The Aperitif Effect



My in-laws used to pour a nice, dry sherry at 5 o’clock. I remember the cut crystal schooners, the sectioned serving plate with a ‘plentiful sufficiency” of borderline stale, crisps, cocktail peanuts and Twiglets. My father-in-law and I would usually have a second sherry – extra dry to prepare our palates for dinner.


I always felt overmuch in my in-laws house. Too loud, too thirsty, too tall, too American for the gentile, doily bedraped English parlor. The perfectly calibrated portions of shepherd’s pie or treacle pudding or table wine were presented with a theatricality that made me hungrier somehow. And a bit defiant that the availability of consumables in my country were boundless and super-sized, and I didn’t have to anticipate their coming with a thimbleful of plonk.


Being the kind of person, who from early on, swilled my Chardonnay without tasting it, the ritual of the aperitif was foreign to me in more ways than one.


Drinking Alcohol Before a Meal Makes you EAT More…

As it turns out, it wasn’t just my need to assert my national custom that had me asking for seconds at the dinner table. Alcohol increases the brain’s sensitivity to food aromas and other sensory clues, by increasing activity in the hypothalamus region of the brain; the part of the brain that mediates reward and regulates feeding behavior. As a result, you eat more after drinking alcohol.


Just another reason for us non drinkers to feel righteous this morning, n’est-ce pas?


Today I’m not drinking because it makes me eat more…

How come you’re not drinking?