'Tis the season of gorging ourselves to the point of a bellyache

December 19, 2010 

It landed on our doorstep with a resounding thud. It measured about the size of a thick hardcover novel. It weighed more than 100 copies of "War and Peace" bound together.

But all there was to read was a simple card, which said, predictably, “To my brother. Love, your sister, Lynne.”

It comes every year. It is fudge ... the traditional Le Masurier Christmas Fudge.

At some point during my childhood, my mother went on a fudge-making binge. I have no idea why she did this, except that for a small-town housewife in the 1950s it was probably a more acceptable means of relieving stress than, for example, eight straight days of hard drinking.

Or, maybe someone just gave her a recipe and told her how easy it was to make. In any case, she made so much fudge that we all got sick from it.

That just goes to prove how truly amazing the human body really is. You can feed your body a five-pound block of cocoa solidified by a railroad car of sugar and eggs, and the stomach cramps you get will make it seem like your body is rejecting it.

But in reality, your body is magically turning all that fudge into something really useful like fingernails and eyebrows. At least, that’s what mom told me.

After she dealt with her momentary baking neurosis and addicting me to chocolate, she just made fudge once a year for my birthday, which is a week before Christmas. (There is still time to send large cash gifts).

When I moved away from home, my mother continued to make fudge and sent me a box or two every year for my birthday. It had all the attributes of a great gift: hand-made, conjured wonderful childhood memories, edible and, most importantly, made of chocolate.

My parents have both passed on now, bless their souls, but the Christmas Fudge tradition lives on in the embodiment of my sister. She insists on making it every year and sending me a birthday box the size and weight of a cement block. It must cost her a small fortune in postage stamps.

Of course, over the years, we’ve added a few new Christmas baking traditions of our own. So, by the time we get through my mother’s daughter’s fudge, Franni’s cookies, a gingerbread house, the annual nuts and bolts party mix and my son’s Ritz Bits smothered in a rich ranch flavoring that will give us all instant heartburn, we should almost be ready for Christmas dinner — and the day after Christmas dinner and New Year’s Eve dinner and New Year’s Day watching football dinner, with a few lunches and breakfasts and late-night ice cream snacks thrown in.

When Jan. 2 finally rolls around, none of us will be capable of anything more than crawling from chair to couch and back to bed. And none of us will have any idea who ate all the fudge or what kind of body parts it turned into.

The good news is that modern medicine has developed new surgical methods, such as the kind performed on Al Roker, to look around inside your body and find the fudge that got stuck behind some fat cells instead of making new hair follicles like it was supposed to.

All I know now is that some serious resolutions will have to be made, again, about proper nutrition and adequate exercise. There are only 11½ more months before the next box of Christmas fudge arrives, and we’ll have to start getting in shape for it right away.

George Le Masurier, publisher of The Olympian, can be reached at 360-357-0206 or glemasurier@theolympian .com.

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