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Author: Jamie

Things I Shouldn’t Have Had to Say to My Cat Today

Things I Shouldn’t Have Had to Say to My Cat Today

8/16/2019 Barley | “Get your face out of the bananas.” 8/17/2019 Barley | “Please don’t eat tape.” 8/18/2019 Barley | “Why are you like this?” 8/19/2019 Barley | “Stop blowing snot all over the porch slider!”

Home

Home

I hung all of our wall decorations this weekend. Family photos, framed dictionary pages, the print of the great white rearing back out of the sea in a hail of pepperoni pizza slices that Eric gave me [because he has exceptional taste]. I want everything […]

Lucy Huber

Lucy Huber

I just woke up at 4:30am to find that I’d pulled out a third of the lashes on my top right lid, again. I Googled [for maybe the millionth time], ‘why do my eyelashes hurt’, and I found an article in Greatist about trichotillomania, which I’ve been both mispronouncing and misspelling (trachtillomania) for my entire life, usually in front of doctors—unfortunate.

If I’d written the previous paragraph yesterday, I’d have looked up trichotillomania, found I’d been mispronouncing it FOREVER, felt ashamed, put off writing about it, then eventually wrote about it leaving out the spelling thing and this whole tirade about it, and still feeling ashamed. Today I didn’t, that’s what Lucy Huber did for me. Lucy Huber is a humor and personal essay writer who apparently suffers from some degree of social anxiety, loves cats, and food (probably not in that order)—same as me—and then she talks about it—I don’t do that.

I will have a funny thought, and then I’ll write it down, and then I’ll wait and if I still think it’s funny the next day, I’ll try to think of a story that I can work it into or maybe a new blog  (someday, once I have the perfect idea), and then that’s usually the end of that. The note stays in my phone and a few months/years later, when my phone storage is full, I’ll find it and still think it’s kind of funny, and I’ll feel ashamed that I didn’t do anything with it.

Or the bad thing will happen and I WILL write it down but be so afraid of offending someone, or feeling stupid, or losing my job, or my husband leaving me*, that when it’s finally down on paper, it’s been sanitized to the point that it sounds like an approval-seeking twelve-year-old wrote it—think obnoxious, lacking life experience, vapid, borderline-creepy socially awkward.

The reason it sounds that way is that I’m a bad writer and I’m worried that people will find out. Then, I’ll feel like my whole life is a sham because I so desperately want to be a good and real writer. That was hard to write and it will be harder to leave it on the internet without obsessing over it or deleting it.

I don’t know if Lucy Huber feels that way when she publishes something, even if it’s something that most people will never read. I do know that, if she does, it doesn’t seem to stop her from writing, and writing the way I’d be afraid to speak in front of most people.

I’m a bad writer but I’m not going to get better without feedback or by not writing. If this post sucks, that’s okay. If you want to tell me that it sucks, I can accept that and would actually appreciate it a little. If you had a shitty day and you want to cut someone down for a minute, go for it, we’ve all been there. I’m just going to be a writer, maybe a shitty writer, but working to get better.

Thanks, Lucy.

*He’s not, I asked him, at least twice.

PS- I had a toasted pita with avocado spread sprinkled with Trader Joe’s EBTB seasoning this morning. My husband’s suggestion—amazing.

Precision

Precision

Baking is about precision absent of stinginess. Allow enough butter for the bowl, molasses for the spoon, flour for your hands. As you work, keep in mind that there’s possibly nothing in the kitchen more beautiful than softened [vegan] butter mixed with sugar forming sandy […]

Dairy-Free Home

Dairy-Free Home

My husband, Eric, is a truly spectacular human. He’s kind, generous, thoughtful, intelligent, gorgeous, good at everything he does (so frustrating), and compassionate—he tends to want the best for people and animals, in general, always. I have to brag on his behalf for just a […]

Why I’m Not Vegan.

Why I’m Not Vegan.

I am not a vegan and I’ve been thinking about it a great deal lately. I love animals, I hate factory farming, I’m dairy free, so why not? Three reasons: eggs, oysters, and my husband.

Eggs

Chickens are believed to be resultant of the ancestral co-mingling of at least two species of Asian jungle fowl and were first domesticated around 8,000-10,000 years ago for cockfighting, food, and religious purposes. Chickens made their way into the Americas in the hands of European and Polynesian immigrants between 1200-1600(ish).

My point here is that chickens are like dogs— we domesticated them a long time ago and have been cross-bred them to the point that there’s really no place for them in the wild anymore. If we decide as global people that we want to stop breeding domestic chickens, I’m all for it. Let’s let modern day chickens live out their lives in peace, die easy deaths, and be done with it. Until that day comes, it is our responsibility to care for the chickens that we domesticated and those chickens are going to lay eggs.

To be clear, we are whole-heartedly against factory farming and we do not buy grocery store eggs. We get our eggs from reputable sources at local farmers markets or from friends that we know love their chickens and care for them accordingly. Chickens will lay eggs no matter what and, if they come from a known reputable source, I don’t see any harm in eating those eggs.

Oysters

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of sentience is being responsive to or conscious of sense impressions. I like this definition from Animals, Ethics, and Trade: The Challenge of Animal Sentience better, “Sentience is the ability to perceive one’s environment, and experience sensations such as pain and suffering, or pleasure and comfort. An animal that is sentient will have the ability to receive internal sensation and information from its environment, and then interpret this as an emotion.

In my opinion, oysters do not meet these criteria. They do have nervous systems and ganglia to interpret sensations but they do not have brains. They’re not making memories, engaging in cognitive thought, or feeling emotions like fear the way a cow, sheep, pig, chicken, or goat might—the way people do. I think it’s okay to eat oysters…and champagne.

My Husband

M husband is a patient, kind, thoughtful man who supports me whenever I express a goal or desire to him. He has my back and I have his. When I told him I couldn’t eat animals anymore, he was on board. When I told him I couldn’t do mass-produced grocery store eggs, he began buying local (sometimes considerably more expensive) eggs without complaint. When I said I was done with dairy, he switched to non-dairy creamer (Ripple is awesome), milk, and butter right along with me.

When I told my husband I didn’t think I could eat fish anymore, he took umbrage. He’s given up a lot. We used to get chicken wings together ever Sunday, roast a chicken once a week, eat bacon every Saturday morning, and enjoy the occasional VERY rare steak together. All he asks is that we be able to enjoy good sushi once in a while and sustainable, locally-caught fish (he even gave up salmon). You only live once and marriage is a partnership—sometimes, something has to give. Ergo, I eat fish sometimes.

That’s it. Agree with them or don’t but those are my reasons. If anyone would like to share their (polite) arguments or opinions with me, I’m open to them. I really do feel guilty for eating fish so if anyone has a good argument or alternative for that, I’d love to hear it.


Sources:

Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished

It’s 2019 and in late December, I decided that enough was enough. I was talking to my boss and she told me she’d finally made the choice to go dairy-free. She said, “If you think about it, dairy is gross.” YEAH, dairy is gross! I […]

Hurricane Florence & Spaghettios

Hurricane Florence & Spaghettios

Last week, I baked for the first time since we moved to the low country. I was feeling, centered, peaceful, good—FINALLY. Then, Charleston announced a mandatory evacuation due to the threat posed by hurricane Florence. We’re New Englanders, we can handle feet of snow and […]

Boxcar Betty and the Pimiento Cheese

Boxcar Betty and the Pimiento Cheese

The last couple of days in the low country have been tough. Yesterday, my insurance claims adjuster called it—my car is officially totaled. Today, our new veterinarian called to say that Tabitha, the feisty fat orange tabby that I’ve had since I was 14, is experiencing kidney failure. It was as I discussed potential treatment options for my girl that I wondered, what’s the third thing?, because bad things always come in threes, right?

I got my answer a few short hours later at dinner time. While out picking up Tabitha’s new medical regimen, my Amazingly Significant Other decided to pick up some southern cuisine from Boxcar Betty’s, an award-winning establishment specializing in fried chicken sandwiches. Since I’m a pescatarian, hubs thoughtfully selected the vegetarian option for me—a portobello mushroom top, stuffed with pimiento (pimento?) cheese, breaded, and fried to a crispy golden brown—fair enough. Nothing against Boxcar Betty, she seems like she knows her stuff, but pimiento cheese—what in the actual fuck?

I love cheese, I thought all cheese. Even the cheese that I’m not super enthusiastic about like pungent feta and sour gjetost, they’re not my favorites but I respected the process and history behind them. I’ve never come across a cheese I didn’t like…until today.

Pimiento cheese, for those of you who are blissfully unaware, is apparently a southern favorite. It’s a confluence of cheddar, cream cheese, pimientos, and mayonnaise mixed with varying spices. Basically, you take four perfectly good ingredients and you ruin them. I knew when we moved from New England that there would be an adjustment period and I’m not trying to knock southern cooking, the south has certainly done some interesting things with corn, to say the least, but pimiento cheese is dead to me.

If you’re feeling, I don’t know, self-loathing? Here is a classic pimiento cheese recipe from Taste of the South magazine—you’ve been warned, y’all.

 

PS—This is my gorgeous girl, please send her good thoughts <3

 

Low Country-Bound

Low Country-Bound

A week ago today, we officially (and unexpectedly) took up residence in Charleston, South Carolina. Just five short days after my Amazingly Significant Other became my husband, we packed up the car, cats, and made the 16+ hour trip to SC to pursue a new opportunity. I’m […]