I try not to whine about being on a diet, which involves using the Weight Watchers iphone app to track my ‘points,’ the WW term for unionized calories, for the day and trying to keep within the proposed guidelines. But (whine) it’s very hard going to celebrations and not eating too much. Especially when the celebrations are with my Jewish family on the East Coast, where no celebration is complete unless it requires an Alka-Seltzer afterwards.
I did well on the airplane for a change–I usually buy myself a Pringles out of boredom–by taking lots of cut up vegetables and eating them instead of the salty, fatty snacks they offer, but once I landed in New Jersey and joined the family, dieting got much harder.
The first order of business was a meal, which I welcomed because all I had had all day was cut up vegetables. There was eggplant parmiagiana (read: deep fried bread crumbs and cheese, served over pasta) and chicken marsala ( lightly fried chicken breasts, also served over pasta) for dinner.
Breakfast was a buffet in the hotel. By taking miniscule portions and sticking to plain eggs and lots of fruit, I did OK, and I fit into my shapewear (ahem, girdle?) and dress for the synagogue–did I mention this was a Bat Mitzvah?
The Bat Mitzvah girl did a great job, the parents were proud, it was wonderful, but immediately after the service, the carbohydrates came out. First the traditional kiddush wine, which is so sweet that it can be used as a syrup, is served, fortunately in 1-ounce servings. If you don’t want the wine because you are avoiding sugar, don’t worry–there is sweet grape juice as an alternative. Does anyone know a rabbi that speaks pancreas, to explain this to my insulin levels? Then we bless and eat and a lovely challah (3 points a slice) and wash that down with a selection of cakes and donuts ( I avoided).
Then we went to what I thought would be a luncheon but was instead a full-on party, the same as would happen at night on the West Coast.
Well, it wasn’t exactly the same.
I had forgotten that in the New York area, simcha (celebratory) meals are preceded by cocktail hours, where everyone ignores the bar and mobs a complete selection of appetizers, served buffet style. Fortunately I caught myself before I filled my plate with delightful high-carb delights like the pasta and cheeses that were right near the door, and loaded up my plate with a lot of roasted vegetables(zero points) –which I promptly covered with short ribs and mashed potatoes (not zero points), and,when I saw them at another table tucked away in a corner, smoked fish and sushi.
Then I sat down feeling righteous. If I squinted and crossed my eyes, I didn’t have THAT much on my plate. But that East Coast ethic–too much is barely enough–torpedoed any hope I had for keeping my consumption down to what was on my plate. Servers came around to the tables and brought hors’ d’ouevres to us. Sweet potato puffs, in crumbly (high carb, high fat) pastry. I just had one. Vegetable (fried) egg rolls with apricot sauce (I didn’t have any) Chicken Teriyaki, which would have been OK if the dark meat chicken had the skin taken off, but then they wouldn’t have been so good! I had two, which must have been 5 points each. Then the servers brought cocktail franks wrapped in pastry, aka pigs in blankets. PIGS IN BLANKETS, my favorite simcha food of all time.
I resisted. But then I had to have myself a beer.
Then there was dinner, or linner, or dunch, or the Senior Super Special, considering the first course was served at 3:00 pm. I left a lot of food on my plate (which contained a whole day’s worth of points, easily) and danced for at least 30 minutes (OK, take two points off) Then there was cake (4 points), and coffee, and then the REAL dessert (fugheddaboutit).
Oh, dear, dessert was creme brulee, with lots of nutmeg and it was just soo good, I ate my husband’s also. The simcha was over at 5:30, and we met my cousins for a little snack at a diner at 9 pm.
It’s Jersey, ya gotta go to a diner, right?