April 20, 2007

The King of Snacking Events: The Bar Mitzvah

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By the time you read this article, I will be 40 hours into my snacking strike. “What?!” you shout aloud, “Why would you, Charlie Niesenbaum, Count of Crackers, Imam of Ice Cream, King of Cookies, stop snacking even for one hour?” The answer: I’m going to a Bar Mitzvah on Saturday and I want to be staaaaaaaaaaaaarving.
I want flies clinging to my face. I want a xylophone ribcage. I want back ribs. I want sunken cheeks, hairy arms and loose teeth. During the silent prayer, I want people to turn around and wonder why my stomach is audible. Why do I want all this? Because when the doors to the cocktail hour open, I want to be an animal, I want to be a cold, calculating, snack-eating machine.
A good cocktail hour lasts 45 minutes, and a professional eater can get 300 individual snacks into that short amount of time. Don’t just dive in though, first you have to do the flyby. The flyby is a two minute walk around, where you get acquainted with the spread. The flyby also teaches you self control. I have seen too many inexperienced young snackers burn out ten minutes in with debilitating stomach cramps. Slow and steady wins the race; this adage holds as much water in cocktail hours as it does in inter-species road races.
Speaking of adages, the first time I ever went to a function (wedding) my dad passed down to me the first rule of cocktail hours (this is true) “Location. Location. Location.” This is why after the flyby, you will find me and my family at the sushi bar. The next time you hear about over fishing in the ocean or fish farms destroying costal ecosystems, think of my family, scarfing down raw fish faster than four Latino men in tuxedos can roll them into seaweed with rice and avocado. My family loves sushi so much, we order the sushi boat when we go to Japanese restaurants. You know, the 50 pound fish boat that is labeled on the menu as “HMS glutton” or “USS you are going to get mercury poisoning.” That giant boat isn’t enough for us though, and we normally order a side roll each.
Enough spicy tuna hand rolls, lets give those sushi makers a break, before they get carpal tunnel. It’s time to kick this cocktail hour into high gear with a long island ice tea (or two.) I’ll be welcoming my Nana back from Florida, and as she pointed out when I last visited her, “You know that has a lot of alcohols mixed together.”
After the sushi bar, its time to hit up the people that carry around the trays. I’ll be chomping down on lamb chops, pigs in blankets, egg rolls that aren’t good, potato puffs, and quiche (the quiche will be too hot and I will burn my mouth). I’ll grab all these things at once, and then wait in line at the pasta bar. And I’ll wait. And I‘ll wait. And I’ll wait. It’s an unwritten rule that the pasta line will take approximately nine minutes more then you could have ever expected. I’ll give up when there are only three people in front of me and head over to the kids section and eat a plate of french fries.
Like the flop movie “Grindhouse” — that based on statistics you haven’t seen — I’m going to insert a preview in the middle of the column. Spoiler Alert: skip to the end of the paragraph if you don’t want anything given away. I’m really excited for my next column, where I will be conducting an interview with Professor Levitsky, from Cornell’s nutrition department. When I contacted him he revealed to me that for optimal health he does not believe in snacking. I’ll be asking the tough questions and getting the answers you deserve. The only question I’ve thought of so far is, “how long could I live if I only ate pizza and drank water,” and its follow up, “what disease would I die from?” See you then!
Welcome back, I hope you had time to go to the bathroom or pop some popcorn (hopefully kettle corn.) I took the free time to secretly loosen my belt, because quite frankly I’m getting stuffed. Not to hungry to skip out on some chicken on a stick. (Note: I am never too hungry to skip out on chicken on a stick.) Hopefully there will be multiple dipping sauces, so that I have an excuse to eat multiple sticks in one standing.
Why do I eat so much at the cocktail hour? Isn’t there a large meal coming my way? Won’t I have a choice of steak, chicken, or fish, and a delicious salad? Come on who are you kidding, that food isn’t very good at all.