Walking the streets of Jerusalem, all I ever hear people talk about is food. For example, during Chanukah every single person on the bus here in Israel said, ‘These sufganiot (donuts) are making me fat.’ This is all anybody talks about on Chanukah. The miracle of the Jews beating the Greeks or the oil lasting eight days, I heard nothing. All I heard was people saying how fat you can get from eating pastries. It is the same conversation I hear every holiday and even every Shabbat.
This phenomenon dates back to my childhood. I started to realize that I have never heard a Jewish person eat without qualifying it. I never went through a Pesach without hearing people say, ‘The matzah is killing me.’
I have never heard a Jewish person eat without qualifying it.
These statements of intended diets used to bother me. Why is it that every Jewish person I know has to start a diet on the holiday? Why not start it after the holiday? Why not diet the rest of the year, when people aren’t bringing out amazing food? Why not enjoy Shabbat? I have learned over the years that if you make simple statements over the course of eating, it looks as though you have self-control. These traditional Jewish statements I have come to understand help make you look good, while guiltlessly enjoying your food.
“The diet starts now”
This is said at the end of a meal. My uncle usually belts this out at the time the dishes are being cleared; after wolfing down a half a brisket, quiche, pie, strawberry shortcake (as his fruit), and stuffing.
I have never seen somebody make this strong of a declaration of conviction, yet forget it by the next meal.
“These sufganiot are killing me”
My friend who made this statement eats doughnuts every morning with his cup of coffee. But he had to blame Chanukah for his weight issues, as he was kvetching this to me over Bavarian cream. That use of the word ‘kvetch’ just made me feel more Jewish.
Say whatever you want and conclude it with ‘Killing me,’ and it is not you, but the object that is causing you to eat more. It reads, ‘…is killing me.’ You can use this throughout the course of the year. At an ice cream shop ‘The cookies & cream are killing me.’ Then you can keep on eating, and smoking.
“I sit at the table too Long”
I heard this statement from my brother-in-law at last year’s Super Bowl party, when he was dunking his chips in the guacamole, sitting on the recliner.
If you ask me, the Super Bowl is a Jewish holiday.
“I have a wedding coming up, I have to drop a few sizes”
Everybody I know has to drop a few sizes for a wedding. Why? Because they are always buying evening gowns that don’t fit. Here’s an idea: if you had clothes that fit, you wouldn’t have to lose weight. You would be able to enjoy your holidays.
There is always a wedding coming up. I have heard this one from people who go to a good three weddings a week. Don’t eat at the wedding. They should be making this statement at the weddings as well. ‘The smorgasbords are killing you.’
Next time, use the holidays to your advantage and after you enjoy them, go shopping for a new wardrobe.
“Can somebody pass the potato kugel? Now!”
This statement was made by a friend who thought that latkes were personalized potato kugels.
He was hungry and wanted to eat.
“This food is excellent”
This is generally said when somebody is enjoying the food. This qualifies for a statement of self-control because it places some of the blame on the chef. ‘If your food wasn’t so good, I wouldn’t be eating so much of it.’
“There are too many meals”
This is a legitimate point. We are supposed to eat a lot. Putting on weight is part of being a good Jew. That is how I judge devout people. Call me prejudiced, I eat a lot.
“I need to look good for the pictures”
My aunt usually makes this statement when the plate is full, with chicken in hand. No fork.
She must not remember that the pictures are taken at the end of the Bar Mitzvah weekend, after a full weekend of binge eating; negating the point of the diet she started three months ago, on the holiday.
“Take the pudding away from me…it is killing me”
This is said when the bowl of pudding has been finished. By making that statement, you are blaming the other person for your eating. If they wouldn’t have placed your bowl of pudding in front of you, you wouldn’t have eaten it.
Do you see how ‘It is killing me’ was tactfully placed? It strengthens the statement and adds believability.
“Are you going to eat that?”
A conversational statement proceeded by a long stare and followed with a, ‘Just wondering.’
The best way to use this announcement is with an accusative tone of, ‘You are eating too much.’ This is used by many to give the allusion that they are eating less. By focusing on the other person’s food, other people ask themselves why somebody who is eating so much would make such a statement. Caught up in the disbelief, they assume you are eating less.
“You are eating too much”
Just make the statement. It shows that you care about the other person enough to draw everybody’s attention to their eating habits. This also removes the focus from you, allowing you to take down more sufganiot, hamantashen and kugel.
These Holidays are Killing Me
You can make this statement anytime during the winter. Until just now, I have been complaining about my extra 5lbs, I put on last Sukkot.
The following statements and more will one day be found in my book, ‘David on Healthy Ways of Eating Foods Cooked in Chicken Fat’