learned here with food, and being able to walk away from a plate that hasn’t been wiped clean.

Perhaps, a good place to start—at least for this holiday season—is for me to avoid fetishizing deep fat fried foods. I’ll have my latkes, to be sure. This year my birthday falls during Chanukah, and maybe that will be another occasion to indulge in something fried. But in the past I’ve tried to eat a fried food every day. That is certainly overkill.

Is this the wisdom that comes with age? Or am I just getting soft? It’s hard to tell. Maybe it’s all just vanity, and a continued lack of ability to start and stick with any kind of exercise regimen. Whatever the case, attempting to eat fewer fried foods next week is probably a good idea regardless. Especially when preceding the winter celebration with a festival of cask beers. But more on that tomorrow.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Amy permalink
    November 29, 2018 3:06 pm

    Hey. Do you have a good recipe for latkes??

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