(Chris Williams/Haida Gwaii Observer illustration)

The Drive Home: Self-bettering through belly buttering

By Chris Williams

Have you ever experienced the sheer horror that comes from looking in the mirror and discovering a big black spot on your skin that wasn’t there the day before only to realize it’s a melted chocolate chip from a bag of chocolate chips you were eating on the couch a few minutes ago?

Neither have I. But I can imagine it’s super scary when it does happen. Which is why, if you’re an amateur “couch food indulger,” like I used to be, then you should always wear a bib when eating food on the couch. You don’t want to confuse a perfectly good chocolate-chip cookie or a caramel cheesecake for a cancer scare.

Eating food on the couch can be extremely messy and misleadingly unhealthy, but it doesn’t have to be. And with the “I’m gonna binge watch TV shows for five months” season upon us, I feel I should impart some of my couch-eating skills on to you, the faithful but hungry reader.

Couch eating has become a necessity in life as advancements in television programming continue to up the ante with increasingly terrible but addictive TV shows. Eating on the couch is no longer a luxury, but a way of life imposed upon us by bigger TVs and comfier couches. Couch eating is also an art that I have mastered through a life of hard work, poor life choices, and many horizontal meals. I have perfected such feats as chest-to-chin soup slurping and chocolate-fondue belly balancing with no material casualties. I can, if necessary, easily prepare a nice garden or quinoa salad from the couch (but to be honest, I never do). Chips and candy are simple feats of divan indulgence when compared to spaghetti or cabbage rolls. Once, in university, I saw a local couch-eating legend catch, cook and digest 42 escargot all while flipping between four different television channels. There is currently a bronze statue of this man adorning the university foyer.

Once you have a grip on the eating part, you can move onto bigger challenges, like food preparation. Make your life easier by installing a propane cookstove in the surface of your coffee table for preparing pasta dishes and quiches without missing out on your favourite television commercials. One of my favourite and most requested culinary feats is to prepare eggs Benedict with English muffins browned on the baseboard heater next to the lamp. Delish! The hollandaise sauce can be tricky, but can be handled with a tea-light candle, a magnifying glass, and a coat hanger (see diagram).

In her book, The Softer Side of Sofa Snacking, author Wjona Whitebread references humanity’s historic desire to snack while reclining and points out how some of history’s greatest moments have been largely impacted by a person’s preference for eating while lounging about on their back. Napoleon’s brilliant tactical command at the battle at Toulon can be directly attributed to his spilling baked beans on his frock while catching up on the latest episode of House Hunters of Paris. Genghis Khan never rode into battle without first wolfing down a nice grilled-cheese sandwich and catching up on local news from his sofa.

So this winter, while you’re watching your favourite crap TV and wondering if it’s ever going to get warm out again, explore the endless list of dishes that can be prepared off your stomach while keeping your eyes glued. History might be depending on it.

Hope this helps!

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