Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas in Ohio: Food with a Side of Family

I saw more than 30 members of my family during the week I was in Ohio and ate roughly twice that number of cookies.

The food is always plentiful when I go home for a visit, and never more so than at Christmas. First up: Christmas dinner. More than two dozen relatives appeared at my grandparents' house bearing gifts -- not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but rather baked beans, potato salad and peanut butter cheesecake. It's always buffet-style, so I eat until I'm stuffed and then I help myself to another serving.

At my parents' house it's more of the same. Different sets of relatives came on a couple of different nights, and I should have prepared myself like a competitive eater. How else was I to fit in the deer meat, beer bread and shrimp with cocktail sauce? Forget the chicken sandwich; I'll take another slice of angel food cake.

And the cookies. Oh, the cookies. Filled with M&Ms, chocolate chips, peppermint candies or some combination of the above. At my mother-in-law's, I gorged on meringues and melt-in-your mouth sugar cookies. I might have had only two cookies for dessert, but that doesn't count the two I had for a mid-afternoon snack. Or the two I had before bed. My mouth tasted of butter before I fell asleep.

One of the Christmas gifts from my parents? A bathroom scale.

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