i want to go hunting but i don’t want to kill animals or shoot a gun.

ever since i wrote about “hunting gear” a couple years ago, i’ve been on this kick that i really want to hunt except for: a) i don’t want to actually kill an animal or b) shoot a gun.

shooting a big furry animal? one that’s cute? (and let’s face it: they’re all cute. even the ones that want to eat your face.)  i just couldn’t do it. i’ve also learned that when hunting, you need to drag the dead animal back to your car, then at some point, gut it. which, no. please, i can barely make a meatloaf!

i also don’t like shooting guns, because they’re a) loud b) dangerous and c) have kickback. and i try to avoid all loud, dangerous things, especially those that might wind up tossing my body like a beanbag. (hah, that was a funny visual.)

so i guess what i actually want to do is wear cool hunting clothes while hiding out in the woods looking at animals.

is there a name for this activity? because it’s definitely not hunting.

i think what might be a good solution is to take a moderately short hike in camo and hunting-appropriate boots, stop in the prettiest spot, and watch animals in their natural habitat while i picnic on a variety of forest-appropriate snacks, including but not limited to fresh fruit, sheep or goat’s milk cheese, and/or a selection of meats that don’t need to be heated. and pumpkin seeds. oh, and tea, from, like, a stainless steel thermos that keeps it really really hot for hours, because, really, who knows how long i’ll be out there? OH AND CHOCOLATE. DARK CHOCOLATE. mmmm.

other items to pack:
-a blanket
-matches (in case i need to make a fire, which, how do you make a fire? whatever, i’ll figure it out.)
-a tent (in case it rains)
-one of those wind-up lights that’s also a radio and a cell phone charger
-S.O.S. flares (in case of emergency)
-bear spray
-a knife (don’t ask; this just feels like something i should have)
-first aid kit

ok, i guess what actually want to do is to go camping, in which case i’m going to need one of those portable camping stoves. and some kind of stove top coffee pot. breakfast foods. canned beans. things like that. OH WAIT: BUG SPRAY. but without chemicals. natural bug spray.

this is turning into kind of an ordeal. maybe i should just go fishing. except i don’t want to bait the hook or touch any fish. so i guess what i actually want to do is sit in a boat or stand on a pier all day, catch and reel in a fish, and basically make someone else do all the gross stuff. (note: i have actually found someone to do this for me!)

so yeah. that’s actually all i wanted to tell you. how’s your summer been? mine’s been a little on the crappy side (hence not posting much). HOWEVER (however!) i’m thrilled to tell you that I HAVE COMPLETED MY E-BOOK, “THAT’S NOT A KITTEN, IT’S A RAT,” AND IT WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FOR THE LOW LOW PRICE OF $2.99.

the gist of this e-book is that it’s actually a mini e-book (hence the reasonable price), designed to be read in one hour or less. it contains lots of what i call dvd extras for regular readers (like how i unknowingly peed my pants in kindergarten while listening to phonics records in my elementary school library) but also tries to reel people in that haven’t made it to this blog yet with tales of eddie the rat and the bottomless abyss that is my bag.

BONUS: if you’re somewhat local i am willing to come to your book club (yes! your book club!) to answer questions, or, you know, just to eat your food and talk trash with you and your friends. i will also bring HOLLY, whom, as you all know, is the real hero of this blog in that she is endlessly patient with me as i talk/complain about her and spill our business on the internet. (LOVE YOU, HONEY!)

trust me, i will let you all know the moment it’s available for download. in the meantime, does anyone want to sit and watch animals in the woods with me? make sure you wear camo. i’ll bring the forest snacks and the bear spray.

out TODAY: flourless! a book by my BFF nicole spiridakis!

flourless by nicole spiridakis

do you have a best friend? i do. her name’s nicole spiridakis and she’s a kick-ass food blogger, chef/baker, who, as of today, just happens to be a published author.

in lieu of being responsible and writing about the end of our cleanse–which, yes, we finished, and yes, i’m still alive in case you were wondering (which, were you even?)–i’m going to take a moment promote her new gluten-free dessert cookbook, flourless, which is both shockingly beautiful (it really is) and entirely sensible in that it doesn’t depend on weird flours and gums but naturally gluten free ingredients that mingle and merge to create delightfully delicious and very, i may add, delectable desserts. (what i did right there is called alliteration. and you thought i wasn’t a professional writer! *rolls eyes*)

before i share the conversation i recently had with nicole about flourless, i’d like to tell you how we met.

nicole and i met in some kind of introductory journalism class at the university of maryland, college, park. it was the late 90s. i was a jersey girl with a pixie cut, a bad attitude, and a lot pens. she was a northern california girl with long, flowing hair and a backpack featuring a variety of feminist pins. she was quiet. i was not. i basically sat next to her and talked to her until she became my friend. :)

although we very rarely see each other, she is my daily supporter and my personal cheerleader and i love her like crazy and am just so friggin proud of her and her accomplishment.

so. *ahem* <<wipes eyes and clears throat>> without further ado, may i present a conversation with the newly published author (!) nicole spiridakis about her fabulous new book, flourless.

jessica: hi nicole! what’s up!? i texted you like five minutes ago but i thought i’d ask again for the sake of my readers.

nicole: I totally texted you back but hi again! I am currently baking some cookies. Shocking, I know.

j: so you’re my bff for life (4LIFE) so i wanted to promote your new book, flourless: recipes for naturally gluten-free desserts, a little bit. it’s also pretty awesome so i think people should know about it.

nicole: Aww, you’re my bff, too! Thanks so much for the shout-out.

j: ok so it’s a gluten-free dessert cookbook (mmmm dessert…). but it’s all naturally gluten-free, right? no weird thickeners, no gluten-free flour, etc. tell us all about it!

n: Exactly! All the recipes rely upon naturally gluten-free ingredients – like oats (note: these are naturally gluten-free but commercial oats are often processed in facilities that also process wheat flours so make sure to buy certified g-f oats if you’re allergic), nuts, fruits, eggs, etc.

j: how did you come up with the idea for flourless?

n: My sister-in-law Emily keeps to a gluten-free diet and I started baking her gluten-free cookies and such, using pretty simple ingredients (and no guar or xanthum gums because I am cheap and those are expensive). We got to talking about gluten-free baking and realized that making stuff that doesn’t try to compensate for regular flour items – i.e. is stand-alone delicious – or use weird substitutes often taste much better and is less intimidating to make. Thus the concept of ‘naturally flourless’.

j: some people are kind of freaked out by gluten-free things, especially desserts, but these recipes seem really appealing. like, you don’t even need to mention that they’re gluten-free to people. they’re just…well, naturally gluten-free. do you get what i’m trying to say? i feel like i’m not saying it right.

n: Yes! That was my aim. I don’t want people to think oh, another gluten-free recipe, ho hum, I guess I will eat it because it’s there but I doubt it will be great. The goal was: here are some amazing desserts that taste SO good and oh yeah, they happen to be gluten-free!                      

j: what are some of your favorite recipes in the book?

n: I’m very partial to the Mexican hot chocolate cake; that was one of my early successes and I’m still really happy with how it turned out. I love the almond butter-chocolate chip cookies, and the vanilla cupcakes with lemon buttercream. Oh and the roasted stone fruit with mascarpone and mint. And the cinnamon molasses cookies, salted caramel pots de crème, pistachio-coffee toffee … I could go on.

j: as you know, i do not pride myself on my cooking nor my baking skills. is this the type of book even someone somewhat dysfunctional like me could follow?

n: Absolutely. (Although I think you’re a better cook than you let on.) My goal was to write recipes that would be accessible to the home cook of varying levels of experience – from seasoned gluten-free bakers to those who only bake gluten-free once in awhile (or not at all). I truly hope I have accomplished this.

j: is there anything else you’d like to say? i mean, this is your big chance to reach my 200 readers. no i’m kidding. it’s 300. NO ACTUALLY: 10,000. TEN THOUSAND READERS. 5 MILLION READERS.

n: I wholly loved working on this cookbook and I am truly grateful for the opportunity. I can’t say how/why/when I really got into cooking and baking but it’s something I’ve been doing for years and now it’s just a regular part of my life – it’s true that I rarely let a week go by without baking at least something (often more than one thing). I feel so lucky that I can share some of my efforts with a wider audience, and I so hope people enjoy and benefit from this cookbook.

j: are you going to make me any of these desserts when i come visit you in morocco? is there anything really chocolately in there? omg i loooove chocolate. remember that flourless chocolate cake you made for my 23rd birthday party back in the day? omg it was soooo good. you’ve been such an amazing baker for so long. i should have guessed you’d do a book like this one day.

n: You’re so lovely. Thank you. I will of course bake you lots of delights when you visit me in North Africa. And make mint tea. Who am I kidding: coffee.

j: i’m really proud of you, btw. i love how you’re an author now. i think you’re the best. i’m going to text you in five minutes to say hi.

n: … sorry, what? I was writing you a text. Right! We’ve come a looong way from those days at UMD but I still think you’re the best thing I gained from that journalism program! Oh, other than some sweet Diamondback bylines ;)

(jessica’s note: omg the diamondback, umcp’s very own student newspaper, where i thought i was the bomb-diggity for making $10/article, which, hello, you could totally get some pretty decent shampoo and/or conditioner at cvs for $10 back then.)

if you’re in the san francisco area, you can meet nicole and have her sign your very own copy of flourless this sunday! details are here.

nicole, i love you and congratulations!!!!!! when i gain five to eight pounds from eating all these desserts, i’m going to text you a bunch of angry emoticons followed by a bunch of hearts ;) XXO

I’M GOING TO PUNCH YOU IN THE THROAT (OUR CLEANSE: DAY 2)

i blogged yesterday about our friggin cleanse. here’s the rest of what happened. warning: this post may give you a rash.

DAY 2, CONTINUED

12:30pm had a small portion of quinoa, lentils & cubed sweet potatoes for lunch: MOST AMAZING THING I EVER ATE IN MY LIFE.
1:45pm weird tingly sensation in my forehead.
2pm OMG AM I GETTING A RASH? false alarm
3:45pm holly is extremely grumpy. obviously buckling under the pressure. leave me alone until you feel better or else i’m going to punch you in the throat, i tell her. she leaves for an appointment and comes back even grumpier. says she smelled pizza on the way home.
7pm we do a weird vegan, grainless, and everything else-less italian meal that fails miserably. i try my hand at eggplant for the first time and ruin it. holly eats a single stuffed mushroom. she tries to eat another but spits it out in the trash.
9:30pm-ish bad experience in the bathroom. don’t want to talk about it.
11:36pm in bed i think i smell fresh air-popped popcorn but there’s no popcorn. great, now i’m hallucinating.

do you have a rash now? i think i’m getting one again. also: the inside of my mouth felt itchy yesterday. WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME.

if i don’t post again within two to three days, please call some kind of emergency responder.

LORD HELP US WE’RE DOING A CLEANSE (DAY 1: OMG)

so holly finally got the go-ahead from our acupuncturist to do this food-based cleanse she’s been bugging her about for, like, the past year and a half. as in: holly’s been bugging our acupuncturist, not the other way around, to do the cleanse. who even does that?

and of course i have to go down with the ship and do it, too, because we’re married, blah blah blah. i have to support her, etc. etc. etc. plus i know it will be good for me.

here’s the basics of the cleanse:

it’s food-based, not that weird-ass one people were doing a while ago where you drink, like, maple syrup lemon water with cayenne pepper for however many days. (what the hell was that all about anyway? ew.) so yeah, it’s organic vegetables and fruits only (not even beans even. i know. WTF.) (though, randomly, we can have very limited amounts of lentils, sweet potato, and quinoa; don’t ask me, i have no idea) for the first seven days, supplemented by smoothies featuring an organic powder that has protein and various organic green veggies, roots, and who the hell knows what else. mine is non-dairy. holly’s has whey in it. there are weird fiber pills to take, too. these are details you probably don’t care about so i’ll stop.

for weeks 2 and 3 you can add proteins one at a time. chicken, fish, lean beef, eggs. then grains and i guess dairy? i don’t know. holly read the book. i’m too hungry to read it.

here’s why we’re doing the cleanse:

-to rid our bodies of toxins, which hello, we live in baltimore and i found out that the iconic smokestack next to I-95 is actually a giant garbage incinerator.
-maybe find a food-related trigger for my ongoing migraines.
-get my blood-sugar evened out/jewish pancreas a break so i don’t wind up with diabetes.
-lose weight, i.e. i’d like to see the real shape of my face again, especially my chin, because i’m tired of making selfie faces in the mirror so i can see my cheekbones.
-change our eating patterns/habits.
-other reasons i can’t remember.

anyway, i’ve decided i’m going to chronicle how i’m feeling every day. as a record for future generations. or, you know, a last will & testament.

i was too weak and angry to write yesterday so this is actually day 2. however, i did take some notes yesterday about how i was feeling. but then i started feeling so bad i couldn’t take notes anymore. here they are in no particular order:

DAY 1
head hurts.
very hungry, feeling angry and emotional. can’t concentrate.
peeing a lot.
probably shouldn’t have driven to safeway.
if i got stranded on a desert island, i’d definitely die from low blood-sugar or some kind of organ failure.
hate all people.
omg pain behind my right eyeball.
don’t talk to me.
don’t look at me.

DAY 2
i don’t want any more portobella mushrooms ever.
eyeballs feel sore.
unable to focus on what holly’s saying. oh wait she’s telling me that’s me every day anyway. whatever, it’s worse than usual.
the pills (10 total, 3 times a day) taste like black licorice and i almost threw all of them up.
had a salad at 10am. omg who are we???? i don’t even know who i am anymore.

jamie g. did the cleanse and she just texted that “if we can make it through the next couple days” we’re going to “feel a beautiful light energetic happiness high.” this is hopeful though i hope i don’t get divorced by then. if you don’t hear from me in two days send the police.

there’s a hole in the ozone above where i do my hair

so now that it’s may in baltimore, two things are certain:

1) i will be sweating until early to mid october. possibly til halloween, depending on weather patterns.

2) my hair is now huge, only to get huger, unless i press no less than 400-425 degrees of searing heat directly against it, taking down baltimore’s power grid in the process and creating a hole in the ozone directly above our house.

this is compounded by the fact that i’ve started to go to the gym again, to “lose weight for the summer,” (LOL) seeing how it’s may 15th and i like to plan in advance and all. 10 minutes on the damn stairmaster this morning and my DIY blowout is shot to hell. totally going to have to do it again now. totally going to get carpal tunnel, which, whatever. you know i’m going to get it anyway because i’m a writer. might as well have nice hair while i’m sitting here in my home office where no one can see me (except holly, who somehow loves me no matter what my hair looks like, even on exceptionally large hair days that make her eyes wide with alarm as she whispers babe, your hair is really big today. bless her).

in other news: holly’s semester’s almost over and OMG THANK GOODNESS I’M SO HUNGRY I’VE BEEN HUNGRY SINCE THE FALL OMG BABY PLEASE START COOKING FOR ME AGAIIIIIN. no but seriously: this year’s been an emotional roller coaster! now i see why getting your mba is such a friggin big deal. it’s hard. it’s hard on spouses, too!

it’s like holly’s school stress travels into me through osmosis or something. i’m not taking econ BUT I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING ECON. please! i don’t want to know about econ! like all good journalists/ex-journalists/copywriters, i pride myself in becoming an expert in confusing fields completely foreign/uninteresting to me, writing an article or website about said field(s), then promptly forgetting everything like it never even happened. don’t tell me about your econ class, holly, unless i’m writing web content/email marketing copy/a script/etc. on the life of an mba grad student with a partner who’s needed a home-cooked meal since august. (trust me, you don’t want me to write that.)

no. i’ve been cooking. i cook sometimes! i’m actually a pretty decent cook. i’ve made butternut squash puree, like from an actual butternut squash. (holly had to cut it down the middle for me because i’m scared of knives and, you know, blood.) i excel at grilling chicken. oh one time i made like…a chicken piccata-type thing! you know, with capers? i also excel at roasting any and all vegetables. i’ve made some vegetarian soups featuring trendy greens like kale and chick peas (the humble chick pea: always on trend, never out of style). i made a beef stew with red wine in it. (fancy!) i made my old friend diane‘s excellent sweet & sour gummy gelatin snacks because we’re hippies now and don’t eat anything artificial and everything in our cupboards is some kind of dried thing or seed sealed in an airtight container.

i started each semester out strong saying to holly i got you, babe! i’ll do the cooking! but then quickly petered out after three days, telling her on her way out the door to please go to starbucks during your break, honey, and get a latte and some kind of egg sandwich for dinner while i ate low glycemic foods such as green apples and various tree nuts at my desk. then i’d work on my e-book for five minutes, go downstairs and binge watch gay man shows like will & grace and the golden girls, spitting out pumpkin seeds as i laughed, thinking oh i should go do the dishes now but i probably won’t! oh that karen walker! oh blanche! oh sophia! i think i need an organic cheese stick! …but there was no one to get it for me because holly was in class. and then i’d feel sad i didn’t try harder to cook for my spouse. but then millionaire matchmaker was on and…what was i talking about again?

still. i would give up the chance to binge watch my favorite reruns for some home cookin that i don’t have to actually cook.

in conclusion, i started out talking about my hair and i have no idea how i got onto this topic. anyway, here’s a picture of the hole in the ozone above our house, three hours before i shut down the power grid.

Image

psych! it’s totally not. but wait: is that even real?? see, this is what happens when you google images. i have no idea if this is even legit. but it’s scary.

ok let’s stop talking about it now.

in conclusion (i love it when i try to “conclude” my blog posts). IN CONCLUSION: i have no conclusion. i was going to say something about hair to wrap up this post, but instead i’m going to tell you that while i was writing this (i wrote the majority of this post yesterday, about half of it alone in the house), the tv kept going on and off downstairs. it was really freaking me the hell out. i should have gone downstairs to investigate it, but there was a small part of me that thought it might be a poltergeist. (and we all know how well i handle spooky poltergeist movies.) i was trying to convince myself that some weird thing was going on with some kind of recording holly had set up but yeah, mostly i was thinking poltergeist.

i finally decided enough was enough, that i’d confront this invisible beast once and for all. i kind of expected to be sucked into the tv like that little girl in the movie (MOMMY HELP I’M STUCK IN THE TEEVEE! MOMMY MOMMY HELP! *shudder*). instead i found a box sitting on top of the on/off switch of the remote. i was flooded with the sweet nectar of relief one only feels after a close encounter with another dimension. (very few people have ever felt this.) i’m really glad this story had a happy ending or else holly would be really busy right now trying to get me out of our damn tv.

poltergeist hand comes out of the tv to get the little girl in the hit 80s horror movie, poltergeist.

COULD HAVE BEEN ME. WASN’T. ANOTHER CLOSE CALL.

EVERYTHING THAT NEEDS TO STOP RIGHT NOW.

i’ve been short on time lately. so in lieu of an actual coherent post, i’ve simply compiled a list of annoyances to share with you. i started writing it in a barnes & noble, shortly after a day trip to philadelphia. then i developed a new desk injury. now i’m sitting in a starbucks in towson watching flat butts go by.

here we go:

the heavy breathing behind me at the barnes & noble. just stop. stop sighing! your laptop screen is not large enough to shield me from your breathing. this is why i stay home and write. cause of people like you. go outside and sigh and breathe heavy. that’s what outside air is for.

the uncovered coughing behind me on the bus in philadelphia. HEY DUDE: DOES MY HAIR LOOK LIKE A RECEPTACLE FOR GERMS. IT’S NOT. COVER YOUR DAMN MOUTH OR I WILL SPRAY YOU IN THE FACE WITH MY BRAND-NEW MACE I JUST BOUGHT AT ACE HARDWARE.

the hookers. once the temperature rises five freakin degrees in this city, every loudass, raspy-voiced hooker in the neighborhood appears out of nowhere and starts shouting with her thousand-year-old smoker’s voice. STOP DISRUPTING MY WRITING. STOP DISRUPTING MY SLEEP. go inside! it’s not even warm out yet! why do you have to yell anyway? just talk! like a normal person! there are quiet hookers out there. haven’t you ever even seen pretty woman?!

the desk injuries. so now i have ulnar neuropathy? in addition to my desk-sitting-induced occipital neuralgia? in addition to the ganglion cyst from mouse overuse or somesuch that i used to have or still have? i don’t even know if i still have it. but i had to sleep with a brace on for a couple months back in ’05. it was…it was pretty nerdy. i’m glad i wasn’t wearing my nighttime mouthguard to prevent clenching back then or else i’d be divorced by now.

the slow people. oh and i’m slow so this is really saying something.

the people that don’t know how to drive. and i’m not even that good of a driver! USE YOUR BLINKER. STOP AT THE STOP SIGN. WHAT’S THE PROBLEM. GET OFF YOUR DAMN PHONE.

the grumpy people working in public places. look, despite how this blog may or may not portray me, i pride myself on being an exceptionally nice to strangers, and that includes people that work with the public, on the phone and in person. don’t assume i’m going to be rude to you. don’t be grumpy to me because some asshat was just a jerk to you. if you hate your job working with, you know, actual people, go get a job doing data entry. i did it once. worst two days of my life but you’d probably friggin love it.

the high waistlines! c’mon. COME ON. it wasn’t ok in 1992. it’s not ok now. we were all ok seeing chandler, monica & joey’s collective camel toes back then because. well. i guess we weren’t ok with it. but we didn’t have a choice. that’s all that was available. it’s 2014 now. we have more choices. choose to wear pants that keep your genitals a secret. choose to wear pants that don’t make your butt look like one giant slice of BACK.
Two models wearing stylish, high-waisted pants next to an image of Jessica Simpson wearing high-waisted "mom jeans."

The female comedians of Saturday Night Live wearing "mom jeans" in their mom jeans skit

we don’t have to settle for mom jeans anymore! WE’RE BETTER THAN THAT.

a note to manufacturers: not everyone likes rosemary so stop putting it in everything.

rosemary

WHY WHY WHY.

apropos of nothing (mental note: learn how to spell “apropos” so google can stop correcting you. also learn: synagogue, initiative, occasional. oh and aesthetic, which, hello, practically impossible.) — ANYWAY, apropos of nothing, i’m going to rant about rosemary, which, in my book, is long overdue.

first of all, if you have an intense love of rosemary, i strongly suggest you stop reading right now. just click the X and close out of this page. then run to your local produce department. once you get there, grab armloads of rosemary. throw it up in the air like you just don’t care. squeeze it between your fingers so the rosemary oil gets on your skin and then smell your fingers. that way holly and i can easily identify you. you, with the smell. sniffing your fingers in the supermarket. you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

so yeah, go ahead and buy all the rosemary in the world, we don’t even care. wanna know why? IT’S IN EVERYTHING ANYWAY. we can’t get away from it.

let me tell you a story. the story goes like this:

in my continuing effort to eat less grains in order to keep my blood-sugar steady, which therefore prevents me from getting hangry (i.e. so hungry you’re actually angry) while simultaneously helping me ward off type 2 diabetes, an affliction of the jews (the hiatal hernia i actually already have – OY. mental note: learn how to spell “hiatal” ), not to be confused with the bread of afflictionHEY OH! passover joke! (passover starts soon, biznatches! overeat pizza now so you don’t miss it. wait don’t. wait…nothing. forget i even said that.)

…so yes, in my continuing efforts to limit grains (SERIOUSLY I DON’T EVEN EAT PIZZA THAT OFTEN SHUT UP), i often purchase mary’s gone crackers, which, despite their odd name, are actually pretty good. they’re gluten-free and made of a variety of seeds, which, i don’t actually understand? regardless, they’re actually quite delicious. i usually buy the “original” crackers. they have served me well despite the fact that i continue to be confused about how they’re made.

at some point over the past two years, i decided to, you know, spice things up and picked up a box of the “herb” variety. BIG MISTAKE. listing “herbs” on an organic product (these crackers are organic like everything else we eat–yes, as i said years ago, we have truly become one of those households with nothing to eat, where you have to make everything. like a hippie. or a colonial person.) is not only vague but it’s also dangerous for those of us that don’t like rosemary. i feel like if an organic food lists “herbs” in its ingredient list, it probably contains enough rosemary to kill or at least choke a small to medium-sized mammal. oh and forget about salad bars. (YEAH WHOLE FOODS, I’M LOOKIN AT YOU. PEOPLE THAT DON’T LIKE ROSEMARY EXIST.) i’ll get to that in a minute.

anyway, as you can probably guess, the predominant flavor in these crackers was rosemary. it was like munching on a pine tree. ON A PINE. TREE. mary, (as in: of Mary’s Gone Crackers) would it be so hard to list ROSEMARY as an ingredient in your herb crackers? WOULD IT BE. SO HARD. no! i don’t think it would be!

i was recently reminded of this debacle yesterday when i delightedly opened a box of mary’s gone ALL NEW super seed crackers. which, hello, i was totally excited for! i mean, pumpkin seeds AND sunflower seeds AND poppy seeds in ADDITION to all the OTHER SEEDS. it was too much.

i bit into a cracker and at first i thought: oh my gosh. it’s almost like: an everything bagel! but then: NO. no no no NO. the familiar and unwelcome flavor of rosemary–of pine and soil itself–bloomed in my mouth. i shook the crackers at the sky. WHYYYYYYY. i shouted. WHYYYYYY.

no, i didn’t do that. who even shakes anything at the sky anymore? only people in biblical movies. i’d be more likely to throw the damn box across the room but i didn’t want to clean it up. anyway, it made me want to rant. so here i am.

why my intense dislike for rosemary? (oh hooo, this is going to get me in major trouble with some of you but whatever. it was bound to come out sooner or later.) first of all, if you break it up and toss it in things before you cook them–say, red-skinned potatoes, for example–it dries out and becomes these pokey little needles that can not only stab you in the throat, but choke you if they flip sideways in your esophagus! (go figure, i can spell esophagus.)

this very thing happened to me years ago. luckily, i was able to push the offending needle or needles down with a gulp of water or a slice of bread but it was touch and go there for a minute. it was touch and go. and it probably irritated my hiatal hernia.

and yes, if i wanted to gnaw on a pine needle, i’d gnaw on a pine needle. if i wanted to taste the earth’s rich, bountiful soil, i’d just eat a handful of rich bountiful soil.

and now for the kicker: THE WHOLE FOODS SALAD BAR. guys. c’mon. is it necessary to put rosemary in every single dish?? IS IT? i’ll tell you what: it’s not. because i don’t do it at home. this is the universe telling me to avoid the whole foods salad bar. it’s too damn expensive anyway. i already had words with the sushi guy. i should forget their prepared foods altogether.

so. in closing, does rosemary have its place? yes. but in small doses. (and YES, it can be good in a roasted chicken dish, so please don’t mention roasted chicken to me. i already know.)

if you are a manufacturer of something PLEASE list it on your ingredient list as not all of us want to eat pine sol. and chop the damn stuff up dammit! you want a lawsuit or something?? i should not have to review a heimlich maneuver chart before i eat your food.

heimlich maneuver

“help…i have rosemary…stuck…in my throat.” “i gotcha, buddy. i gotcha.”

next up:  my recent-ish 30-minute flight from pittsburgh to baltimore, also known as I Took Too Much Xanax & Held a (Kind) Stranger’s Hand. until then, please don’t choke on rosemary. or at least avoid it if you’re with me because you know my ass isn’t gonna know how the hell to save you and before i can do anything, i’ll have to google “heimlich maneuver” and you know i’ll spell it wrong.