The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 25, 2010

TOM LAVIS | Festive season consumed by weighty matters

Tom Lavis

— One day after Christmas and I’m already staring at a big fat New Year’s resolution.

From Thanksgiving feasts to the multiple Christmas meals, I have come to the realization that I am infected with sweet tooth disease.

Turning down holiday foods is tough.

It is a bittersweet aspect of the holiday season, or should I say butter sweet?

Festive foods are all around, and often it’s hard to say no.

In about six days, 99.9 percent of us are going to vow that healthy eating and getting in shape will be our top priorities.

Perhaps within a week of making those resolutions, 99.8 percent of us will have dropped by the wayside.

So after the first of the year, I’m planning to make an appointment to see if my dentist can locate and extract my sweet tooth.

If he won’t pull it, perhaps he can numb it enough to prevent the consumption of most things sugary, honeyed or candied from my diet.

I think he sprinkles powdered sugar on each tooth to locate the offending fang.

For those who know me, I have never been one to shy away from topping off a meal with a little dessert.

But this holidays season has hit me particularly hard.

It seems the cookie trays were more plentiful, pies of every kind were offered and my real downfall of nutrolls were exceptionally delicious.

About the only thing not among my holiday dishes was a chocolate covered blonde.

What scares me is that we still have another week of partying and visiting ahead of us before I have to propose this resolution.

I’m far from the only person afflicted with this shortcoming.

In my circle of friends, the worst picker may be Crutch Crupnik.

It’s not uncommon for us to attend some of the same parties during the season.

I noticed he has a routine of sneaking goodies into his mouth when he thinks no one is looking.

His favorite ploy is walking up to the buffet table and grabbing two

12-inch plates.

As he walks down the line, he stacks his top plate with celery and carrot sticks, chunks of cauliflower, some broccoli and two or three sweet gherkin pickles. He takes a teaspoon of vegetable dip and dabbles it onto the corner of the plate.

He then fills the bottom plate with cakes, cookies and pastries.

Placing the vegetable plate on top of the dessert plate, he makes his way to a quiet corner to eat.

If a friend or a hostess approaches him, he fiddles with the vegetable plate and says something like “broccoli can provide some special cholesterol-lowering benefits.”

On Thanksgiving weekend, I called him on this practice.

“Why two plates?” I asked. “You can always go back for more.”

He didn't answer my question, but posed one of his own.

“Wasn’t that your empty dessert plate stuffed into the upstairs bathroom garbage can?” he asked. “You didn’t want your wife seeing those two pieces of chocolate cheesecake you slipped under your napkin, did you?”

Crutch and I settled the standoff by agreeing that in the coming week we would keep holiday feasting in check without incessant calorie counting.

“That’s after I eat these two pieces of pumpkin roll and a raisin-filled cookie,” he said.

My only advice to Crutch was to wipe the cream cheese off the sofa before he got up.

“It was on the bottom of your vegetable plate when you placed it down,” I said. “And don’t worry about those baby carrots that rolled off your plate and behind the cushion, they won’t find them til spring.”

To eat or not to eat, that is the question.

We toasted our resolve with two cups of ice cream punch.

Crutch suggested that instead of vowing to get more exercise, we should think about eating more brain food.

Wouldn’t that be sweet?