Peeps May Safely Graze

-by Michael!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

By which I mean, of course, that I have finally finished digesting the massive Thanksgiving feast of turkey, dressing and/or stuffing, ham, various types of potato and sweet-potato dishes, perhaps one green vegetable, and a plethora of desserts - just in time to gorge myself on almost the exact same thing once more!

When it comes to our family mealebrations of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Bergs and Brittinghams do quite a few things differently. Stuffing is the name of the game for Joanie's family, while dressing is on the table for mine. Sweet potatoes down south require sugar, nuts, sugar, marshmallows, sugar, butter, and perhaps some more sugar, while the Pennsylvania family keeps it real with only the nuts and the butter (if that). And the Brittinghams, as a rule, don't deep-fry quite as frequently.

But the biggest dining difference between these two most glutinous of holidays comes not in the meal itself, but in the extra-meal spaces in the days surrounding the actual holidays themselves.

My folks always have snacks on hand, of course. They had children - boys, no less! - and have kept a plethora of chips, dips, and eggs (because who doesn't whip up scrambled eggs after a long school day?) on hand. It's not like we don't eat well in my parents' house. (Everyday meals, in particular, are drastic things that often feature as many side-dishes as the full-family Thanksgivings.)

But in the Brittingham house, the snacking ...

It just never stops.

The usual scene is this:

Somebody sits on a couch in the den, burrows under a minimum of two blankets, and opens a book, or turns on the television.

Somebody else comes into the room, sits down, grabs another blanket, and either turns on the television or lobbies for a channel-change.

This process keeps repeating until there are no more blankets. At which point somebody invariably comes in, detects a lack of blankets, harrumphs, goes to their bedroom, then comes back down and proceeds to sit on the couch and lobby for a channel-change.

And then Sandy - my delightful mother-in-law - appears, as if by some maternal magic, bearing a tray of [insert snackstuff here].

Cookies? Crackers and cheese? Chips and dip? Nuts?


She reappears ten minutes later, bearing a different load of foodstuffs.

Then, ten minutes later...

You get the idea, of course. We just never stop. You might think that this perpetual state of infini-grazing would lead us to spoil our suppers and not be able to eat the actual regular-interval-type meals.

You would be wrong.

The only interference on hand is the meals themselves, which tend to disrupt the snacking cycle...

For about half an hour - and then? It begins anew.

Contrary to appearances, this is NOT where most of the eating happens at the Brittingham House.