Flash in the Pan 

’Tis the colon-cleansing season

Merry constipation!

Your schedule is filled with holiday parties, sometimes one right after another. You stand around with your little plates full of greasy hors d’oeuvres and cheese.

Meanwhile, during these chilly days, it can be easy to forget about greenery, which seems out of place in the winter landscape. And the cold temperatures flick an internal switch that makes us want to increase our consumption of rich and fatty foods in order to build up a protective layer of insulation.

Christmas cookies, fondue, chicken livers wrapped in bacon…those little morsels taste better when the snow is flying, but they don’t exactly move through you like a freight train. Instead, they kind of smear their way through the digestive apparatus.

With colon cancer as the number two cancer killer of Americans, and with colon cancer’s tendency to thrive in clogged pipes, putting colon health on your list of holiday to-dos just makes sense.

John Wayne was supposedly toting an extra 40 pounds of…not quite sure what to call it…when he died. Technically, this gooey stuff would be called impacted fecal material. You could also call it intestinal cloggage. Elvis had some too—he died on the toilet as he tried really hard to expel some of his estimated 60 pounds of cloggage. So remember, if you suffer from intestinal excess, you’re in good company. Indeed, it kind of seems like the American way—a dark little secret that hides where the sun don’t shine, a byproduct of sedentary lifestyles and high-fat, low-fiber diets.

Perhaps this isn’t the kind of holiday cheer you were hoping for when you turned to my jolly little page. Perhaps you wanted more eggnog and pudding.

Okay then, here comes the feel-good holiday cheer, with help from our neighbors at the Missoulian, who provided the inspiration—or should I say stimulation—for my own offering of colon-friendly holiday tips.

Just in case you missed it, according to a Washington Post reprint in the Missoulian’s Dec. 6 food section there are a lot of things that holiday partygoers should keep in mind as they navigate the festive gauntlet this December. Evidently, the savvy party guest needs many skills.

For example, “If you simply don’t like what is served, move it around the plate discreetly.”

Wow. Move over Miss Manners. This may be the cutting edge of discretion, but what about the health of your colon? Perhaps a better strategy would be to get off your soft ass and go get a second helping of salad. On the way, ditch that Swedish meatball or miniature pizza—either in the trash or in the dog (be sure to wish the dog a Merry Constipated Christmas). The walk to the buffet will not only do you some good, but will allow you to flirt with the hottie by the stove and tell him/her about the colonic hydrotherapy you have scheduled for next week. Chew your salad 30 times before swallowing.

Note: if you are really discreet—in the social ninja category—then put whatever you want in your mouth, chew as much as you want then spit it out, perhaps into the dog’s mouth.

Also, according to the Missoulian’s party tips, “Do not start arguments. Lively debate, yes; rants and tirades, no. And don’t start talking about what diet you’re on.”

Addendum: Unless of course the diet you’re on is a colon-cleansing diet, one that’s high in fiber and with supplements like psyllium husks or pumpkin seeds. If so, you should stand on the table and project your voice so the people in the back can hear you, too.

“Turn off your cell phone, pager and other electronic devices. If you need to stay available for a baby sitter, put the phone on vibrate.”

Addendum: If you’re going to set your phone on vibrate, you may as well place it where the vibratory action of the phone has a chance to shake loose some of the fecal matter stuck to the wall of your colon (you know, where the sun don’t shine).

“Avoid the temptation to snoop in the medicine chest or anywhere else in the house.”

Unless of course you’re looking for the ex-lax, or perhaps the Colonix brand colon-cleansing supplement. After all, your host or hostess has a lot on his/her plate, what with getting another bottle of wine from the cellar or clearing the previous course off the table.

“If you drink too much to drive safely, do agree to be put in a taxi or driven home.”

But please, by all means, do drink water! After all, even a diet rich in fiber can lead to constipation when the body is under-hydrated. And shame on the authors for not suggesting an old-fashioned way to get home, one that stimulates the gastrointestinal tract to do its duty. That’s right: walk home. You know what happens when dogs take walks. In fact, if you have a good pair of gloves, or if you’re too tipsy to stay on your feet, consider walking home on all fours. Barking and lunging at dogs behind fences is optional. Just be sure to clean up after yourself.

Ask Chef Boy Ari: In defense of Tofurky

Q: Dear Chef Boy Ari,

You recently made fun of Tofurky, poo-pooing it as meat-eater wannabe-ism. Well, I’ve got to say that I’m not even a vegetarian, but I tried Tofurky-brand beer brats the other day at a cookout and I liked them as much as the meat.

You should try it yourself before you judge.
—Tofu Dog

A: Dear Tofu Dog,

I never really called into question the taste of Tofurky. I simply wanted to question why vegetarians feel the need to eat things that resemble meat products. C’mon, isn’t it kind of silly? If you’re secure enough in your vegetarianism/veganism, why not be content with eating something that doesn’t look like meat?

But I’ll admit, I have tried those Tofurky dogs (at an Independent function, no less: the Golden Growler beer-testing event), and they were damn good. And since you asked, I’ve done a little research and found that they no longer even manufacture things out of tofu that are meant to resemble turkey. The Tofurky roasts are simply tubular, and filled with some yummy-looking items like mushrooms and wild rice.

And just to show you that I truly have tofu-hugging tendencies, here’s my technique for getting tofu to taste like bacon!

Cut a block of firm tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and fry them very slowly in a little olive oil. After a little while some water will weep out, and then evaporate away, and eventually the tofu will shrink down drastically in size. Keep it on low, stirring occasionally, until it’s nice and dense and browned on all sides. Then stir in soy sauce to taste. Your tofu bacon bits will taste great atop a colon-cleansing plate of salad greens!

Send your food and garden queries to flash@flashinthepan.net.

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