Novermber 20, 2008


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Gastronomic recovery plan
What to do when you plan to overdo it

By Tim Protzman

With the holidays coming up, let’s talk about overindulgence of all kinds.

First let’s look at over eating. Nobody’s better at it than me. A five-pound bag of Peanut M&M’s, no problem. An entire extra large pizza with anchovies, piece of cake. Six red velvet cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting — in one sitting. A two-pound bag of baby spinach, sautéed with sausage, onions and garlic — gone in 60 seconds. That’s my confession.

It’s not hard to overeat when Thanksgiving has so many courses. Start with the Chex Mix and then the cubed cheese, crudités and liver wrapped in bacon. I suffer from sour stomach and acid reflux so I often take an over-the-counter acid reducer when I’m going to be putting on the feedbag. But consult your physician first. I’ve found a few things that range in degrees of natural that soothe my upset tummy.

A teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water will help relieve the bloated gassy feeling and reduce acids. And even though baking soda’s a naturally occurring product, it’s still a chemical, sodium bicarbonate, just like pure bottled 10,000-year-old glacier water, which is an atom of oxygen bonded to two atoms of nasty hydrogen! For those unfamiliar with hydrogen’s previous work — remember the Hindenburg! But seriously, baking soda relieves bloat by neutralizing acid and letting you have a big burp. Just like when you were a baby and mommy used to pat you on the back. But it does have contraindications, and it’s not for those with low calcium, high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver damage or nursing or pregnant mothers.

Tea has been used for thousands of years as a stimulant, medicinal and restorative. My two favorites for feeling better are jasmine and chamomile. Jasmine tea is made from Chinese flowers and has a pleasant flavor not unlike weak regular tea. And new studies claim that just holding something warm in your hand, like a steaming mug of coffee or tea, improves your disposition. Jasmine has an herbal faintly nutty flavor with a slightly grassy finish. Chamomile is an old remedy that’s now widely available in the grocery store. It has a slightly bitter finish and also is a relaxant, which makes napping on a full stomach on Thanksgiving easier. Flavor-wise I prefer the jasmine, but the chamomile does double duty as something to have before bed.

There is a way to prevent that full feeling from overwhelming you even on Thanksgiving. It’s called Le Trou Normand, which means “Norman hole.” During a heavy meal in Normandy the custom is to take a break or pause between large courses. Hors d’oeuvres, appetizer, soup — then a break before the fish course. That sort of thing. During this pause maybe a half or third of a shot of apple brandy is consumed. The apple brandy, called Calvados, creates a hole or a space in the stomach, to fit more food in. You can substitute any warming brown liquor for the apple brandy, or a Grappa or an Aquavit or any Eau de Vie made from grapes or grain. Vodka can also be used, but I like tiny little thimble shots of Bourbon or Brandy because the sugar is right up front. And I’d avoid tequila and gin because they’re too dry.

The worst kind of overindulgence is a hangover. And there have been secret hangover cures since wet grain first fermented and our Geico-hating cave ancestors indulged and got trashed. For me, time, water and maybe jasmine or chamomile tea help, as does Alka-Seltzer and a club soda and aspirin. The fizzy stuff helps move the oxygen into your brain. I’ve also found that Gazpacho soup, chicken noodle soup, wonton, egg drop, Tom Yum, Miso and hot and sour soups help with a hangover. Miso may have been created for just that purpose. Encebollado, a spicy Ecuadorian onion soup, was definitely created to cure a hangover. The spice and broth have a numbing effect on the stomach. They soup is served alongside a rice dish, which helps absorb the impurities and unprocessed alcohol in the system. The soup works on altitude sickness too.

The best cure for a hangover is preventive. Just don’t over-do. And if you do, avoid any sugars while drinking and consume as much water as possible. This will help hydrate your cranial lining and cut down on the ferocity of the hangover headache.

This week I drank two new wines and two old ones. I’m in a pattern where I’m not very adventurous, so I’m revisiting some of the old standby wines. Specifically the 2004 Muga Rioja and the Louis Latour 2005 Santenay.

There’s a huge amount of pinot noir from the Santenay area in Burgundy available in New Hampshire. Besides Latour, there’s Jadot, Faiveley, Bernard Morey, Drouhin and Girardin. And the village of Santenay is divided into vineyards and smaller viticulture areas. Areas like Clos de Tavennes, Beaurepaire, Clos Faubard and Clos de la Mouches all produce a better product than the “village level” Santenay. And prices on this Cote du Beaune wine are really low right now, as it takes a back seat to its more expansive neighbors like Clos Vougeot and Vosne-Romanee.

• 2005 Krug Chardonnay — $19.99 from Carneros. Totally un-oaked! But a touch too sweet with a manufactured finish. Maybe it does need a little oak.

• 2004 Trefethen Oak Ridge Vineyard Dry Riesling — $18.99. I found this wine a bit under-developed. It was nice to taste a white that wasn’t chardonnay or champagne, but this was too subtle. Coconut milk flavors with a touch of honey in a too watery matrix.

11/13/2008 A vote for...

11/6/2008 Spooky wine
10/30/2008 Critical darling
10/23/2008 An epitaph of good wine10/16/2008 A wine crime
10/9/2008 All my personalities love wine
10/2/2008 Harvest magic

9/25/2008 Where fantasy meets reality9/18/2008 The mojito cure
9/11/2008 Spend Fall in Spain
9/04/2008 Making a break for it
8/28/2008 Achieving the impossible
8/21/2008 AVA in search of a movie
8/14/2008 Return to seller?
8/7/2008 Wine at the game
7/24/2008 Reviving a star
7/17/2008 Champagne staycation
7/10/2008 Pair vintage with vintage
6/26/2008 Leftover wine
6/19/2008 Fortune favors Opus One
6/12/2008 In the year 2048
6/5/2008 Tea, the original infusion
5/29/2008 Hello old friends
5/22/2008 Ancient in the new world
5/15/2008 You are the expert
5/8/2008 The must-drink list
5/1/2008 Gaming wine futures
4/24/2008 Chronos and me
4/17/2008 Getting lucky
4/3/2008 The daquiri's of spring
3/27/2008 Germans play well with others
3/13/2008 Complain yourself happy
3/6/2008 Operatic wine tasting
2/28/2008 Everything must go!
2/21/2008 His & hers bottles
2/7/2008 Friends in spam
1/31/2008 Warm up the wine
1/24/2008 A drink to them
1/17/2008 Stalking the barking dingo
1/10/2008 Wishes and predictions
1/3/2008 Bit of bubbly
12/27/2007 Drinking blind
12/20/2007 Not fighting for the right
12/13/2007 The liquor store suite
11/29/2007 World of drinkin'
11/22/2007 Thanks for the Napa cabs
11/15/2007 Drinks with Diwali
11/8/2007 Candy Corn hangover
11/1/2007 Drinks with History Channel
10/25/2007 Schooled in Shiraz
10/18/2007 Spooky wines
10/11/2007 Location, location, location
10/04/2007 Shiraz history
9/27/2007 Ingenious appellation
9/20/2007 Small world of wines
9/13/2007 How not to get screwed
9/6/2007 Wine lover's shopping trip
8/30/2007 Bottle surfing
8/23/2007 Lobster goes red
8/16/2007 Emotional tasting notes
8/9/2007 Stop, wine thief
8/2/2007 Be your own sommelier
7/26/2007 You do know your wine
7/19/2007 Booze free association
7/12/2007 Raiders of the sidewalk
7/5/2007 A sustainable buzz
6/28/2007 We are the merlot
6/21/2007 Forgot Dad? Bring booze.
6/14/2007 Jack & Jill and a pail of wine
6/7/2007 Our lady of the Rioja
5/24/2007 Breaking the fast
5/17/2007 What the best bears drink
5/10/2007It's OK to be pink
5/3/2007 In praise of tastings
4/26/2007 Invention-tini
4/19/2007 More 'Mas'
4/12/2007 Futures in a bottle
3/29/2007 Uneasy glass of spring
3/22/2007 Chateau de blech
3/8/2007 Finding new beauties
3/1/2007 Infatuation or addiction
2/15/2007 The extraordinary ordinary
2/8/2007 A glass of sweetness
2/1/2007 A glass of sweetness
1/25/2007 Ham it up
1/18/2007 Cheating on wine
1/11/2007 Burning down the tree
1/4/2007 New Year's hangover
12/28/2006 Sins of the vine
12/21/2006 Kissing frogs
12/14/2006 Wine for horrible friends
12/07/2006 Like dregs in the wine glass
11/30/2006 Gift of calmer shopping
11/23/2006 YouTube for YouWine
11/16/2006 Welcome to wine
11/9/2006 Fine art, supermarket wine
11/2/2006 The geography of grapes
10/26/2006 Please continue to hold
10/19/2006 The trouble with reds
10/12/2006 Making new friends
10/05/2006 TiVo-ing the wine
09/28/2006 From an unknown battle
09/21/2006 Toast to turkey
09/14/2006 Wine for life
09/07/2006 What are Malpeques, Alex?
08/31/2006 Hanging out wines
08/24/2006 Falling into new wine season
08/17/2006 Where has that wine been?
08/10/2006 Bringing out the dead
08/03/2006 The birth of a wine fop
07/27/2006 Slow process of maturation
07/20/2006 The pain of adolescent wines
07/13/2006 Nice day for a white wedding
07/06/2006 Scoring goals with booze
06/29/2006 Beer, it's what's for dinner
06/22/2006 A drink fit for a czar
06/15/2006 A summer of beer and fried clams
06/08/2006 Keep your cool, fool
06/01/2006 The social lubricant
05/25/2006 Water, water everywhere
05/18/2006 Big fat greek wine tasting
05/11/2006 Drinking to the end
05/04/2006 Schooled in the art of wine
04/27/2006 Make a wish
04/20/2006 Immigrant wines
04/13/2006 A pain in the glass
04/06/2006 Got milk?
03/30/2006 Throw a dart and there's wine
03/23/2006 A life of good wine
03/16/2006 Honoring the dead soldiers
03/09/2006 What once was old i new again
03/02/2006 The taste of sibling rivalry
02/23/2006 Wine travels, doesn’t sing
From grape, to barrel to red-tape jungle

02/16/2006 Love and vine
02/09/2006 A dog-drink-dog world
02/02/2006 The winos' mecca
01/26/2006 Date-nite drinks
01/19/2006 Touring eastern wine country
01/12/2006 Wine, Cheese and Granny Smith
01/05/2006 Resolve to try new wines
10 Wines To Get Lucky With

Adventures in and past the Euro-Cave
A Do-It-Yourself Wine Tasting
A Red For Everything
A Red Wth Your Leftovers?
A Tasty Way To Put Wine To The Test
A Year Of Wine
An Around-The-World Holiday
A wine for every holiday

Basking In The Mondavi Light
Behind One Door Is Great Wine
Beware The Hot Bottle
Brandy and the nude beach
Champagne, The Other White Wine
Cheers And Whines Of The Vine
Days of wine and jelly beans
Deep in the heart of Texas
Drinking for your health
Drinking like a newspaperman

Drinking Whites After Labor Day
Finding A Great Medium-Weight Drink (I)
Finding A Great Medium Weight Drink (II)
Gifts for blood, love or money
Grill and sip, sip and sip. Finding the perfect wine for barbecue
Hey baby, stay cool
How The Corleones Saved Wine

In Praise Of An American Wine
In search of the girl next door
Keeping it in the family
Keeping up appearances
Looking back at the heyday of cheap wine
My Big Fat Greek Wine Tasting
The Best Drinks On A Budget
The Highly Drinkable (Mostly) Merlot
The Long, Strange Journey Of Wine
Old French grape in the New World
Olé! to a week in wine
Opening the Parker book

Our French friends — really
Our Northern Neighbor
Poker faces and wine

Presenting A New England Vodka
Presenting The Wines Of Spring
Rewarding Your Support Staff
Schooled In The Art Of Wine
Shopping for Wine Bargains

Sitting By The Fire And Dreaming Of Wine
Slipping A Little Sideways
Spending the holidays in NYC
Spirit World Tales
Springtime calls for wine and ice cream
Sudden ugly mood swings
The new face of fine wines
The wines of fall
Thinking ahead to the holidays
Time To Stay Frosty
Tipples for turkey day
TV worth drinking
What it means to miss N.O.
What To Drink When You Eat Wild
What's Your Wine Sign
White’s OK after Labor Day
Wine Between The Season
Wine for the NASCAR set
Wine is in at the Inn
Wine’ll make you crazy
Wine Works With Red Sauce