Holiday Affective Disorder

Dear Feastlings,

If there was a moment of silence between Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season, my ears must have blinked at that moment. Apart from one surmountable difficulty, Thanksgiving carryout went well, and, problems resolved, Thanksgiving itself was a treat- for my household, anyway, we took 140 meals to the Sister Jose Women’s Center, napped, and emerged from a brief hibernation to eat soft-shell crabs and not give turkey another thought, and were truly thankful for the day.

The following morning, my neighborhood coffee house was already thick with the maisma of Christmas music. It was here at Feast in the kitchen as well. And while I have nothing against Christmas music as a piece of our culture, I could feel myself withdraw into the fetal position to protect myself from 32 contiguous days of it. Burl Ives, Bing Crosby- even as a Jewish kid, they’re a part of my cultural heritage, and I’m okay with it. I even like it, in small, metered doses.

But the stress of the December, with the stress of a staff that’s still partially composed of people who’ll disappear in the midst of catering mayhem without so much as a phone call or a text, and the stress of interviewing people who may or may not show up at their interview? If you haven’t been reading these emails for the past few years, I’ll tell you here: I’m a fragile little creature by this point. Or really, I’m a fragile little creature since age six. So to be reminded incessantly of the responsibility of holiday catering, and the more threatening responsibility of displaying holiday cheer, plunges me into what I reckon must be some mildly agitated version of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

My idea of a holiday is to be holed up at home or in some remote place without phone reception, quietly reading or cooking with loved ones, or rubbing the belly of a happy cat or dog.

I’m acutely aware that despite the stress that humanity and the holidays bring, I have it pretty good. My bike rides will still snake alongside a wash peppered with deflated tents and lean-tos, or an awkward congress of abandoned shopping carts, or someone who’s wrapped themselves in a threadbare blanket in hopes of warmth and anonymity. So the trip to Sister Jose did me as much good as it did them, and I look forward to cobbling together enough reliable staff to go back to making donation runs like we did before, and opening Sundays like we did before, and escaping to a remote place without phone reception like I did before, if only for a couple of days.

Meanwhile, though, I’m closing the office door to get this message banged out, to try in a panic to write the December menu that begins in less than a week, and to start in on Christmas and New Year’s Eve menus, see if we have enough staff to eke out some latkes when Hanukkah rolls around, plan wine tastings and holiday parties and hope we make it unscathed to that first couple of weeks of January where there’s some respite before the Gem and Mineral Show and Valentine’s Day and spring wedding season.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll join us for our wine tasting this Saturday,

Dealer’s Choice- our friend Megan

or grab a bite, or pick up a holiday gift for a friend, whereupon you’ll be met with genuine appreciation and whatever holiday cheer we have to offer.

Your fragile friend,


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