It occurred to me yesterday, as I was baking muffins at 6:30 in the morning, that my children are exceedingly spoiled. I might go so far as to say that my husband is, as well. Of course, anyone who knows me would think that is probably a rich statement, coming from such a princess, but just because I am incredibly spoiled doesn’t preclude my family being so as well.

There is a difference, I think, in being spoiled and being a spoiled brat, and I will say that the latter is not the case. And, as one of my students said to me as I mentioned that my dog has become much more spoiled with age, that is on me. It’s true! It’s my fault. I don’t really think the kids are spoiled in terms of material things, not really, but they certainly are in terms of food. Hence, muffins at 6:30 in the morning, so that the kids will be able to have a delicious homemade snack when they get home from school.

Delicious homemade snacks and fresh fruit are my two must-have-at-all-time-items, which certainly explains why all my free time is spent grocery shopping and preparing food. I was just telling a friend that I have two refrigerators and one refrigerator-sized freezer, and all of those appliances are chock-full of food all the time. Doesn’t food go bad though? she asked, and no. Nothing goes bad in our house, ever, with the exception of the odd mini-cucumber. This is because we never go out to eat, and I make all our meals, and most things, from scratch.

Side note: whenever I say I make something from scratch, I think of my beloved late Grandma Fern, who used to say about cakes allegedly made from scratch, Scratch your ass and reach for the mix? Oh, Grandma. I was a little skeptical about Hedy’s spice cake at the church potluck too.

Anyway, I do make most things from scratch – no ass-scratching involved – and so now my family is so accustomed to homemade things that store-bought or restaurant items “taste weird.” This includes but is not limited to: ice cream, muffins, loaves, cookies, cakes, brownies, pasta sauce, and, strangely, hummus. It is a problem of my own making but sometimes I’d just like to buy a container of hummus from Costco without everyone wondering what’s wrong with this hummus, it tastes weird. 

ICE CREAM, you guys. A few years ago my husband bought me an ice cream maker, after we were at a dinner party at which the hostess served her own homemade ice cream. One thing led to another and now I have no fewer than three flavours of homemade ice cream in the freezer at any given time. And I don’t even eat ice cream! But I digress.

I am not one to talk, though, as I recently discovered my own “it tastes weird” scenario and that is store-bought cilantro. A few years ago, as a Valentine’s gift, my husband bought me my own indoor grow lights so I can grow HERBS NOT THAT KIND OF HERBS ACTUAL FOOD HERBSI almost exclusively grow cilantro because a) it’s easy to grow and b) no one else in my house will eat cilantro, and I hated how quickly a bunch would go bad in my refrigerator. The only thing I will accept going bad is the single mini-cucumber every two weeks. So, for the past few years I’ve grown my own cilantro, loving how I can just easily harvest the exact amount I need when I need it.

Over the summer, though, we were out of town and so I took a cilantro-planting break. I didn’t feel I’d be around enough to give my little plants love, and also I am deathly afraid of fire and wouldn’t want to leave the grow lights on lest a cilantro plant weave its way into the fluorescent lights, dry out, and suddenly burst into flames, eventually leaving the house to be a smoking hole in the ground while we were off on vacation.

My two greatest fears in life are, in this order, my husband and/or children being diagnosed with a terminal illness, and fire. I cannot even contemplate having little scented candles in the house, I will never run the dryer if I’m going to step out of the house for even five minutes, and I look nervously at the allegedly harmless little tea lights that are lit in the yoga studio. What if someone knocks it over, and the whole studio goes up in flames? I think, extremely irrationally, given that the tea light would most likely just extinguish itself before such a scenario would ever happen. I even was anxious during Christmas Eve candlelight services, although that fear I think has much more basis. I mean, some of those little kids holding actual flames? What if one of them set my hair on fire? I would think, as a teenager. Given the fact that it was the eighties, and I went through a bottle of Salon Selectives a week, this was a pretty rational fear.

When I was a kid my maternal grandparents had a lamp that rotated, and when it was lit, it looked like a forest fire. A forest fire! God help me. No wonder I’m so crazy. I was obsessed with looking at the forest fire lamp, which probably explains a lot.

Anyway! Enough about fire. Back to the cilantro story. When we returned from vacation, I replanted some seeds, but in the interim, as I waited for them to sprout their little green deliciousness, I needed my favourite stir-fry garnish and so purchased a bunch from the local Co-Op.

People. I thought I had actually bought the wrong herb. It tasted…weird. Is this parsley? Or what? I thought, then looked at the little labeled twist tie. No. It’s cilantro. It tasted weird and off and I thought it must be the bunch. I threw it out – breaking my own rules – and bought another bunch at Superstore. I looked carefully – yes, it definitely is cilantro – and when I got it home it was the same thing. I have spoiled MYSELF for regular cilantro. After growing my own I cannot go back to conventionally grown cilantro. I can’t. I won’t. No wonder my kids look askance at bakery goods and regular ice cream. IT ALL TASTES WEIRD.


  1. Several thoughts:
    1. BLESS you. My goodness. Spoiled indeed and I would like to move right in thank you very much.
    2. I need to hear more about the cilantro thing. Easy to grow??? Whenever I try, I wind up with one spindly, overlong stalk that maybe eventually coaxes a single leaf into being. And then promptly dies. But I LOVE cilantro and the bunches that my grocery store sells are ENORMOUS and I don’t have enough cilantro-based recipes to use a whole bunch. Ever. So. A tutorial perhaps? Or — because cilantro is so divisive a topic — perhaps a link to your grow light and brand of seeds?
    3. I was at a wedding recently where the guests all got sparklers and held them aloft so the newly wed couple could trot through a canopy of fire. I’m guessing it would have seemed like a MUCH worse idea had I had fewer glasses of champagne.

  2. I like to grow herbs, too, for the same reasons you mention. This year I had ten kinds in pots (nine still going), but the four I always have are basil, chives, cilantro, & flat-leaf parsley. I always miss them in the winter, so this grow-light idea is intriguing.

  3. bibliomama2 says

    I love that you have a cilantro grow op! I can’t grow cilantro – I’ve tried multiple times and it always goes to seed immediately. I’m okay with store-bought, though, and I freeze whatever’s left for black bean sauté. And yes, the hairsprayed-to-death-do going up in flames was a completely rational fear. I let Eve burn candles because she’s ultra-responsible, but I wet matches before throwing them out. That crock pot thing on This Is Us probably ruined crock pots for millions of Americans.

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