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The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

E-mail Laura Stec

About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Dry January 2022 Begins

Uploaded: Jan 3, 2022

And so begins the story of a woman slowly losing her mind.....

But not for what you may think. Last year, Dry January brought me back to my 20’s and 30’s – early years of experimenting with fasting. The chance to stop doing something, anything, done on an ongoing basis is extremely illuminating and helpful. Dry January exposed the importance of drink complexity, whether a beverage has alcoholic or not. It helped me with brain-train, and introduced me to handy new bevvies. Most importantly, I learned alcohol wasn’t hard to eliminate, and what my real nemesis was – that highly addictive, white, powdery substance...

Actually, any highly refined carbohydrate will do, thank you. Sweet or salty, add in some flour too (sorry - even gluten -free) - it don’t matter.

So this year I’m pushing a little harder, trying to NOT mindlessly “carbohydrate balance” (my descriptor, meaning “to replace a drink with a dessert”) as I did so freely in 2021. We will go into depth about this non-scientific discovery more later this month, but essentially, I replaced whatever carbohydrates eliminated from the beverage(s) with a nightly dessert instead (something I rarely choose), removing the alcohol, but adding a sugar charge to remain within a similar or increased carbohydrate load for the day. Readers wanting to pray for change and Gods’ grace, THIS is the elimination that could cause many a healthy habit soldier to go completely bonkers. NOTE: At the end of this month if you see me babbling incoherently on the street, please administer Swedish Fish immediately.

The art of the evening drink was also on full reveal last year - one of those finer things in life. After a hard day, and hopefully a good day of getting things done, transitioning from day to night requires attention. It’s helpful to have systems in place to assist the change; exercise, jumping in a pool or hot shower, or enjoying a beverage are some options. But it wasn’t alcohol that revealed vital to the process – a smooth transitional libation can occur with or without. A daily hurrah at the end of the work day – in whatever form it takes, offers comfort and enjoyment. Work into cooking is a tough transition. “Only wine at the stove,” is a possible motivator when it's not DJan. Find transitions that work for you.

Let’s begin our journey with a reading recommendation - How to Change by Katy Milkman. Available from your library as a book or on tape, it’s a helping hand for any New Year’s resolution. Fast anything you want in January – – this book will help build new habits for success, breaking human tendencies toward impulsivity, procrastination, forgetfulness, laziness and lack of confidence / self-efficacy (a wonderful term we’ll explore later in the month). Really a good read to learn about human idiosyncrasies and how to build in effective work-arounds.

I’m doing Dry January again because, well, my friends do it and it’s good exercise to keep on top of your brain. You are either in control of your brain, or your brain is in control of you. I don’t want flabby body, or flabby brain.

And this is a near-perfect time to do it. With omicron everywhere you have a good excuse to lay low. Less social gatherings make for an easier ride.

If you have any non-alcoholic drink recipes or tips, please send them in for us all to enjoy. Jan sends this one to start us off…

Mix Lapsang Souchong tea and black cherry juice. May wish to sweeten a bit. Portions are half and half. Serve HOT.

Danna suggests this...
Seltzer and any flavored balsamic vinegar from Sigonas.

Wirecutter in The New York Times offers this list of nonalcoholic beverages. Products have come a long way!

Here’s a recipe from last week @Shtwo.

Virgin Dirty
Makes 1

A non-alcoholic version of the Dirty Martini, just as refreshing and exciting.

1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
High-quality olive juice
High-quality olives and onions for garnish
Soda water

Mix together the salt and paprika. Sprinkle mix onto a plate. Rim a rocks glass with lime slice, then roll the rim in the salt to coat, just like a margarita. Add ice to glass, add olive juice (to taste). Top with soda water. Garnish with olives and onions.

In response to the discussion of last week, and as we go through this month, readers should realize The Food Party! is written from the perspective of someone who does not have problems moderating alcohol intake. If you are suffering from addiction, or concerned for someone who is, a 24-hour hotline for addiction treatment can be reached at 800-854-6025.

Also a reminder please that The Food Party! is an insult-free blog. Our motto: If it ain't fun it don't get done! Please keep your comments constructive and respectful. Writers Tip: Aim to inspire, entertain, or make people laugh. :)

- photos by LSIC

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Jan 3, 2022 at 9:10 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Dry January Joke Support Group

Q: What did the bartender say after Charles Dickens ordered a martini?

A: "Olive or twist?"

Posted by The Artful Dodger, a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto),
on Jan 3, 2022 at 11:56 am

The Artful Dodger is a registered user.

Note to Charles Dickens:

There is no such thing as a non-alcohol infused Martini as Vodka or Gin along with Vermouth are the essential ingredients. The olive and/or twist of lemon are merely garnishes.

Please inform Ms. Stec that enjoying a dry Martini does not constitute a Dry January.

Posted by Mindy Callen, a resident of Woodside,
on Jan 3, 2022 at 2:39 pm

Mindy Callen is a registered user.

Does a Dry January also include not cooking with wine?

If so, my grandmother's beef stew recipe will not officially qualify as an 'dry' wintertime meal and her beef stroganoff is now off the menu as burgundy and sherry are key elements, for tenderizing tougher cuts of beef and adding flavor nuances.

And now having some jug red wine with spaghetti is out of the picture as per these draconian Food Party substitutions.

So cruel and heartless. *L*

Posted by Peg, a resident of another community,
on Jan 3, 2022 at 7:14 pm

Peg is a registered user.

Nice picture, Laura!
OK, I'm in!

Posted by Joel, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jan 5, 2022 at 11:07 am

Joel is a registered user.

Hi Laura,
I take the more difficult month of unimbibing; December. Went beautifully. Woke up with clear head and still aging body. Now, true confessions- I had Gingerberry or Divine Grape Kombucha (1% alcohol) with slices of oranges and blueberries. I didn't want my liver to seize up on me. Using much less alcohol starting the New Year.
Best of luck.
Hope to have a drink with you in Feb.

Posted by Clarissa Jensen, a resident of another community,
on Jan 5, 2022 at 1:59 pm

Clarissa Jensen is a registered user.

I am trying to comprehend this Dry January concept.

What is the point of totally abstaining from alcohol consumption if you are planning to resume again the following month?

This is akin to foregoing pepperoni pizza (with extra cheese) for a mere month and then going back to eating it two or three times a week OR

Spending a month working out on your Peleton only to resume being a couch potato for the rest of the year?

Why not simply savor and enjoy maybe only one or two drinks over a period of a week instead of going cold turkey altogether.

Posted by Mike Healey, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jan 5, 2022 at 3:51 pm

Mike Healey is a registered user.

* And this is a near-perfect time to do it. With omicron everywhere you have a good excuse to lay low. Less social gatherings make for an easier ride.

^Not for one who shies away from bars and prefers to drink alone sans the petty and oftentimes irritating distractions of a public partying crowd.

In addition to potential bar closures attributable to the current pandemic, I am also hopeful that the annual summer street fairs are suspended as well.

Posted by James Goodwin, a resident of Southgate,
on Jan 6, 2022 at 12:16 pm

James Goodwin is a registered user.

I despise those tacky summer street fairs and how they clog up adjacent residential street parking.

Like McDonald's, if you've been to one street fair you've been to them all.

As for a Dry January, hopefully we'll get some additional rainfall.

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