What Not to Eat on Christmas


a new what to eat 2

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. But don’t eat a goose on Christmas. Fatty goose meat can’t be all that healthy for you. Same goes for ducks, I would imagine. Plus, you don’t know where these birds have been. I’ve seen ducks waddling and geese goose-stepping all over Ipswich, and some of those places, you don’t want to be ordering takeout from.

I also recommend against eating a turkey on Christmas. Yes, I realize we have plenty of turkeys in Ipswich. We may actually have more turkeys than automobiles. When I spoke at the Council on Aging a couple weeks ago, I made a new friend named Bill who told me, with great delight, about a turkey struck by a hit-and-run driver near Topsfield Road. Bill honorably put the turkey out of its misery, quietly carried it home, respectfully removed its feathers, and soaked it in a funeral bath of saltwater. Then he cooked it and ate it. It was a ten-pounder, he said, and very tasty. And since Bill knows which flock it came from, he’s taking orders for Christmas. I think this last part was a joke.

But just because we have a lot of turkeys shouldn’t make them fair game, pardon the pun, for Christmas dinner. Look at it from the turkeys’ perspective. They were already targeted at Thanksgiving time. Countless turkey families were devastated. Don’t be responsible for yet another turkey tragedy at this festive time of year.

I also suggest you avoid prime rib on Christmas. Sure, it’s traditional, but that means lots of other people will be doing it, and your Christmas dinner will be ordinary.

Do not eat chicken on Christmas. I have to tell you this? Who eats chicken on Christmas?

Do not eat ham on Christmas. Also avoid pork roast, pork chops, and bacon. It’s inappropriate to violate kosher dietary law while celebrating the birth of a Jewish baby.

Don’t eat venison on Christmas. The very idea of killing Bambi at Christmastime is heartbreaking. Also do not eat Bambi’s little forest friends: squirrel, quail, rabbit, or pheasant. Nor Bambi’s big forest friends: moose, bear, elk, mountain lion.

Don’t eat lamb or goat on Christmas. Lamb is for that other holiday, and eating goat is just wrong. I would also disqualify haggis, which is a pudding made from sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, as well as onion, oatmeal, and suet, and traditionally encased in the sheep’s stomach. Which is way, way gross.

Don’t eat fish on Christmas, especially if you’re Italian, because you’ll still be full from the Feast of the Seven Fishes you ate on Christmas Eve.

Do not eat hamburgers on Christmas. Hamburgers are beneath the dignity of the holiday.

Do not eat lobster on Christmas. I always recommend eating lobster fresh off the boat, and Christmas is one of the few days of the year when lobstermen stay home with their families. Which means the lobster you’re eating on Christmas isn’t all that fresh.

Don’t eat Alaskan king crab legs on Christmas. Let the Alaskans eat king crab legs if they want to. This is Massachusetts. In fact, do not eat crab at all on Christmas. The Grinch was a crab, and you don’t want to be a Grinch. Also don’t order Chinese takeout. This is not New York.

Do not eat oysters, scallops, mussels, or sushi on Christmas. Consuming raw or undercooked seafood or shellfish may increase your risk of food-borne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions. Trust the FDA. This kind of warning is your tax dollars at work.

Don’t eat bison, rattlesnake, wild boar, or sweetbreads. This is Christmas, not an episode of Anthony Bourdain.

No, my friend, there is only one food for the people of Ipswich to eat on Christmas: fried clams.

We cannot ask our fine fried-clam establishments to be open on Christmas, so you will have to fry your own. Buy them from Ipswich Shellfish the day before, let them cool their heels in your fridge overnight, then on Christmas Day, let them die in boiling oil. It’s perfectly Ipswich-appropriate.

If you have out-of-town guests who are squeamish about eating clams, fine. More for you. Give yourself permission to serve a small quantity of one of the non-approved foods to the landlubbers. I guess a little ham would be OK.

Whatever you do, no haggis.


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