Somewhere amid of my third helping of squash risotto, fourth slice of ham, millionth cookie, my brother's famous creme brulee, and the hot buttered rum, I thought: "I can't go on like this." As so many do at the tail end of the holidays, I whispered promises through the stuffed, fatty, boozy haze into which I'd sunk. "Starting tomorrow, it's raw vegetables and water only."
Sure, you said you would stop doing this. But who wants to keep that promise?
But it takes little more than a few salads sans dressing to make one realize that culinary abstinence is boring, frustrating, and completely unsatisfying. Thus begins the annual breaking of the New Year's resolutions.
If you're going to go down (and you will), don't do it via a packet of stale Twinkies. Here are the top five ways to bring unhealthy food and booze back into your life, and to hell with plans for a trimmer waistline.
5: Tom Douglas is, metaphorically speaking, the friend who shows up at your door New Year's Day and asks if you want to head out for Bloody Marys to kill the hangover from the night before. Sure, he heard you say: "After tonight, I'm never drinking again." But he has no intention of letting you keep such an absurd resolution.
The proof that Douglas is "that guy": One week after the calendar hit 2011, Douglas opened a second Serious Pie location in South Lake Union (436-0050, 401 Westlake Ave. N.) The first iteration features reimagined pizzas with inventive toppings that come carb-loaded and dripping in fat, and are perfectly scrumptious. It's a much better way to give in to your slice itch than Domino's.
The ghost of New Year's resolutions past.
4: Speaking of misguided plans to give up alcohol, instead of trying to maintain stone-cold sobriety, you can just become a better drinker. Starting Jan. 25, sommelier Dieter Schafer is hosting a three-session class at South Seattle Community College (6000 16th Ave. S.W.) with the self-explanatory title: "Wine Tasting Primer: Sight, Smell, Taste." For $93 you'll learn how to read a wine label, what "nose" means (hint: It's not a body part), and generally how to fall off the wagon with class.
3: The worst part about breaking your resolutions is the shame. You make a big stinkin' deal out of joining a gym, training for a marathon, starting the same diet Bill Clinton used to lose all that weight. Then come about mid-March, you find yourself trying to explain to friends and acquaintances why it all fell apart. "I twisted my ankle and my doctor told me to ease up on the running. Looks like Boston will have to wait for 2012." "My grocery store doesn't carry the right food for the South Beach Diet." Etc, etc.
Unless, that is, you can turn breaking your resolutions into an accomplishment. Cook's World (2900 N.E. Blakeley St., 528-8192) offers a variety of culinary classes for would-be chefs of any experience level. The home cheese-making workshop ($60) is the perfect way to transform a shameful broken resolution to avoid fatty foods into a source of bragging rights.
It's not a diet failure; it's a personal, creative success!
2: Snack foods make you fat. They are also delicious. If you've been to Bell Square lately, you may have noticed the "coming soon" sign for a new restaurant devoted entirely to snack foods: the Las Vegas-based Munchbar. The Bellevue location is set to open sometime this month. The website only has job applications on it at the moment, but assuming the menu bears a close resemblance to the Vegas version, Pacific Northwesterners will soon be noshing on chili-cheese waffle fries and pizzadillas. A trip to Munchbar might also be a good time to consider breaking any pot-related resolutions.
1: This one isn't so much about what you put into your body, but it is a food-related resolution breaker. Remember how you said you would be a nicer, less cynical person in the New Year? Might be time to rethink that. Michael Pollan, he who argues that one ought to pay $8 for a dozen eggs and $4 per pound for peaches, is making an appearance at Benaroya Hall to make us all feel bad for eating processed foods.
Photo by Ken Light He knows he's better than you.
Look, I try as hard as any other guilt-ridden Seattleite to buy local, organic produce grown by well-paid workers who drive Priuses provided by their employers. But unlike Pollan, I haven't hit The New York Times' bestseller list. Neither have most of you. So if you've ever wanted to throw the aforementioned Twinkies at his head, now's your chance. Or, you know, you could go for the edification and the opportunity to make another round of resolutions.