Some years ago a boxer with the appealing name of Anissa the Assassin was standing outside the gym. It happened to be just before Christmas. She had a fight coming so I politely asked how things were going. Good, she said, but she was finding the holidays a struggle.
“Cookies,” she sighed.
I remember another woman boxer, just an amateur, who trained in the boxing class at Big Steve’s, maybe 80 pounds soaking wet. In just superlative shape, she could routinely perform sit-ups indefinitely, hardly fazed her. George Plimpton fans may remember the photos in Paper Lion of, alternately, Roger Brown was it? a lineman depicted rolling on the turf laughing, who might successfully complete one or two push-ups. And then – I’m going on memory; I can’t find my copy – the contrasting photo, a defensive back, lithe and supple, who could do several hundred but from his knees, which we always considered cheating.
Anissa went in to take it out on the heavy bag, and I wished her luck. I get it, with the cookies. I’ve been hitting the ginger snaps hard, although the only thing I’m training for is Medicaid, and the delusion of taking second base but that’s contingent of getting safely to first. It has been awhile.
But, yes, one regards the annual spate of holiday diet articles like ornaments from the attic. Not one to cast stones, I’ve long believed formal dinners like Thanksgiving are merely obligatory preludes to pie. There is – full disclosure – also a box of Dark Chocolate Covered Cremes in the freezer, a gift, “the festively-designed, seven-ounce box,” notes the creative Trader Joe’s newsletter copy – pretty much the only mail that comes nowadays other than bills.
Weight never having been an issue, I am sympathetic to those who find holiday treats difficult to resist. Dr. Oz, I see, has a long article in the paper on how to “watch the sweet stuff,” and emphasizing the importance of “eliminating the five food felons.” They’re on the loose again.
So, in the spirit of the season, here’s a tip on curbing the cookie intake. You know that plate of calling you? Here’s what you do. Don’t wrap and cover them with cling wrap. NO. And don’t leave them out on the counter, or put them in a holiday jar, or any jar. Simply place them in the refrigerator. That’s it. Let them soak in those delicious lingering odors: the left-over turkey, the stuff that’s been in there for yea…awhile, the old I-think-it’s-ratatouille, the Thanksgiving veg plate, the whole enchilada, the scent that you’ve long since grown used to but that not even an industrial-sized box of Arm & Hammer’s finest could cure. Trust me on this. When those sugar-laden cookies, brownies, pieces of soft pumpkin or pecan pie, etc. start to soak up some of that old kale, spinach, salad dressing, forgotten cheese, and other long past their sale date goodies, not to mention those festering cultures that thrive in the fridge – oh yea, those treats will become progressively less attractive. Eventually, if you still have any taste buds – the first impression is going to suggest immediate action, and I don’t mean ingesting them.
Oh, sure, you’ll be able to force a few down right at the start but give those odors a chance to circulate and settle down in there festering on anything fresh and enticing? Hello Houseatosis sponges. Goodbye former plate of holiday temptation.
Consider it my holiday gift to you.