Take Only As Directed

Somehow I gave the manager where I work the impression that I am capable of running a small kitchen. I don’t know how I mislead him, but while I was away last winter, I was offered the chef/kitchen manager position for the summer.

The proposition sounded very doable when I exchanged emails with the restaurant manager last winter from the comfort of a beach chair parked in the warm southwestern sun, but when I took over the kitchen in late April, I soon realized that I was in for a wild ride.

I am about seven weeks into this odyssey, and things have gotten much smoother than when I first began. In the beginning, after working a nine and a half hour day, I would fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and dream in an anxious loop of scorched lentils and broken plates.

My workdays are long. When I get home, I am a fetching bundle of nervous energy and exhaustion, covered in a scrim of bleach, curry powder and olive oil. This abrupt re-entry into the working world after a three and a half month cross-country trip has caused some not-so-positive changes in my personality.

I work in a health food cooperative, which makes me one of the luckiest people I know. Cooking good food for people with all the beautiful ingredients that we sell is a blessing and a privilege.

As a venerable health food cooperative that has been in existence since 1973, we are all about the power of positive thinking and positive action; we are also all about simple solutions to common medical and spiritual problems.

There is a lot of positivity and yoga and wheat grass surrounding me on a daily basis. Sometimes I just want to eat a stick of butter and wash it down with a frosty glass of gluten because I am exhausted and weak. Yet, I work in a place that prides itself on offering its customers positive alternatives to the medical industrial complex, as well as offering them support, education and encouragement. On my better days, I try to be a generous cook who has time to help a customer concoct a gluten-free dog food recipe from the items in our bulk bins. And on my worse days, I am a black-hearted health food store infidel.

Two weeks ago I was confronted with a case of nosy mischief so profound that my mind reeled. How is it possible, I wondered to myself, for another person to be so concerned with my business? There was no explaining it. Like the early humans trying to understand the mysteries of the cosmos, I pondered the perpetrator’s meddlesome nature and could only shake my head.

I reflected on how angry I felt, and then sternly reminded myself that it was important to not dwell on my anger. Instead I tried to think about creating positive energy and finding forgiveness within myself.

Perseverating endlessly on the meddling perpetrator and her mischief, I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if one could suppress the incredibly annoying personality traits that we face in ourselves, and others with herbal remedies? A practical joke that would send a gentle message to my tormentor, while giving me a sweet feeling of justice suddenly took shape in my mind.

It occurred to me that The Meddler could benefit from a healing herbal tonic.

Shedding my intense annoyance like a heavy cloak, I surveyed our garden to find an herb that could be presented to The Meddler as a gift. Finding nothing, I paid a visit to my spice kit and settled upon Asafoetida, an odoriferous herbal concoction used in Indian cooking. Scooping a small quantity of the foetid brown powder into Ziplock that I had labeled “Meddlewort”, I thought only of how the herb would help The Meddler to be less of a pain in the ass, and how some day, she would thank me.

“Meddlwort is used therapeutically to support the minding of one’s own business, while inhibiting gratuitous meddling. Take as a suppository “ said the accompanying label.

Another herb I am experimenting with is Bitch Bane. Since I took this job, I have noticed myself becoming more and more of a bitch. My inner dialogue is rife with F-bombs and sometimes dishes have been set down a little harder than is really necessary. I have noticed a loss of forbearance toward others, and an over arching feeling of crankiness and resentment. Despite my best efforts to not be a bitch, I can feel myself becoming one.

Bitch Bane only works with food. In the past, I have tried ingesting the herb as a tea and it has not worked well for me, but when sprinkled on actual food, Bitch Bane works brilliantly. If taken with food, Bitch Bane goes to work immediately to quell the senseless rage and misdirected hatred that often goes hand in glove with not having eaten for eight hours.

Of course, no pharmacopeia is complete without Brain Be Gone. I find that Brain Be Gone works best on those days when relaxing and having fun is logistically possible, but mentally untenable. With Brain Be Gone, the inner voices that yammer ceaselessly about unfolded laundry are instantly silenced and replaced by a feeling of relaxation. Brain Be Gone works best with everything except responsibility.

For those suffering from Cachexia (failure to thrive), I recommend Purejoy, a product made from living yeast, flour, salt and water that is allowed to ferment before being annealed in a hot oven. For best results, Purejoy should be consumed warm, with butter (Fatassia) and/or jam. Ask your health guru if Purejoy is right for you. Imagined maladies may occur with the consumption of Purejoy.

These remedies are often complimentary, meaning they can be ingested together without fear of adverse reactions. For example, Meddlewort “takes the edge off” when you are feeling burdened by someone else’s business, and can be safely combined with Bitch Bane to create a feeling of confidence in others and comfort within your own skin. Additionally, Brain Be Gone can be added, with a small dose of Purejoy to create a feeling of profound positivity.

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  1. Kathy says:

    Bitch bane sounds wonderful! Where can I get some? I think you’re onto something, thanks for my laugh of the day!

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