‘Tis the season to commit gluttony, something I did during a recent hosted holiday celebration at a Seattle restaurant.
About twenty of us, maybe more, but it was too hard to see down the length of the table and count, ate ourselves silly. The orgy began innocently with appetizers: oysters on the half shell; salami, olives and marcona almonds; smoked salmon and potato latkes; a platter of cured meats; pumpkin ravioli; bread, and a cheese plate.
As the evening progressed I noted that, even when shared, some of the appetizer plates were as large as a typical evening meal. I relaxed, confident that we had made a seamless transition from appetizer to entrée and the meal was nearly over.
But as I was checking my watch, thinking it might be time to go home and sleep off the spread, the waiter came to take our main course orders. I chose “house gnocchi with black trumpet mushrooms and butternut squash,” not even considering that the host wouldn’t have objected to one less entrée on his growing bill. Between glasses of Chianti I excused my gluttony, thinking, Hey, it’s a party.
The bowl of little potato pillows was not a huge serving…and would have satisfied even if all I ate that evening was a bowl of little potato pillows.
Regrettably, dinner did not end there.
For dessert I couldn’t resist the label, English toffee sticky pudding, which turned out not to be a typical pudding, but a cake slathered with a heavy cream sauce and crowned with whipped cream. I shared this dessert with another woman, which was lucky because that gave me the opportunity to also share the pomegranate poached pear tart that someone else had ordered.
For those not steeped in Christian tradition, gluttony is one of the seven cardinal sins joining lust, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride as gateway sins. I call them that, because, apparently, these sins open the door to countless others. For example, once you’ve envied someone else’s Christmas present, you’ve set out on the road to perdition. According to Catholic doctrine cardinal sins also pose the threat of eternal damnation.
Trust me, suffering from the worst stomach ache I’ve had since I was ten, which lasted until four a.m., was a bigger incentive to change my eating habits than the threat of eternal damnation at some later date. Plunging into the other six sins is still a strong possibility, but gluttony has been crossed off my list forever.