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Ah . . . the many over-eating possibilities

By Staff | Nov 3, 2016

Food, endless food.

Buffet after buffet, menu after menu.

Roast beef so pink and tender, it was sliced thin and rolled into rosettes. Onion rings that were made to order and served in a tiny fryer basket. Thai noodles with crunchy, shaved vegetables. Fish so fresh, it practically swam to the plate.

Endless champagne refills at the raise of a glass. Coffee bar specialties and innumerable varieties of tea. Tiny slices of raspberry-filled Sacher torte and cream cheese-frosted poppy seed cake, served aside a miniature glass vessel holding a swirl of chocolate mousse.

And all the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream you can eat.

A dizzying abundance of food.

My parents are travelers. They have circled the world more times than I can count on all my fingers and toes. They do it aboard the finest luxury cruise ships; my father is a destination lecturer who can fill a 500-seat theater and hold a crowd with nothing more than the stories he tells. For this, my folks get to sail the seven seas with the million-dollar crowd.

So when the Crystal Serenity docked in Baltimore in October, my mother invited me to come aboard. In all the years my folks have cruised, I have never seen their accommodations. Usually their ports of call are continents away.

But Baltimore; close enough.

I had to submit my name and Social Security number to be allowed on the ship. In a gray, industrial vestibule at the top of the gangplank, I surrendered my passport and received a pass-tag to clip to my collar. But just a few steps past that, it was a different world.

A glittering world of colored glass and shiny brass, swift elevators and dramatic wall art. And food.

It was lunchtime. What did I want to eat, my mother asked.

And then came the choices. The main dining room, perhaps, where one can actually become exhausted and nearly food comatose before the final coffee service?

Too much? Then how about the endless buffet, that begins with cheeses and preserved and pickled appetizers and continues through several culinary nationalities before concluding at a carved-beef station?

Or perhaps the grill, where burgers are constructed to order? Or the casual dining restaurant which, like this column, is called Tastes, and offers light fare such as salads? Or, maybe the Bistro, which positions crocks of vegetable and plain cream cheeses next to never-empty plates of smoked salmon?

“This is why people gain weight on cruises,” my mother said.

On a typical day at home, lunch for me is a sandwich. That’s it. Some ham and cheese, and a nice condiment smeared on the bread. Maybe, if I’m feeling particularly gluttonous, I’ll add a few potato chips to the plate.

So we skipped the endless buffet and formal dining room. I ordered a tuna melt and onion rings at the grill, and allowed the wait staff to improve my meal with a glass of


“Onion rings and champagne,” my husband posted, after my mom uploaded a photo of us to Facebook. “Looks like a great lunch.”

“Are you ready for ice cream yet,” my dad wanted to know.

Hardly. We engaged in a slow stroll around the ship in the hopes of making room. But somehow, instead we ended up in front of a display of pastries and decided to seize the moment.

Since I had to be off the ship by 5 p.m. and endeavored to beat Baltimore rush hour, my visit concluded soon after that. Unfortunately, Baltimore rush hour starts early

and I sat in traffic nearly from the moment I left the ship.

Fortunately, my mom secured a nice portion of large, perfect cashews to send with me in the car, in case I needed a nosh on the way home.