Monday, December 29, 2008

Food is love in the form of Excess

I'm jumping on a plane in the morning to visit J's family in NJ for New Years. It's always fun to visit with them (although occasionally exhausting and chaotic) because they demonstrate, as many families do, their love with lots of food and affection.

Breakfast each day, consists of cakes, pies, cookies, baklava, rye breads and jam and coffee. If you find something of a savory nature to eat for breakfast, you've somehow managed to wake up in the wrong house.

We usually skip lunch because the waking hours in this family tend to be from 2pm until 5am. Breakfast is around 2, snacks in the late afternoon, and dinner happens around midnight. Even though I'm a night owl, it does take some getting used to at first, especially since both J and I work in the 8-5 world, but it's not as hard as you'd think. The hard part is attempting to go to bed 5 hours earlier when we get back home.

In Omi's house, you don't get the chance to feel even the slightest hunger pang. No sooner do you swallow the last bite of one delectable and they're asking you if you want them to make you something else. Saying "no thank you" is a guarantee way to ensure you have a schnitzel sandwich the size of a football or an enormous plate of fried potatoes, kielbasa and mustard heading in your direction. Over the years, I've learned to just say yes to their offers and at least this way I can control the size of my own 2nd or 3rd helping.

To aid digestion, bowls of various chocolates are strategically placed throughout the house. If Aunt H catches you not eating at least one while watching TV, she will come over and actually unwrap one and put it in your mouth. Time for bed? How about a cup of hot chocolate? Followed by lots of "kusse". The only vegetables I've seen in the house are pickled red cabbage and cauliflower and even those are rare (and when they appear they are doused in mayo).

When it's time to come home, I'll find that my bags are packed with jars of high-fat deliciousness like Nutella, my jeans are significantly tighter and I've developed a strong craving for large glasses of metamucil and big bowls of fiber one cereal.

It hurts a little to eat like that for days and days, but I now understand why they encourage us to do it. We usually only get to visit once a year so they're trying to squeeze all their love in on one trip. With every bite swallowed they feel a little closer to their family from NH. I've been eating a little extra the last few days to prepare my stomach for all the love that's coming . . .

All text and photographs © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley