Guilt-free holidays in five easy steps

November 11, 2022

An increasing number of Cape Region restaurants are open for Thanksgiving, some with huge buffets, some with carryout only, and others with prix fixe deals and free seconds. It’s no secret that our sleepy little wintertime town isn’t all that that sleepy anymore.

Every year I get emails shortly after Thanksgiving from people who simply can’t believe they ate the whole thing. I’m not sure why they feel the need to share their reflux-related adventures with me, but I do appreciate the emails. Keep ‘em coming!

Whatever flickers of control might have existed before the annual holiday food fest are often extinguished by mashed potatoes loaded with butter and cheese, heaping spoonfuls of sausage dressing, and those little marshmallows that spontaneously sprout on caramelized sweet potatoes.

And it’s not over yet. See those dates printed in red on your December calendar? So, as part of my ongoing community outreach, The Business of Eating is poised to guide you through the hard-to-resist twists and turns of the upcoming culinary minefield. After much research (read: plop, plop, fizz, fizz), I have compiled a list of five surefire rationalizations to help get you through the holidays. A longtime self-help columnist here at the beach defines rationalization as “rigging the conclusion.” That’s probably true. But let’s face it, conclusion-rigging tastes good. So here goes:

1. 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. Her attack on the aforementioned bread was chillingly reminiscent of the roast-on-a-rope scene from Jaws. We were lucky to escape with all digits intact.

2. 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 admiring the pie.

3. Appetizers don’t count. This is music to the ears of those who appreciate crunchy mozzarella sticks, cheezy potato skins, fried pickles 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 annihilating five small plates/appetizers/tapas doesn’t seem any daintier than just ordering an entrée (or two). And it is entirely unrelated to the mysterious shrinkage of your clothes.

4. Eat what you want as long as you do it in the dark. 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. Our local therapist/columnist 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%. Just hope nobody’s looking when the server wrestles your plate – 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. The holidays are upon us, so take everything in moderation, including moderation. Bon appétit!


Bob Yesbek writes and talks beach eats nonstop. He can be reached at

  • 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

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