It was right after Halloween. I was half-watching a TV show, when I heard someone announce that Halloween marks the beginning of the Eating Season.
It has bothered me since. Halloween?
The term, Eating Season, I agree, seems to be ubiquitous. A lot of people probably thought at one time that they had invented it. I know I was one of the self-deluded, until I found out better. It is apparently one of those things that’s so obvious, it just spontaneously popped up all over.
However, even back in the day when I thought I had invented the term all by my clever self, I thought of it as the time that begins with Thanksgiving, not Halloween. It then continues until the New Year begins.
I still think I’m right. Even though some terribly misguided people have said, “Halloween’s over, now Christmas,” I will not recognize the Eating Season until after the Holy Day of Gluttony that comes along the 23rd of this month.
Halloween doesn’t kick anything off, other than possibly a session with the doctor for kids who over-gorge themselves on candy.
But now it’s November. And things are starting to warm up for the real calorie consumption to come.
Already, I’m sure, people are dusting off recipes they only use once a year.
Back when I was still fairly new at my job, I was sent way out into the country to do a feature on a family that still made sure enough English plum pudding, from a recipe brought over from England long ago and preserved by the family.
It was an extensive and expensive process. And it was made well ahead of time because it needed to age. And when was this wonderful concoction ready to serve to guests and give as gifts? Yep. These folks knew all about the Eating Season, even if they didn’t call it that.
(By the way, they served me some. I almost asked them to adopt me. But I digress)
That is a good example of the wonders of the Eating Season. And Thanksgiving is the prime time for beginning that season. What other time of year can I go to my cousin's house, and have to eat off TV trays because the dining table (and a couple of extra tables) has too much food? When else can I look over the offerings and see not only turkey, but ham, dressing, gravy, at least two types of cranberry sauce, potato salad, garlic mashed potatoes, peas, green bean roll ups, deviled eggs, several kinds of salad and rolls? All at once? And actually, that’s only the things I can think of at the moment.
And where else, all at once, do I get a choice of chocolate pie, pecan pie, coconut pie, strawberry cake, Mississippi mud cake, and fudge? Well, it ain’t at Halloween, I can tell you.
Oh, yes, it’s during this time of year that I make more fudge than at any other time. Why? Because it’s the Eating Season, and it begins with Thanksgiving.
My Mom didn’t make English plum pudding, but starting with Thanksgiving, she always had her Sweet Table. And everyone who walked through the door was welcome – expected, even – to have something. There would be cakes, fudge (where d’you think I learned?) pralines and a variety of dipped stuff (She got a real kick out of dipping things).
The end of Thanksgiving simply marks the beginning. The eating continues unabated. There are parties, and dinners, and celebrations – any kind of excuse for folks to get together and eat. I once wondered if the total weight gained by people in this country during the Eating Season would be enough to affect the Earth’s axis. I think scientists are afraid to find out.
This frenzy of eating continues, until the last chip, the last sausage ball, the last cocktail weenie, has been consumed during the last quarter of the last football game of Jan. 1. Even though there is still some football to go, the holidays themselves are over, and folks return to something like a normal diet, not without a few sighs of relief.
So I stand firm with my belief that it is not yet the Eating Season. That will begin with Thanksgiving. Well, it’ll start a little earlier at my cousin’s house – we meet the Sunday before.
Be that as it may, Happy Eating Season to all, and a bicarbonate each night.
I’ve heard it said that we are a nation of laws, and I guess that’s true.
Along with all the laws written down and passed, which we must obey, there are some unwritten laws that seem as impossible to avoid, if not more so, than the written ones.
I’m sure there’s no law stating that no matter how carefully one wraps up, somehow a drop of rain, or a drop coming off a tree, or the edge of a porch, or something, will find its way down one’s back. But it happens all the time, right?
And while we’re at it, where is it written that the aforementioned drop , when it goes down one’s back, is required to be 20 degrees colder than the surrounding drops? I’ve never read that anywhere, but who can deny it?
(EDITOR’S NOTE: David Nichol is a freelance writer who recently retired from the Times-Herald. He can be contacted at email@example.com.)