The big game



There are THREE football games coming up on Thursday. But there is only one I’m interested in. The big game.

The one with wings.

Eating a big Thanksgiving meal is not for the ill-prepared or faint of heart. This is varsity dining. At our house, Thanksgiving is a take-no-prisoners, watch-out-for-my-elbows culinary experience.

Just like a professional athlete prepares for the playoffs, I prep for the holiday season. And I will share my workout regimen with you, mostly because the odds of us competing over the last drumstick at the same table are pretty slim. All I ask is that you don’t pass this on to my brothers.

I should warn you that this workout is not for the casual eater. It is very similar to the SEAL workout, only you don’t actually exercise. Consult your chef before attempting.

The Broadside Pre-Thanksgiving Workout

Fork curls: To improve fork-to-mouth coordination, I practice with something heavier than silverware so that the fork seems light and maneuverable on Thanksgiving. I have found that a 16 oz beer works nicely in this capacity, and helps to build up the bicep.

Stomach stretchers: I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure the stomach is like a muscle that needs to be exercised and properly stretched for it to perform at optimal efficiency. So I practice. The goal is to expand the stomach’s capacity to hold more food. Start slowly, eating normal human portions a few days before, gradually increasing the amount until you feel confident you can fit a football sized portion down there. Warning! Timing is important. You must stop stuffing your belly pouch early enough to have an empty stomach for Thanksgiving, but not so early that it is allowed to shrink back to its pre-glutton state before the big meal.

Speed drills: Darwin is alive and well when my family gets together for the big turkey dinner. It is survival of the fastest. It’s like watching the Dilophosaurus ravage Wayne Knight in Jurassic Park, where the turkey is Wayne Knight. To prepare for this mano-a-mano competition, I toss raw meat to my dog Elway, and snatch it out of his mouth before he can swallow it. The occasional dog bite is a small price to pay and pales in comparison to the injuries you receive on Thanksgiving if your reflexes are too slow.

If you are committed, if you have what it takes to compete at the highest levels, these drills will help you get there. But like warfare, where “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy” (Colin Powell), no dinner strategy survives the passing of the first plate. Get a good night’s sleep and be ready to adjust on the fly once everyone sits down.

Because if your house is like mine, Thanksgiving dinner is no game.


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