The Canned Kind

In response to Mama Kat’s Thanksgiving-themed Weekly Writing Prompt – and to remind myself – I’m going to tell you what I’m thankful for this year.  Of course this will prove extremely helpful to you the next time someone stops you in the Kroger’s or Piggly Wiggly produce aisle and asks, “Say, do you happen to know what the fabulously talented proprietress of The Letter T is thankful for?”

One of the things I’m thankful for is that my immediate family and close friends survived Hurricane Sandy largely unscathed, albeit in the dark and without cable for cruel stretches of time. But a virtual moment of silence for everyone who was not as lucky. For the lives and livelihoods that were blown away in this freak superstorm.  And for the fallen icons of the Jersey Shore. The boardwalks of Seaside Heights (or as we called it, “Sleazeside”) and Point Pleasant were repulsively seedy and endlessly comforting at the same time. I never understood how that was possible, but somehow the tackiness and the grit were part of the appeal – along with the smells of greasy food and Hawaiian Tropic. Slightly creepy carousel music. Saltwater taffy.  Old school signs. Wife-beater tanks and giant gold crosses. Tattoos. Skee ball. Our roots. I am thankful I am from New Jersey.

Photo by Nicole Argento (fellow Jersey Girl) of Warrior Heart (www.warriorheartstudio.com) and Nomad-Chic (www.nomad-chic.com)

Things I am also thankful for:

  • Keith, Jan and Lew, Jamie, my cousins, and my family-in-law
  • Being able to spend Thanksgiving with the aforementioned peeps
  • Old friends and new friends, in MA, CT, NY, NJ, MD, TX and Germany (sniff sniff)
  • Ollie, Howie and Lulu
  • Our stuffed kids
  • Surviving that freak eye infection, only having to have corneal scrapings once, wearing contacts again and freedom from amoeba
  • Being able to live in New York
  • The fact that in New York, anyone can get married
  • Not having to live in Michigan
  • Little blue pills and little white pills
  • That Cavaricci’s are no longer in style
  • The flat-iron
  • Pinkberry
  • Peanut butter
  • The interweb and social media
  • Not having the interweb and social media in high school
  • My job, my co-workers and being allowed to wear jeans every day
  • The lack of Ebola on the North American continent … so far …
  • Snoopy, Charlie Brown and co.
  • Cookie Monster and Grover
  • Hydroquinine pads (sayonara, melasma!)
  • The expression “but other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”
  • The coffee cart man on 23rd between 5th and 6th (except when he runs out of half-and-half)
  • TV
  • Wine
  • My “Dr. Laura”
  • The kind of liquid eyeliner that comes in an easy-to-apply magic marker-type pen
  • The chance to meet John Taylor and realize a childhood dream
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Piperlime
  • Books
  • Hershey’s
  • Wite-Out pens and the NYT crossword puzzle
  • Slimy cranberry sauce that maintains the shape of the can it came in
  • The blogosphere

BIG FAT HAPPY THANKSGIVING, THREE PEOPLE WHO READ THIS BLOG!

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Aside

Just Say No

As you probably know from previous posts, I love and respect all god’s chocolate. I do not discriminate based on color (milk v. dark), nationality (Swiss v. American), name (Russell Stover v. Godiva) or point of origin (CVS/Walgreen’s v. Vosges/Maison du Chocolat).

But there is one place I draw the line: at the spice rack. I think I understand “Lost” better than I understand the concept of pairing chocolate with “seasonings” like chili pepper, saffron, cardamom, and rosemary.  There’s chocolate, and then there’s crap you buy at open-air bazaars on the streets of Morocco. And ya don’t mix ‘em. This is a policy to which I should have stuck earlier this week.

My coworker (let’s call him “Kyle”) came up to my desk and began unwrapping a very thin chocolate bar covered in delicate foil. He broke off three squares and handed them to me, which would have been a lovely gesture were it not for one teensy detail:  this was no ordinary chocolate. This was marmite chocolate. I’d seen “Kyle” post about a gift of marmite chocolate on Facebook, but I’d assumed he was kidding.  He wasn’t.

Now, marmite is something that I had previously never tried but somehow just knew was vile. Perhaps it was the word’s resemblance to both “varmint” (and subsequently “vomit”) as well as “termite.” Perhaps I’d been turned against it by Cousin Vegemite, made famous in New Jersey by Men at Work and “The Land Down Under.”   But I’d once been foie gras-averse too. Maybe marmite was worth trying?

Don't be fooled by its innocent exterior

I took the tiniest possible bite of the first square. What followed reminded me of Willy Wonka’s meal replacement gum – the one responsible for Violet Beauregarde’s demise-by-three-course meal.  Course One of this freakish chocolate was a strong, bitter taste reminiscent of espresso. That quickly morphed into a yeasty, raw bread dough sensation. Finally, I felt like I was eating a piece of very dark chocolate at the same time as a tablespoon of onion powder and a clove of minced garlic. And long after I’d swallowed, I continued to feel that way. I assure you: it is not a good feeling.

The marmite chocolate packaging told us we would find a “hint of marmite indulgence” inside. I am lead to believe that the manufacturer and I have different definitions of “indulgence.”

I think the British chef quoted in this article from the Daily Mail sums it up best when he describes the taste: “…deeply nauseating.”

Just Say No