Saturday, November 10, 2007

Food of the God(s)

As brown, curled-up leaves decompose in the frosty November dawn, one amazing burst of life and flavor carries my otherwise depressed spirit into the Holiday Season.

Wait... should I say “Holiday Season?” Some people might think I'm anti-Christian because I did not mention Christmas by name.

(I realize this same logic would mean that when I tell people I like gourds, I'm also saying I hate pumpkins. But I must account for the fact that not everyone can enjoy the benefits of logical thinking).

Okay. As I was saying. The one thing that helps me get to Christmastime is... No, that won't work, either. I can see the angry Hebrew emails popping into my inbox now. And if any native Africans lived in Maine, I might hear about Kwanzaa, too.

And rightly so. Why must inclusiveness be a sin? Can't we use language that encourages recognition and celebration of everyone's religious traditions, without undermining any one set of beliefs?

Right. So the one thing that really helps me keep going into the holiday season is...

Uh-oh... Here come the Pagans, who want me to mention the Winter Solstice. Is that a “holiday?” I don't know much about Wicca and such, but the stereotypes make me nervous (stereotypes always have some truth to them, right?).

So how about this: There is one thing that carries me me into December, a month in which many people in the world engage in festive recognition of spirituality through intense gluttonous feasting that gives them the same physical properties as a bowling ball for several weeks.

That one thing is: the arrival of pomegranates at my local grocery store.

(That's right! This column was supposed to be about pomegranates.)

In case you're unfamiliar, a pomegranate looks like a dirty red croquet ball with a giant nipple. You cut it open and eat the seeds, which are unbelievably juicy and sweet. In fact, each seed contains about 40 ounces of juice that will squirt directly onto your clothes, no matter how careful you are.

You can separate the seeds from the fruit much more easily if you hold the thing under water after cutting it up.

Though pomegranates grow in warm climates all over the world, they are native to Iran, and are widely used in a variety of Persian cuisine, which means I've just spent the last three paragraphs subversively trying to convert you to Islam.

Did it work? Happy Eid Al-Adha!

Believe me, after eating a pomegranate, you would willingly convert to anything in order to get more pomegranates. They are profoundly delicious. They also contain anti-oxidants, which supposedly fight cancer. They are truly food of the gods.

I mean that in a strictly colloquial, non-polytheistic sense. Please, no monotheistic hate mail.

You know what? From now on, I'm going to mention atheist holidays only. You might have noticed that atheists have no holidays, only because atheism is impossible to commercialize.

Who would buy gifts to observe the pure nothingness that would follow our meaningless biological exercise?

Try finding that aisle at Wal-Mart.

If Seinfeld could make a TV show out of nothing, I can make a column out of nothing. I'm sure you'll let me know how it works out.

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