What is it about “the most wonderful time of the year?” It makes normally food-sensible people eat like ravenous beasts for weeks on end. We throw caution to the wind and then take the Scarlett O’Hara approach of “I’ll think about it tomorrow” while stuffing another frosted cookie in our mouths.
Although I’m trying to take my own advice and slow down this holiday season, there was one party I could not refuse; Cambridge, Massachusetts was my Sunday afternoon destination. I started out the day with a hearty and late breakfast of whole wheat pancakes, local butter, and pure maple syrup. After resting and reading for a few hours, I styled my pompadour, got dressed, jumped in the Jeep, and hit the highway. There was no need to speed, so I took it Sunday-drive slow and motored south via Route 1A, through Hampton Beach proper and Seabrook. When I saw Tripoli bakery, I looked at my watch. Yes, it was time for another holiday feeding. Tripoli fills their cannoli fresh while customers wait. Why not? Besides, it wouldn’t be polite to arrive hungry and make a pig of myself when I got to my festive destination, so the cannoli would hold me over until I could survey the party food and make some wise and dainty decisions.
Cannoli consumed, I journeyed on and arrived safely at my destination; I even scored a premier parking spot near my friend’s house. The party was sparkling. My friend has a fun and festive knack for these things and she’s thoughtful about the party food, too. Everything on the savory buffet board was just right size, which is bite-size. There’s never that awkward moment when someone asks “do you live here in Cambridge?” and you have to hold up your index finger with the “just one moment while I dislodge this turkey drumstick from my throat” signal while swallowing a boulder of fowl.
Even the asparagus spears were diminutive enough to be either healthy snacks or cigarette-like conversational props.
Like all good things, my time at the party had to end and I had something else I wanted to do while in Cambridge. I had my Chuck Taylors and a warmer coat in the Jeep, so after a quick change, I was zipping along the blocks to Burdick’s on Brattle Street. I could go on and on about their delightful hot chocolate, but it seems like I have already gone on and on about too much food so I’ll just describe Burdick’s hot chocolate as 5 fancy chocolate bars melted into a cup.
The dinner-time weather was mild and clear and so onward I marched up the old “King’s Highway,” retracing part of the route from pleasant memory. I stopped here, in front of the Longfellow House.
George Washington also lived in this house in 1775 and 1776; the house served as his headquarters during the Siege of Boston. In spite of the cars passing by, the sidewalks were quiet and all thoughts of food had finally disappeared. Ghosts of an ancient past crept into my mind and I wanted to walk. I wondered “did George Washington walk along this path?” I walked all the way to the intersection of Brattle Street and Fresh Pond Parkway, then turned around and explored the other side of Tory Row, darting down historic side streets. I walked for over an hour and it was glorious. I have never walked Boston’s famous Freedom Trail; I’m sure it’s perfectly lovely. Having had an opportunity to walk about Cambridge during daylight and dark, I highly recommend it as a suitable alternative when one has the desire to “hoof it” through history.
Refreshed and alert, I made the long Jeep ride home, not even tempted to stop at Sonic for an early evening milk-shake and fries.
I’m glad I remembered to walk yesterday. Forget about eating. Walking is the tonic during “the most wonderful time of the year;” let’s all do more of it.