We're talking about resolutions all this week, and since it's "food" day here in the Life section, let's talk about food and its beloved companion, booze.
Booze first: L. Rust Hills, in his classic tome of curmudgeonliness, How to Do Things Right, says, "the problem with most advice you get about … drinking is it comes from the wrong people. … People who couldn't handle booze at all are always trying to tell you you have to give it up entirely."
But, as the long-time Esquire fiction editor says, "their solution is worse than your problem." I tend to agree. For me, moderation is key – mostly because I never want to have to quit. Sit with the wife at the end of long day and sip cranberry juice – or double Scotch on the rocks? Have to say I prefer the latter.
Now, I understand there are those for whom moderation is simply not an option. I recall seeing CNN's Piers Morgan interview Rob Lowe, who's been clean and sober for more than 20 years, ever since blowing out on booze and coke and whatever else he could get his hands on as a teen movie star. At one point, Morgan says: "Don't you miss – what I would miss would be just having a nice glass of wine with a bowl of pasta."
And Lowe says: "Why would anyone have a [single] glass of wine? Why bother? That's how you know … you're one of us. If I have a glass of wine, inevitably it's two glasses … and it's like: It just begins."
I definitely have that gene. I'm like Lowe (except without the looks, fame, cash or sobriety). One glass of wine just makes me thirsty. That's why I have to keep it in a box (my thirst, not the wine). So this year, I reaffirm my commitment to moderation: Just have one or two, and instead of "it begins," it ends.
It's funny Morgan should have mentioned pasta. Food-wise, that's my biggest bête noir. This last year I've tried a couple of "low-carb" diets, including the "paleo" diet (eat like a pre-agrarian caveman, no grains, no gluten), and that was fun for a while, and I definitely felt the benefits …
But then a heaping, steaming plate of spaghetti carbonara (which even has "carb" in its name) will float into my imagination, I'll head to the stove (I always have the simple ingredients required for a carbonara – pasta, pancetta, egg, cheese – on hand) and that'll be that: total diet derailment.
But this year, I'm going to view these lapses as merely temporary, and after scarfing my carbonara, return virtuously to my palm-sized protein and heaping helping of steamed veggies the next day.
But I have to have a carbonara once in a while, otherwise in the words of Rob Lowe: "Why bother?"