I’ve been eating a lot of strange post-holiday snacks this week. After the festivities were over, I found myself in an apartment full of ribboned and confettied food products, like cookies, chocolate, and this giant tub of stuff from the Popcorn Factory. At first I was excited about the prospect of finding inside different varieties of gourmet kernels, but no such luck; instead it was filled with bags of neon-colored prepopped corn and other odds and ends. Disgusted as I was, I still have to give them credit for the surprise factor — who’d have thought of bright red cinnamon-flavored popcorn? Or ranch? And “spicy” flavored peanuts instead of just roasted peanuts? Good for them.
But after eating almost all of it, not good for me. I’m feeling heavy and lethargic from my junk-food binges, spurred by curiosity and an innate aversion to wasting any (close relative to) food. Why do we do this to one another and disguise it as a gift? So that we can be all the more determined to make a New Year’s resolution to eat better?
Probably the only nutritious food we commonly swap during the holidays is fruit — invariably from Harry & David. I received my share from the mail-order giant myself. The apples were all coated with a conspicuous glaze that needed to be washed off before eating them. I could feel the stuff running off onto my hands as I rinsed them. I suppose it’s to be expected, since most non-organic apples are waxed and we’re used to washing them to rid the pesticides anyhow. For now, I’m just glad that they’re not covered in a caramel and chocolate glaze. My biggest packaged food disappointment, however, was that the oranges were also coated with the stuff. It cracked and flaked off as I peeled the rind off of one, creating a pile of red-tinted shards on the plate underneath. But unlike the apples, the oranges weren’t even sweet. It’s one thing to try to make a good fruit look even more appealing with artificial applications. But to “make-up” a haggard, dried-out and discolored orange? Now that just seems wrong.
What are your worst holiday food experiences?