Five steps to holiday happiness

November 27, 2012

A lot more Rehoboth Beach restaurants were open for Thanksgiving this year than in the past. Every time I logged on to the obsessive-compulsive Specials List at (does he need to get a life, or is it just me?) there were more and more places offering buffets or prix fixe deals, some with free seconds. More evidence that our sleepy little wintertime town isn’t all that that sleepy anymore. Oh well, it was bound to happen. People are starting to take notice of our gastronomic superiority.

But now it’s over, and many of us can’t believe we ate the whole thing. Whatever flickers of control might have existed before Thursday are now drowned out by mashed potatoes loaded with butter and cheese, heaping spoonsful of sausage dressing, and those little marshmallows that sprout spontaneously on caramelized sweet potatoes.

But the best is yet to come! See those dates printed in red on your December calendar? As part of our ongoing community outreach, The Business of Eating is poised to guide you through the upcoming culinary minefield. After much research (assisted by plop plop, fizz fizz) we have compiled a list of five sure-fire rationalizations to help get you through the holidays. One of my favorite newspaper columnists here at the beach defines rationalization as “rigging the conclusion.” But sometimes conclusion-rigging just tastes better. So, here goes:

1. You don’t gain weight if you eat while standing over the sink. It’s a proven fact that sitting is fattening. So it follows that food consumed vertically over the sink bypasses the stomach. After all, it’s not really a “meal” meal, right? Or at least that’s what we believe while ripping into that turkey leg we squirreled away while everybody else was busy admiring the pie.

2. Food from somebody else’s plate contains no calories. We used to dine with a friend who insisted that we not order garlic bread because it was “too much.” So we would dutifully order it for ourselves. The attack that followed was chillingly reminiscent of the roast-on-a-rope scene from Jaws. We were lucky to escape with all digits intact.

3. Appetizers don’t count. This is music to the ears of those who appreciate crunchy mozzarella sticks, cheezy potato skins, fried mac ‘n’ cheese and pretty much anything wrapped in bacon. “Oh, I’m on a diet. I’ll just get a couple of appetizers.” This also applies to “small plates” and “tapas.” Call them what you will, but is annihilating five appetizers/small plates/tapas more dainty than just ordering an entrée? Of course it is! And it has no connection whatsoever to the mysterious shrinkage of your clothes.

4. Eat what you want as long as you do it in the dark when nobody’s looking. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody’s there to hear it, it doesn’t make a sound, right? Same thing with noshing in private. My columnist friend calls it “secret eating.” I call it “fun.”

5.  Exclaiming, “Oh, my goodness, I’ll never be able to eat all that!” within six nanoseconds of the arrival of your food instantly reduces the caloric content by 90 percent. Just hope nobody’s looking when the server wrestles your plate - empty, shiny and spotless - from your trembling hands.

If you made it this far, then you probably agree that eating at the beach can be fun. So many goodies that we don’t have to drive very far to enjoy! And so many we can eat while standing up. And in the dark. No wonder we like it here.

The holidays are upon us, so take everything in moderation, including moderation.

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at

    Masthead photo by Grant Gursky. Used with permission from Coastal Style Magazine.

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