While there's no way to prevent this from walloping you in the wallet, it is possible reduce the environmental footprint of eating so much stuff.
Cooking made-in-Manitoba food over the holidays can reduce your holiday-season carbon footprint — and as an added bonus, divert a few dollars to local farmers and producers.
Of course, it isn't exactly easy to find fresh produce in this province in mid-December. But with a little bit of effort, it is possible to enjoy a 100-mile holiday diet, as the following song can attest:
On the 12th day of gorging, my true love served to me:
Twelve oily donuts
Ten taters frying
Nine lettuce leaves
Eight fair-trade chocolates
Seven servings of squash
Six Little Scrappers
Five golden beets
Four big baguettes
Three lamb cuts
Two 'toban cheeses
And a free-range, Manitoba turkey
1. Free-range local turkeys from Frig's Natural Meats (3515 Main St., 334-9430) in West St. Paul sell for $2.59 a pound. This time of year, Manitoba farmers keep their birds indoors.
2. The finest fromage in Manitoba is the raw-milk Trappist cheese from Holland, Man., 100 grams of which retail for $3.70 at De Luca's (950 Portage Ave., 774-7617) and other specialty grocers. Pair it with milder Madagascar green peppercorn cheese from Bothwell Cheese of New Bothwell, Man. A 200-gram block sells for about $5 at most Winnipeg groceries.
3. Manitoba lamb is among the best on the planet, so show off three different cuts, if you have the time. Meat At The Forks (The Forks Market, 334-3618) sells shanks for $6.99 a pound, boneless legs for $8.99 a pound and loin chops for $10.99 a pound. Braise the shanks, roast the leg and grill the chops. If you have room in your freezer, you can buy the entire beast — chopped into individual cuts and wrapped — for $6.50 per pound.
4. Wolseley's Tall Grass Prairie Bread Co. (859 Westminster Ave., 783-5097) makes white-bread baguettes out of organic Manitoba flour and sells them for $2.65 each. Serve them with the cheese.
5. Manitoba golden beets retail for $7.99 a kilogram at Osborne Village organic grocer Organza (Confusion Corner, 453-6266). Roast them until tender with a little canola oil.
6. Six-packs of Little Scrapper, a very hoppy ale brewed up on Keewatin Street by the family-owned Half Pints Brewing Company, sell for $10.85 at MLCC stores. This beer is zippy enough to cut through the heaviness of turkey gravy and still leave your taste buds tingling.
7. Along with the golden beets, eight varieties of Manitoba-grown winter squash can be found at Organza, where they retail for $1.99 a kilogram. Roast until soft and then stir in sautéed Manitoba shallots.
8. While chocolate doesn't grow on the Canadian prairies, try the next best thing as an after-dinner sweet: fair-trade, organic chocolates flavoured with made-in-Manitoba beets. Chocolatier Constance Popp (1853 Portage Ave., 897-0689) in St. James makes Manitoba red-beet chocolates finished with sea salt, pepper and caraway seeds. They sell for $2 a pop, if you'll pardon the lousy pun. You can also buy Manitoba maple bon-bons and chocolate truffles sweetened with homegrown honey. Added bonus: All Constance Popp's packaging is compostable.
9. While it's tough to find Manitoba greens in late December, you can always count on butter lettuce from Neva Hydroponic Farms of Landmark, Man. A head of lettuce retails for $2.50 at Vic's Fruit Market (1038 Pembina Hwy., 475-8332) and larger supermarkets. Hydroponic basil from the same farm retails for $2.35 a package.
10. For made-in-Manitoba potato latkes, you can still find local red potatoes at Organic Planet (877 Westminster Ave., 772-8771) for $3.35 a kilogram. Peel, grate, season and combine with Vita eggs before you fry them until brown.
11. Humble rye whiskey is trendy again, which good news for the Gimli-based producers of Crown Royal. The MLCC sells 13-ounce half bottles of the golden-brown fluid for $16.49. Use one ounce to glaze the beets, knock one back yourself and serve the rest to your guests.
12. Along with potato latkes, jambusters known as sufganiot are traditionally eaten during Hanukkah because the oil used to cook them symbolizes sacramental fuel that miraculously burned for eight days. Pick up a dozen of the jelly-filled pastries at Gunn's Bakery (247 Selkirk Ave., 582-2364) for $7.80.