It starts in November, I never know exactly when but always before Thanksgiving. My anticipation is great; the window of indulgence always too small, it lasts only till New Years. I know it’s best that way; to extend it in any way would put me in program. I have trouble maintaining for the holiday season as it is without a lot of compensating. And these days I am compensating all the time.
This year it was earlier than last, I started checking the store shelves in anticipation the first week of November and got nadda. So you can imagine my surprise that same week going into a Starbucks and seeing the sign that the read the eggnog lattes were back. Yes! I have a nog problem, I am a nogaholic. Not my term, a friend coined about me a few years ago when he had heard me order one too many times.
“I’ll have a Grande eggnog latte, heavy on the nog”.
I don’t know when my love affair began with the nog but I believe because of my love of all products of the cow, maybe forever. Please, a woman who picks milk as one of her three desert island foods, need I say more? As with all folks who have a deep thirst I can take it any which way as long as I get it. I try to start the season slowly so I am not running 5 miles a day to compensate for its gut spreading goodness. I start the season with soy, yes there is soy nog, and a light version at that. The purest will say this is a bastardization of all that is pure and merry and they would be right. They also are people who know what moderation is, the middle of the road sort of speak, I do not. I have a passing recognition of moderation as I careen from one side of the road to the other. That being the case I start with light soy nog for the first week or two and try to limit my lattes to once a week, though not always successfully. There have been times in my past when I didn’t limit my trips to Starbucks at all and gave the barista a nasty stalker scare. He didn’t know I was just there for the nog, poor lamb. So one eggnog latte a week keeps money in my pocket and me out of the court system, really a win-win my attorney assures me.
Typically I start my days with a little nog in my coffee, just as a pick me up. The nog helps smooth out the morning and get me in the right frame of mind for the day. Sometimes I might have a latte on the go or have a nog at lunch to celebrate the season. I don’t do this every day but there are so many holiday lunches, parties and pot lucks. Someone always has a little nog stowed away, and no it is not always me, sometimes there are more of us. It’s not like I don’t have rules about these things, I am in total control. What is important is I always wait till it gets dark for the nutmeg to come out. I use a whole nutmeg and grate it fresh every time, I got the nutmeg from a guy I know with a small set up in midtown Manhattan. It cost a fortune but hey last time a friend bought it for me, granted he was the one to coin the phrase “nogaholic”. Yea, he thinks he is a funny guy but he’s a writer and you know how they are. Once in a blue moon I might add brandy or rum but really why use a mixer? It just dilutes the nog, that’s strictly “armature hour” my dad would say
By the 2nd week of the season I am no longer satisfied with the soy, what was delicious for its novelty and newness at the kick off no longer meets my needs. I am ready for the light eggnog. For the love of the cow I am satisfied for at least 2 to 3 weeks with light eggnog and try all the brands on the market in search for the perfect light. I do notice during this time my pants are getting tight, I am drinking a lot of coffee to get going in the morning and it is always very light from the nog. On the weekends I might add a little nutmeg to the coffee grounds to kick it up a notch. What can a bump hurt to the brew? I know the fully leaded is coming, the full fat nog with its creamy rich velvety sweetness that coats everything in its path with Christmas cheer. I stall as long as I can because I don’t ever go full fat till Christmas week. Leading up to that week I am wearing a lot more forgiving fabrics and styles. I have Omar the tent maker on speed dial for holiday party situations that might arise.
I was getting close to Christmas week and looking forward to the full splendor of my holiday cheer when I noticed what might be a fly in the ointment. I started walking past bakery windows and perusing stollen. As per Wikipedia for those of you who are not familiar with this seasonal treat.
“Stollen is a traditional German cake, usually eaten during the Christmas season, when called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. A similar cake from the Dutch cuisine is called a Kerststol in Dutch while in Italian cuisine the Panettone also shows a likeness.”
I finally got my nerve up and went in and placed an order for one. It was a 3 day wait but it was a good bakery and I was sure it would be pretty high end stuff. Plus I was two weeks out from full fat nog and this would be nice with the light version till then. I picked up the stollen and had them cut it for me so I could individually wrap each slice in saran and double bag it to freeze it. I did this in hopes that I could go slow, just a little here and there. I wanted the cake to get me to the holiday. It was an attempt at staying to the middle of the road. I never had a chance. This stuff was full of butter, sugar, nuts and nirvana. I was working my microwave hard to keep up on the demand. I was even caught once or twice in public with powered sugar on my clothes and upper lip. But thankfully always by those close to me, people with discretion. I didn’t think a little stollen would hurt, what I have learned is like nog there is never enough.
As I sit here and write this my freezer is bare of baked goods. I have two jugs of Hungry Girl’s, a diet maven and recipe genius’s, lean rendition of eggnog in my refrigerator. I just needed a week to clean up before Christmas, to pull it together and get out of my sweat pants. I might have to reconsider my priorities during the holidays and choice of celebratory accoutrement. I started talking to some people; they are pretty nice and very supportive. They are the ones that turned me onto the homemade light version recipes and resources. It’s a weekly group who made me take a hard look at things, things from my past, my choices, and my denial. What I know now is when I made that jump from nog to stollen, the hard stuff; it was a cry for help. With their guidance I saw my beloved nog for what it truly was, a crutch. I am not going to get on a soap box here; I know how that can be. I just wanted to own that I might have a problem, and more importantly that nog is a gateway drug.