Peter Costa: Thanksgiving is as sweet as sugar

Peter Costa

Thanksgiving is upon us as it ushers in a holiday season laden with my biggest challenge – baked goods.

Already I can hear my doctor saying: “At first, I thought I was looking at a Mercator-projection map of Alaska, but discovered it actually is an x-ray of your pancreas. You must cut down on the sugar, man.”

After all, I have been known to eat a piece of apple pie and a piece of pumpkin pie for breakfast on the day after Thanksgiving. I also ate two pieces of pie on the previous day, Thanksgiving Day. And a cupcake.

I remain an unreconstructed cookie monster, too. No cookie is too ordinary or too avant-garde for me to sample. I like everything from plain sugar cookies to coma-inducing baklava.

Speaking of Greek delights, there is a gelatinous candy called loukoumi. It comes in a 4-by-6-inch rectangular mass and is placed inside a thick, hermetically sealed cardboard box so as not to set off HAZMAT meters at local airports. It takes the form of 2,000 melted Jujubes, except it is not as chewy. Besides the gelatin, it contains honey, chopped almonds or pistachio nuts.

The whole mass itself is covered in confectioners’ sugar. It has a street value of about $2,000. (Ask for Spiro; he hangs out at 42nd and Lex.)

I seem to be able to avoid second helpings of stuffing or mashed potatoes, but I am powerless against a dessert tray. Like my pug dog, Gracie, I can detect an oven door opening or closing at 50 paces. We both scamper off to the kitchen. She sits on the floor next to the oven; I sit on a stool. We both watch the oven as if it were a game bird about to fly off. We miss nothing. We’re in the zone and we play with Super Bowl intensity.

But the wait is excruciating. We have to sit by while the cakes, pies and cookies cool on their metal racks. I usually tell the dog to stop barking, but my doing so just seems to re-enforce her instinct to bark for food.

After a few minutes, a knife or a spatula is produced and the goods are cut. Warm vapors of baked goodness drift upward and outward and the kitchen becomes an opium den thick with smoke. Is that you, Sherlock?

Mercifully, I am given a slice of pie and the dog is given a cookie. All is quiet as we chew.

“You’re hopeless, Peter. It isn’t even 8 a.m.”

“I know,” I say, and then ask sheepishly, “When is Kiki coming over with the loukoumi?”

Peter Costa is a senior editor with GateHouse Media New England. His most recent humor book is “Outrageous CostaLiving: Still Laughing Through Life,” available at