As you know, many Italians lose their life during Christmas eve and Christmas lunch because of excessive amount of food. Here is a survival guide for those who want to live longer without disappointing their relatives during a Christmas lunch. Five simple tips given by a Sicilian guy who has already survived 36 Christmas family meals.
- Start starving since October 1st. At Christmas time Italian mamas get pretty serious about cooking and trust me, if you don’t get physically fit before December 24th, you won’t survive. During the months of October and November, feed your body with lettuce and other tastyless green stuff to store some water and clean up your belly. Many Italians have nightmares during the second starving month, it’s normal and it’s a good sign, you are increasing your chances to survive your Christmas meals.
- Do not pick food here and there before sitting at the Christmas table. Hold your tempers and resist to temptations. I know it’s hard not to grab some salami or some warm bread while staring at your mum bumping around the fires like a robot vacuum cleaner. Make yourself useful! ask your mum if she needs a help. The answer will be “I don’t need it thanks, taste this my son! How you like it? How you like your mum my baby?!”. Then give it up…you don’t want to disrespect you Mum, do you?
- Eat slow, drink and breath regularly. Chew, sip and breath with a regular pace. If you start devouring the lasagnas while washing everything down with red wine, it won’t take you a long time before you collapse on the sofa. Italian Christmas meals are almost endless and exhausting, only foodie heroes reach the desserts without fainting. So, keep your concentration, make some break between a bite and another, sip and chat, stretch your belly every ten minutes and unbutton your trousers before facing the heaviest dish. Unzip it if necessary and hold everything wrapped with your belt.
- Do not underestimate your Mamas and Aunties course list. When you believe the Christmas lunch is almost over, actually it’s just starting. For instance, Streaty Mama prepares at least two different pastas, three different second courses (meat, fish or savory pies) and each of us donate the Christmas table the “best cake ever made in town I want everybody to taste and say I’m right”. I’ll give you a useful tip to predict the amount of food you will be forced to eat: count the people sitting around you and multiply it per three, the result is more or less the total number of dishes you are going to be served.
- Practice the ghost move. When you feel that your Italian Christmas meal is about to end, silently slip off the table and reserve your favorite spot on the sofa. It’s called the “ghost move” and it involves a great sense of timing. Conquer the sofa right before the very last dessert is coming, you can always ask your Aunt or your little cousin to deliver it. Important: do the ghost move without letting the others realize you are off the game, your Uncle’s antenna might detect the risk and you might loose your priority. I’ll give you a great tip: before leaving the table, start a conversation that you consider sensitive to your family. Your cousins and brothers will get sucked into the argument while you, the ghost, slowly take your siesta throne.