Thanksgiving Guide To...

Psychology of Eating on Thanksgiving


I have a love/hate thing going on with Thanksgiving. I love the food...oh yeah. And I love seeing friends and family. I love Fall and autumn leaves and the air at this time of year not to mention the crispness of the season. My favorite apples are abundant and Fall fruits and vegetables are great to eat or to decorate. Ahhh, a party girl's dream.

But then. Yes, but then. There's this eating thing going on. I want to go to Thanksgiving, and then I don't want to go to Thanksgiving. I can't wait, and then I can, because I know I'm going to eat so much I'll be sick. But I'll enjoy it while I'm doing it. But then, I'll be sorry later and feel like a big fat loser. But then I had such a good time. But then, I'll feel fat and ugly and out of control and...and...and...

Is this my fault? No way. It's the Pilgrims-it is the Pilgrims' fault. I won't blame the Indians...they were just trying to be nice by offering up all that food. But the Pilgrims, that's another story. They were eating like squirrels--storing for the winter. And we, as good Americans, follow in their footsteps, year in year out, never realizing that if it's a bad harvest, we can just go to the grocery.

For all we know, those Pilgrims were stashing everything in their aprons and not eating at all...yet each and every year we try to duplicate them. Thus, we put out a feast for thousands and maybe there's what? 10,15 people? I don't know about you, but our Thanksgiving always starts with a buffet full of appetizers--avocado dip, spinach dip, Swedish meatballs, toasted mushroom points, cheeses, crackers, breads...heaven. We gather around the buffet like we haven't eaten since the last eclipse. And we realize, suddenly, that positioning is so important. If you can't reach everything with just a swoop of the hand, you don't have a chance. That last cheese puff went to Uncle Charlie.

Then dinner is served. We're full to the gills, but does that stop us?? Nah. We eat turkey and stuffing and cranberry whatever and Jello mold with fruit and other unidentifiable things and something green (because we're supposed to) and more stuffing and some dark meat because there's no more white meat or vice versa. We throw a roll or two in for good measure and, if we can reach it, we smother it with butter. Oh yes.

Two minutes later (because no one can get up and there's nothing else to do), out comes dessert--pumpkin pie, turkey-shaped chocolate cookies with chocolate morsels for eyes and Aunt Betsy's warm bread pudding.

And then...we retreat and ponder why dessert doesn't include a nap. And we sit there, fighting off yawns and pretending to be interested in what others are saying while in reality our inner-voice is beating us up psychologically: "Why did you eat so much? Why didn't you have more control? You're a lazy good-for-nothing blob who will be really sorry tomorrow when the scale hits..." - -you fill in the blank.

But, on the way home, reality hits that Thanksgiving is over for another year, and we begin to wonder if next year, Aunt Betsy's bread pudding will be as good as it was this year--and if it's not, did we eat enough of it to savor it forever? And how will be we ready for the ensuing December holidays that revolve around food, too?

Oh well. I say eat, drink and be merry, from The Party Girl