Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures
Julia Roberts had it right when she recently packed on 10 pounds while noshing her way through Italy in Eat Pray Love. (When in Rome, as they say.) “Like in the scene with the pizza, by the time the scene is over, I’ve eaten the entire piece,” she told Entertainment Weekly. "When we were in Naples, we started shooting at eight in the morning, and I think by 8:45, I’d eaten eight or 10 pieces of pizza. Pizza was what I ate all day that day."
I tend to be a fairly rigid eater. Oatmeal. Nonfat Greek yogurt with flaxseed and Kashi Go-Lean cereal. Fruit. Salad. Salmon. Nuts. Chocolate. I pig out on boat parties and at backyard BBQs and assuage my PMS with buttercream-filled Whoopie Pies. But for the most part, my eating tends to not waver from a 90 percent healthy/10 percent "Who cares?" ratio.
That is, until I go on vacation. That’s when it’s time to throw a party in my mouth, and everything’s invited. If I have to pack a suitcase, book a hotel and pay an exorbitant amount of money to fly somewhere, I’m going to live it up and sample the local fare, and my willingness to loosen up correlates directly with the distance I’m traveling. Just headed to New York? Oatmeal for breakfast and salad for lunch, then let loose a bit at dinner. Los Angeles for a wedding? Rehearsal dinner martinis, steak and a trip or three to the sweets table. Mexico? Pina colada for breakfast, poolside chips and guac and more guac. And if I’m traveling abroad, it’s no holds barred. Pizza and gelato in Italy. Crusty baguettes the size of toddlers piled with soft cheese in Paris. Mezes in Turkey. Sufganiyot (jelly-filled, powdered donuts) in Israel.
I’m not saying you need to gorge yourself just because you’ve landed in a different time zone. No one wants to depart in skinny jeans, but be forced to purchase two seats for the plane ride home. Although in the Eat Pray Love, Julia Robert's character, Liz, and her friend happily go shopping for larger jeans after an afternoon of enjoying pizza in Naples. Liz tells her friend not to worry about her muffin top. "How many times have you been with a man and when you've taken off your clothes, he's left? Never. Men don't care. They're just happy to be with a naked woman," Liz says to her.
A a major part of enjoying vacation, in my opinion, is delighting in the local cuisine. Besides, you’re probably walking four times as much as normal as you shlep back and forth between museums, monuments and public works of art.
In truth, after about three days of vacation-style eating, I’m usually itching to get back home and return my normal, boring, healthy style of dining and exercise. But until my tray is locked and my seatback returned to its upright position, I’m going to enjoy this gelato like there’s no tomorrow.
What's the best meal you've ever had on vacation? Chime in below.