To Whom it May Concern

Before I get into the meat of this post, it has just been brought to my attention that Chef Spike Mendelsohn, Douchey McHatterson himself, will be shilling for acid reflex meds.

A few reactions:

  • I want to know just how long he has been hiding his battle with acid reflux so I can become appropriately outraged.
  • He is apparently advocating the use of low-fat cheese and turkey bacon, so you can’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth. Is he even really a chef?
  • I would be perfectly willing to shill for Paxil or Depakote for the right price.* “Paxil: Calming Your Anxiety So You Can Spew Obscenities on the Internet Since 1992.”** I would also happily endorse Advil, which keeps me from digging my uterus out with a spoon on a monthly basis.

*Note: The right price could be measured in dollars, but I’m also open to a lifetime supply of tacos. You’re on notice, GlaxoSmithKline.

**All the more impressive, given that the commercialization of the internet is generally agreed to date from 1995. Whatever, I’m sure sites like this are totally what the creators of ARPANET had in mind. Thanks, Al Gore!


With that public service announcement out of the way, we move on to this chilled cucumber-yogurt soup with candied fennel and lemon gelée, a Michael Psilakis recipe published in Harvest to Heat.

I’ve had a bit of a trying day, and nothing is as comforting after a day of feeling like shit than a hearty bowl of cold cucumber soup with lemon gelée, am I right or am I right? The thin body, the pops of salty sourness, the chill – it’s truly restorative, so much so that I had to sear up a two-inch-thick piece of prime ribeye to serve as a second course and was later forced to eat some Haagen Dazs chocolate-peanut butter ice cream. You know, to tone things down.


I have a strict no-talking-about-work-on-the-blog policy, but feel fine telling you that I’m selectively looking for new opportunities, opportunities that may be more in line with my career dream of being paid to spew obscenities on the internet. (Or, more realistically, to spew non-obscenities in support of a non-profit that really speaks to me.) I had an interview Monday for one such opportunity (the non-profit one, not the obscenity one) that I thought would be an amazing fit for me, and found out today that they’d gone with someone else.

On one hand, YOUR LOSS, organization that shall remain unnamed. NEVER WILL MY HIGH-QUALITY BAKED GOODS GRACE YOUR OFFICE GATHERINGS.

On the other hand, GODDAMMIT.


Because I’m looking for more creative, writerly-type jobs, the rejections sting in a pretty personal place* that leaves me feeling like a giant sham and takes me to a mental black hole where I think it is reasonable to suspect that every one of you is really just my mother-in-law and sister leaving comments under assumed names by traveling around the world to visit and post from different IP addresses. Possibly a nephew is in on it too, to distribute the workload.

In addition, three rejections in a row have come after interviews, which is forcing me to self-asses to determine whether I:

  • Have developed a subtle nervous tic that causes me to give my interviewers the finger.
  • Eat so much garlic that it ACTUALLY come out through my pores.
  • Think I am speaking sense, but am actually coming across like Hal from Infinite Jest.
  • Always have a booger hanging out of my nose.
  • Have some other yet-to-be discovered infirmity.

Not that I’m giving up or anything. But I reserve the right to 4-6 hours of pity wallowing following each rejection, along with a nice dinner out every few weeks. Friday: The Modern at MoMA, where I will eat the holy hell out of some Long Island duck breast with peppercorn-crusted apples and pistachio-truffle dipping sauce.

*I mean, emotionally. Not in my lady parts or anything.


Okay, so maybe a chilled soup was not exactly what I needed tonight, but there is no denying that this is an excellent specimen. The three components were each simple to make; the gelée is little more than fresh lemon juice and gelatin sprinkled with coriander; the fennel gets candied in a simple syrup infused with fennel seeds and black pepperdown; and the soup is a simple puree of cucumber, mint, parsley and dill with a bit of olive oil and goat’s milk yogurt whisked in.

The resulting soup, once strained, was pretty thin, and I admit that I didn’t have high hopes for it; cucumber water is meant for cocktails, and salty lemon Jell-O probably shouldn’t even be A Thing.

And yet! It was wonderful. Light and refreshing, with a lovely balance of sour, sweet and salty. Brian was enamored as well; something I hadn’t expected. I’m not sure it’s quite on par with the honeydew gazpacho, but it’s up there.

In closing, please contact me for all your communications needs at michelle at thursdaynightsmackdown dot com. I specialize in left-wing rants and strongly worded letters about poor customer service, and offer special consultation services on proper deployment of the f-bomb.

12 thoughts on “To Whom it May Concern

  1. oh man- rejections= the worst, especially when they hit you in the personal place. and while i’m sure your family is really nice, i’m just a stranger in atl who loves some food, and loves your funny writing about food. enjoy the moma today.

  2. Rejection sucks. Out loud. Moreso because you know you’re going right back out and trying again. Take heart — the right spot is out there for you, even if you have to kill someone to create a vacancy in it.

    I have a fennel bulb in the fridge right now I’ve been wondering what to do with, as I have never cooked one before. I believe I shall candy it.

  3. I dunno what those people rejecting you are on. Your writing makes me laugh so hard I spew coffee all over my keyboard, and induces raised eyebrows from my colleagues.

  4. rejection sucks. Yes it does. When I got laid off last year I saw it as the opportunity to kick the lame industry that pays the bills but brings me no joy to the curb and find something that I really wanted to do. I didn’t get a single offer from the cool jobs I wanted that would use my real tallents rather than just my competancies, but did get a decent one from the joyless industry that pays the bills. So I am back… For now. But yeah, I get it, it hurts in a different way than normal rejection.

    Fingers crossed for you. You will find the office that truly appreciates your baked goods and writing abilities.

  5. Michelle honey, It is a proven fact that companies who are so stupid as to reject a majorly talented and funny person like you are also too stupid to really value and appreciate you for your awesome uniqueness. So, they really did you a favor by giving you a heads up on how much it would really suck to work there. I swear on the head of my first born child that there is a company out there that will hire you and value you as you should be valued. So, don’t give up. And you are allowed as many “poor baby” dinners out as it takes. I’m just sayin’.

  6. rejection sucks. i’ve been working a stupid grocery store job for three years out of fear of more rejection. i hope your job plans work out quickly for you.

  7. As I count down my days left still employed (14 and counting), I believe I must think of ways to sabotage you as we seem to be looking for the same type of job. I don’t know whose disadvantage it is that I use fewer cuss words than you.

  8. If your mother-in-law leaves nice comments for you, then at least you’re better off than those of us with snarky mothers-in-law (don’t know about sisters). And whatever career path you do follow, please leave enough time to continue writing here. This is one of the only places that makes me laugh out loud and, to my husband’s chagrin, read your posts out loud to everyone who will listen. Loved the honeydew gazpacho (especially how it looks so cool and innocuous yet packs so much heat) and will give this one a try when it gets a little warmer here.

  9. @randy, it made sense. mostly. and yet I put it down after 100 pages or so. i’m going to try again, tho.

    @kayb, i’m not a huge fennel person, but the candied version is pretty darn tasty.

    @beth, yeah, that’s kind of where i’m at. i’ve got a few more months of looking for the dream in me.

    @junecutie, it’s actually a kick-ass organization and i have no doubt that it would have been incredible to work with. i also have no doubt they hired someone amazing. just wish it had been me!

    @rachel, hmm. i wonder if there’s some way we could team up.

    @marjorie, that’s a non-negotiable point! any future job must leave adequate time for TNS upkeep.

  10. Another stranger here from Canada who laughs more reading this blog than … Well I just laugh more and reallly look forward to the posts…

    So try for a book deal, or maybe a weekly paid columnist.. Frankly I would pay a susbscription to read your musings, both the profane and the recipes.

  11. @scott, would that it were that easy! although i do want to shoot for a book.

    and i can guarantee that TNS will always remain 100% free. if i charged you, i might actually have to be accountable for what i write!

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