Thursday Night Smackdown: I'm sorry, I just can't tonight.

I know this blog is supposed to be about food, but I really don’t think I can do it tonight. And I thought it might help to tell you why. I’m a little worried about myself. Maybe a lot worried.

I’ve struggled with mental health issues ever since I was a little kid. About 6 or 7 years ago, they got severe enough that I finally realized that they were mental health issues, and I had to get some help. And even though I have help, sometimes it still feels like a constant struggle. I’m incredibly, unbelievably jealous of the people who go to a psychiatrist, get a diagnosis, and find relief in the first med they try. That is not me, oh, how it is not me.

It’s been a rough week here at the TNS house; we discovered that we’re in a financial hole neither one of us was prepared for, and that means no trip to Italy and at least another year, if not more, before I can see my family again (and it’s already been three), in addition to having to dig out of the financial hole. I’ve been trying to keep a stiff upper lip, but I just can’t do it. I’m anxious pretty much all day. I cry off and on. I haven’t really eaten anything in two days

Maybe there’s nothing to be scared about, maybe this is a natural reaction to the week’s whirlwind of shit. But when you’ve been struggling with mental illness, you lose perspective and a basis for comparison. It’s hard to tell genuine tears from depression, or normal worry from anxiety. I’m bipolar, and it’s been years since I’ve had stable moods. Right now, I can’t tell what I’m dealing with, and the idea that I might have to fight through yet another relapse is, frankly, terrifying and overwhelming.

So I’m scared. I’m scared that this is a relapse. I’m scared that I will never be able to find a med(s) that will work for me. I’m scared that with this new financial situation I won’t be able to afford my psychiatrist. I’m scared that I can’t make myself cook tonight, that I’m not excited to do something I love to do. I’m scared and tired of the constant struggle, and I’m scared of how it will end. I’m scared of never having a normal life. I mean, I’m not excited about making the blintz casserole that was supposed to be tonight’s comforting smackdown meal. A BLINTZ CASSEROLE, PEOPLE. WHY AM I NOT EXCITED?

I could really use my mom and dad right now, but I can’t have that. But I have Brian, and I have you guys, so there you go. Both of you are forced to listen to me.

Hopefully, this is just me being really, really sad about what happened this week, with a hefty dash of hormones thrown in for good measure. But I just felt like you should know what’s going on. I’m worried.

Continue reading

Cheap Ass Mondays: Italian Beach Pasta

I accidentally took all of these pictures with my camera set on “foliage.” Sorry.

Tonight’s dinner is a total throwback to my childhood, and has not been modified in any way from the way my mom used to make it. It’s an odd dish, I don’t really know its origins and I don’t really expect anyone to believe that it’s good, but it’s cheap, easy, tasty and makes fantastic leftovers.

May I present to you: spaghetti pie. Yes, spaghetti pie, that’s what I said. Spaghetti + Pie. Spaghetti pie.

Continue reading

Thursday Night Smackdown: The Horror, Y'all. The Horror.


Lock your doors, pull down the window shades and turn off the lights: Paula Deen & Friends are Living It Up, Southern Style with “Chicken Divan” and you DO NOT want to be there when it happens. I was there and I will never be the same. MAY YOU ALL LEARN FROM MY MARTYRDOM ON THE ALTAR OF BEST DISHES.

Somewhere, Edna Lewis is rolling in her grave with such force that the Chinese should be warned that her corpse may suddenly shoot out of the ground like a horrified torpedo, her mouth open in a soundless scream.

Continue reading

Pluot Pluot, Fizz Fizz

What a relief it is, mothafuckas.

So I mosey into Pathmark the other night looking for bargain basement, just-about-to-turn plums to make some sorbet, bag up a couple pounds of soft, deep crimson beauties and bring ’em home only to discover that they’re not plums and I should pay more attention to labels. They’re pluots, a plum-apricot hybrid. Frig. I really wanted plums.

I bite into one to get a sense of the flavor, and I gotta tell you: pluots are a SHAM. I know a plum when I taste a damn plum, and these? Are freaking plums. But I can’t be too pissed at the pluots, because I’d wanted plums anyway. Serendipity!

Continue reading

Cheap Ass Monday: Cheap As Free

I am BACK. A gaping wound IS NOT ENOUGH TO STOP ME.

I’ve never had a cut deep enough that it healed from the inside out before; even though it’s clearly knitting together underneath and is no longer seeping, it still looks like I have an open gash in my hand. Grody.


Aside from a side salad this meal should be practically free, because all the ingredients should already be present in your well-stocked pantry.* Plus, it makes so many leftovers that the cost per meal is probably, like, $0.17. (I haven’t done the math yet, but I’m sure that’s pretty accurate). For this next installment of bean-based cheapass meals I bring you smoky chickpea stew over polenta fries, starring the official spice of Winter 2008** and continued TNS favorite, smoked paprika.

*Okay, fine, you had to buy them at some point for them to be in your pantry. Don’t be such a stickler; this is why you never have any fun.

**I declared this several times in comments around the foodblogosphere, so I assume it’s become common knowledge at this point.

Continue reading