Alison Berkley Margo: The Princess’s Palate
Aspen, CO, Colorado
I love it when my column comes out on a holiday because I can pretend I’m like Rachael Ray or Martha Stewart or Oprah and do a holiday special.
Thanksgiving always had special meaning for the Berkley family. In addition to being outright gluttonous and hedonistic (these are a few of our favorite things), it’s the one time of year my parents don’t have to pretend they’re not atheists and my brother and I are allowed to be fat (we in fact have our own “I am a very fat man” song).
This holiday was really cut out for us because my parents are all about education over religion. This holiday does celebrate some kind of history, even if that history has been rewritten quite a bit. They have us believe it was some kind of Pilgrim dinner party when really it was more like a bloodbath, but whatever. At least the food is good.
So this is a holiday even my nontraditional family can celebrate with reckless abandon, when the only thing being worshiped is the smell of turkey roasting in the oven. It’s also no secret I love to cook, and I love to eat. Thanksgiving gives me an excuse to watch the Food Network all the livelong day without feeling like I’m getting old and turning into a loser. The other night Bobby Flay threw out a pomegranate glaze for his turkey that won him another Throwdown, so I am not wasting my time. I am learning valuable lessons.
Here are a few little tips for every princess who wants to let her inner pig squeal today. The official Princess Thanksgiving Survival Guide:
1) The Three R’s: Rationalize, rationalize, rationalize.
When I’m about to do something bad, something I know I shouldn’t do, I tell myself these little white lies to make myself feel better about it. Like, when I used to smoke, I would tell myself, “If I can run six miles without any problem, I can smoke. One wrong plus one right make a right.” If you have any chance of enjoying this gluttonous pig-out session without turning bulimic, I suggest you begin rationalizing now. Here’s how you do it. Tell yourself that come Monday, you are going to commit to that workout routine/diet/cleanse/30-day hot yoga challenge you’ve been talking about doing for so long. One day of eating is not only going to get those last few indulgences out of your system – it’s going to make you feel so sick that starving yourself next week will actually be easy and fun.
If you really don’t want to stuff your face until that top button on your pants pops off, just go ahead and lie. I mean, come on. We do it on airplanes all the time. You know, order a vegetarian meal in advance just because you know the regular meal is going to taste like crap (OK, maybe I’m dating myself here – I am aware they don’t feed you bupkis on the plane, but you get the idea). God knows I’ve pulled the kosher card on Easter just because I don’t like ham. Just keep in mind that if you go that route, you can’t eat shrimp cocktail, either, which kind of blows. When you’ve got big, honking heaps of mashed potatoes and green-bean casserole, touting vegetarianism might not spare you that many calories, either. If you’re really determined to exercise self-control and discipline without offending anyone, tell them you’ve gone vegan. That way, the only day that’s getting ruined is your own.
They say the best way to control your appetite at meals is to drink at least 8 ounces of water before you sit down. Screw that. It’s a holiday, so you might as well try wine or vodka or beer. There’s nothing like a little Bread Soda to liquidize your lunch. Plus, my favorite-ever buzz is what I like to call “The Empty Stomach Buzz,” when even the biggest alcoholics in the world can turn into a cheap date. There’s nothing like that feeling of alcohol seeping into your veins before you’ve had any food to absorb it. Plus, it does fill you up, so you’re less likely to overeat. I’ve heard there are plenty of other drugs out there that can help curb your appetite but this isn’t the time or the place (you can go to the club later and dance it off). Just don’t overdo it. I had a friend once who passed out at the table and was never invited back for Thanksgiving dinner again. Passing out before you pig out is good, as long as nobody sees you do it.
4) Wear the proper attire.
Ladies, this is not the time to strut those ridiculously tight skinny jeans. On the other end of the Current-80s-Inspired-Trends-I-Hate is the boyfriend jean, which, while being ugly and too high-waisted is baggy at least. Nothing will get you down faster than that red mark in your skin that’s left on account of your jeans being too tight. When I go into the bathroom and pull my pants down and it looks like they’re still on because every seam has been imprinted into my skin, I know it’s time to get back into the hot room and sweat it off with some yoga. Don’t let a little discomfort ruin your Thanksgiving. Go baggy or go home.
The best option is to accept the fact that The Battle of The Bulge is a fight you can’t win today. Chances are all the stress you’re creating for yourself over what you eat and don’t eat is a lot worse for you than one day of indulgence is. After all, this is a day of abundance and being thankful for all that we have. Ladies, just let your Pig Flag Fly. The truth is, those boys would rather hear you squeal than whine.
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For the past five-plus years I have sat in a big chair in a small office on Hyman Avenue watching life in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley play out in front of me.