There are many ways to intimidate me, and I’m not about to tell you all of them. But one of them is Thanksgiving (or Christmas) dinner.
All the good and cheery folk are gathered and there is much bonhomie as toasts are made with crappy rose and then oohs and aahs are expelled as a big honking dead bird is trolleyed to the table that is already replete with steaming bowls of mashed potatoes, corn, Brussels sprouts, and likely a few other things that are then to be garnished by gouts of gravy and cranberry sauce.
You might think this is all nice and good and welcome. To me it’s not. It scares me. It’s too much. I feel challenged and I feel like I have a job before me to scarf all this stuff down just so I can get rid of the obligation to eat. I know this is absolutely a First World problem and I feel guilty about not being more appreciative. But, to me it’s sheer gluttony.
I am not a person of huge appetite, and that can be problematic. Oh, I do have some other well-pronounced appetites but they aren’t calorific and are basically a lot more fun than stuffing my maw with foodstuffs.
And that is why, when I am eating, I love smatterings of ‘little stuff’. Then I don’t get scared. A couple of years ago at the end of a Hawaiian Islands cruise we spent a few days in Waikiki. While on the cruise we had partaken much too generously of the buffet offerings and we felt it was time to regain sanity in our noshing. We took a walk one morning, and then near the end of our stroll through the resort high rises and along the beachfront on Kuhio Avenue, we though we should think about lunch of some sort. But, nothing thrilled us. We had simply had a surfeit of grub and were satiated.
Yet, a gnawing in the gut told us something should be consumed. Then we passed a sushi bar. Perfect. Little bits of food beautifully arrayed a la japonaise. It worked. See, it was little food, and multi-choice little food.
On another occasion we were in Victoria and had been away for a few days and had grown equally offended by eatery food choices. Why do I want to spend money for meatloaf that isn’t anywhere near as good as what I make, or a steak that is disgustingly overpriced? And then, Wendy suggested a tapas bar. Perfect! Little food.
The Spanish don’t have a great track-record in a few realms, like bullfighting and decimating indigenous peoples in Central and South America in the name of the God the Spaniards subscribed to. Granted, they have produced some pretty decent painters, from Goya to Dali to Picasso, and some good poets. Yet, I will forgive them any national sins for their invention of tapas. What a civilized way to eat. Just little bitty-bits of food that only make one want to move on to the next one.
All-round, I like small foods. Hate cocktail parties, but love scarfing down hors d oeuvre in significant amounts. Give me those deviled eggs or little cracker things with shrimp on them and I am very happy.
Offer a tray of French pastries and I am as gluttonous as Don Juan in a brothel. Send around one of those sandwich trolleys in an English tea shop – you know, the ones with the little sammies – and I can rack up a pretty healthy tab.
This is all going to say that Wendy and I decided we are going to try to eat tapas-style in future. It’s be good for us and also inspire us to find some meal alternatives.