Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, my mother makes two different kinds of dip. One is an onion dip, made by combining a tub of sour cream and a packet of onion soup mix. The other is a beef dip which I think is just warm pastrami all chopped up and combined with uh, another tub of sour cream? Whatever it is, it’s sheer insanely delicious meat-magic for your insides. My mom makes them because her mom used to make them.
She serves the onion one with ridged potato chips and the beef one with Fritos (I KNOW RIGHT?), though I can attest that, in a pinch, chips are not required to enjoy them. She got the recipes from her mom, who also made both dips for the holidays. That’s right — it’s a family dipdition, sat-fat style. Zero shame in that game.
When I asked her for both “recipes” (LOLZ), we got to talking about how she and her four siblings used to watch as their dad was presented with the bowl of the beef dip by my grandmother. He’d hunker over it with the bag of Fritos and go to goddamn town. Only once he was fully sated were my mom, my aunts, and my uncle allowed to have at it. I can actually visualize my grandfather snarling at his kids should they have reached with their chubby baby digits for a chip and some dip prematurely.
In my house growing up, none of us really had the gravitas (read: imposing, terrifying height and hair-trigger temper) required to keep anyone else at bay when it came to falling onto the dips. It was every Stokes for himself, a flurry of elbows and an unholy atom of six human beings, jaws going at a rapid clip, paying homage to the coveted nucleus of delicious. None of us ever felt like we’d gotten a fair portion. Someone was always accused of eating the most of the dip.
One year, in a bid to stop our wailing, my mother offered a solution — individual bowls of dips. Which we scoffed at in horror — after all, we weren’t animals.
My grandfather, for all his shameless, Scrooge-esque behavior, was definitely onto something. He certainly wouldn’t have refused an individual bowl — in fact, it was pretty much what he expected and was the key to his happiness during the holidays, which he otherwise wasn’t that into.
For most of us, making sure we get the maximum amount of food over the holidays is the true meaning of Christmas. Sure, we couch it in gift giving, in “festivals of lights” and “births of saviors” and “history” and “lang syne” — but at its core, the month of December is about glorious,hedonismbot-worthy excess. So, as an antidote to all those “How To Get Through the Holidays Without Gaining Weight” articles currently popping up everywhere, here are five ways to make sure you get your goddamn jolly on proper!
1. Quality Not Quantity: In order to ensure you maximize your caloric intake (carbs are the reason for the season), go for the richest food items. I’m not saying employ sticks of butter as palate cleansers – but I’m not saying you shouldn’t. Candy canes are awesome, but they don’t really pack a significant wallop, calorie-wise. I suggest supplementing them with things like pecan pie, figgy puddings (Some abjure the fruitcake because there is fruit in it — these people are fools) and every single chocolate orange or piece of Chanukah gelt you can find.
Does the visiting baby relative have a chocolate orange? Take it. Babies are just as allergic to chocolate as dogs*, so really you are helping. To continuing marching down the path to true jolliness, just remember — it’s not quantity, it’s quality. (It’s also quantity.)
*I do not have a dog, baby, or source for this — it’s mainly just a theory.
2. Dress To Impress: In order to make sure you sample every goddamn morsel available to you as you gallivant from party to party (you popular minx, you), it is crucial that you dress not only in a way that reflects your personal style, but for comfort. In other words – set all of the Spanx on fire.
I own several dresses reserved exclusively for eating. Not only do they allow me to glut myself with my mint jelly, but they also highlight the glory of the size 14, pert-as-hell wagon that I have the good fortune to be draggin’. Unsure you’ve got anything in your wardrobe that fits the bill? Check out this sweet and festive schmata. It’s body conscious because eating during the holidays (and also ever) is nothing to hide. Bodycons should be for all bodies. It’s also made almost entirely of rayon and spandex — so comfortable!
Also you can spend the whole night being like, “My dress is from Anthropologie so….” and serving major shade up to anyone who is all, “I think that bitch just stole that baby’s chocolate.”
3. Keep an Open Mind
December is a month to try food you’d normally never give a second glance. Box of cookies that purport to be different flavors but are in fact all the same, tasting of dried-out butter and vanilla dust? Try two of each — juuuuust to be sure they aren’t too subtle for you to distinguish between. Ribbon candy? Hell yes — break me off a piece and call me granny, dude. Turducken? I love the smell of a culinary abomination in the morning! Zucchini latkes? Sweet potato latkes? Cotton Candy latkes?! L’chaim, I say! Let the lamps burn bright, and give me seven.
4. R.S.V.P.: You’ll be invited to a lot of different shindigs — you’ve probably already started going to a few. The key to making sure you don’t miss a fucking morsel is just saying yes. I don’t mean that in like a, “YES! I welcome you, universe!” way (unless that is your jam — also eat all of the jam) — I mean maybe this year go to the office’s after party hosted by the rave aficionado from HR! Say yes to your married friend’s ornament decorating party! Invite in the delivery guy for an impromptu gingerbread house-making party! If every day’s a holiday party, you can rest assured you’re doing all you can to stay jolly as balls.
5. Fuck New Year’s Resolutions: Do not rationalize anything you eat during the month of December. Don’t be all, “It’s Christmas,” or, “Just this once,” or, “Well normally I only eat locally sourced moss but I guess due to the nature of the holiday I can sustain myself on this jug of pastel circus peanut candies,” and really above all don’t be all — “IT IS FINE THAT I AM DOING THIS BECAUSE TOMORROW IT ALL STOPS, IT’S A NEW YEAR AND NEW ME.”
Because if January first rolls around (respect the Mayans, yo) and you open your eyes and blink into the bright winter morning — you will be exactly the same as you are now. Two pounds heavier, 20 pounds heavier, 16 pounds lighter, bald, bespectacled, contacts, Lasik, new hair color, new hair — you are going to be the same. That unchangeable essence of you will continue to rock the Kasbah.
Sometimes your essence will eat all of the After Eights and blame it on the dog. Sometimes your essence will claim your hangover is not from the bottle of Prosecco you drank, but from drinking it through a straw. Sometimes your essence will be a little scared or a little insecure. Often your essence will be silly but loving and fun and fumbling just like everybody else’s essence. And that’s okay.
In fact, it’s better than okay — it’s messy, and expansive and pretty darn grand.