mimi smartypants
Seriously, though: what's with the penguins?

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Someone practically begged me to explain a throwaway sentence from a few entries ago, where I promised/threatened to explain why vegans are terrible at measuring things. If cooking bores you, bail now. I will be wearing a virtual apron for the next few paragraphs, as well as attempting to bitch about food blogs without naming names. (I consider that unsportsmanlike conduct.)

A very long time ago, I had an amazing vegetarian “meatloaf” (should I call it “deceit-loaf”? “Shamloaf” sounds weird) for Sunday pub lunch in Surrey, England. Since then I have been on-and-off obsessed with making one myself. I’ve tried several loaf-like recipes: this one is okay (I don’t really fuck with the flax seed, and I have been known to stick in Parmesan instead of nutritional yeast), this one was kind of crumbly and eh, and then there was the one that shall not be named, although I really need to go leave a (polite) blog comment on the page because it was such an epic fail in some basic ways.

First, the recipe made enough goop for a billion vegan meatloaves. It was like Jesus feeding the multitudes with loaves made of lentils and oats and no fishes anywhere. The mixture did not fit in my largest bread-baking bowl and I really should have known something was up once I had cooked THREE cups of lentils, added 2 cups of oats, 2 cups of walnuts, and a pound of thawed frozen vegetables, and miscellaneous other seasonings and things. That is a lot of STUFF.

In the comments of the can’t-measure-for-shit vegan blog, someone had even asked, “Does this just make one loaf?” and the author answered, “Yes, one loaf!” I don’t know what size loaf pans you have on Planet Vegan, but here on Earth there is no way. I smashed as much in as I could but still ended up putting a bunch of it down the sink, and I did not feel guilty because (a) I was pretty dubious about the single loaf even before it went into the oven, and (b) that was about sixty cents worth of lentils and oats, most likely. I know there are hungry people in the world but I do not know if they would appreciate this loaf. It was not good. My family was kind about it, even Nora, and I hustled to make sure-fire side dishes that we all enjoy (buttered orzo and roasted Brussels sprouts), but yuck.

If you have a palatable faux-loaf recipe, you can send it to me. Bonus points if it’s not vegan. I have nothing against eating vegan but I also have a sneaking suspicion that a vegetarian meatloaf could be greatly helped by an egg or a handful of cheese. It might help mitigate the sadness and overwhelming lentil-ness of said loaf. And it might also make us feel less like we are trapped in some dreary 1970s cookbook world, mashing up mung beans under our hanging macramé plant holders.

As long as I am crowdsourcing, does anyone else think I should worry about how I no longer seem to be able to fall asleep without my tiny little Ativan dose? It is hardly Trainspotting over here, but I will make a obsessive and fretful list anyway. (Go with your strengths!)


1. I never take it in the daytime—any daytime anxiety seems to be handily managed by giving myself a stern talking-to.

2. I have never upped the dose. One 0.5-mg pill shuts up my brain and worries enough so I can read until I get sleepy, and then sleep.

3. Besides being a prescription substance, not that different from folks who “have” to take Benadryl or melatonin or chamomile tea, right?


1. See above: prevailing attitude toward mama’s little helpers, particularly in my bootstrappy organic-foods self-actualizing social circle.

2. (Side note: how did my friends get like this, anyway? This is the same social circle that 20 years ago was debating whether it was a “waste” to take a second tab of acid if you’ve already had 3 beers.)

3. I somewhat dislike the feeling of “having” to take a drug in order to achieve a normal bodily process like sleep. And it may be becoming a circlejerk of anxiety*—I am worried about getting so worried that I won’t be able to sleep, the drugs preempt that worry, etc.)

*Least fun circlejerk in history! And it takes forever. No one can relax enough to actually enjoy their handjobs.

(Nighttime sex doesn’t help me, by the way. LT will be naked and in dreamland afterwards and I will be climbing the walls and eventually reaching for the pill bottle. I enjoy his penis very much but apparently it is stimulating, not soothing.)

(Oh and I’m hardly drinking these days, so no one has to worry about me doing some kind of Edie Sedgwick thing.)


TiVo suggested I record something called “Drug Kingpin Hippos,” and how could I say no. Before it actually got recorded I liked picturing hippos wearing fat gold chains and sunglasses, lounging around in smoky black rooms, playing poker surrounded by stacks of cash. HIPPOS GOT MONEY/MONEY THEY GOT/HIPPOS RUN NEW YORK. But LT and I watched it last night and it was actually about a Drug Kingpin’s Hippos, not Drug-Kingpin Hippos. Pablo Escobar apparently bought a bunch of exotic animals back when he was alive and rolling in cocaine cash, and all the animals have since been relocated except for the hippos. The hippos have multiplied (ohhhhhh yeah, hippo sex, hippos gonna freak you real slow, doin’ it hippostyle) and now there are hippos everywhere and Colombia is like “whoa fuck, too many hippos.” One big male hippo in particular took himself downriver and apparently is menacing innocent villagefolk and looking for a lady hippo, so the slightly-insane plan was to capture this hippo, dart it, castrate it, and airlift it back to Escobar’s old ranch, which is now a wildlife park. What you doin’ today, Oscar? Sedatin’, castratin’, and transportatin’ a hippopotamus, dawg. Ain’t no thang.

1. This stupid show couldn’t decide if it was about Pablo Escobar or a Colombian hippo problem. There was about twice as much archival footage of seized cocaine and cartel members riding around on dirtbikes, and I was continually fast-forwarding and saying GODDAMMIT, MORE HIPPOS.

2. What exactly is Colombia’s problem with having hippos? So what, you have a lot of hippos in your rivers. Charge people money to come look at them, teach your little kids to stay the fuck away, and be proud of your hippo plentitude. Africa has twice as many hippos that kill about 200 people a year, and you don’t hear them complaining. (Well, hippo victims can’t exactly complain. I meant that you don’t hear people who live in hippo-rich African countries going OH NO HELP WE HAVE SO MANY HIPPOS.)

3. Plus: baby hippos are SO CUTE. Make more! More hippos!

4. Okay, so when the show FINALLY got around to the big hippo tranquilizing scene, it took the veterinarians about six tries to get the darts to actually pierce the hippo skin. And get this, each time they missed someone had to wade into the swamp, avoid the charge of an (understandably) pissed-off hippo, and retrieve the unused tranquilizer dart, because the team had not brought enough of them. Really, Colombia? This is how you plan for a hippo castration? I am not impressed.

5. During all of this, the Colombian army stood around with machine guns over their shoulders, thinking, “Damn, this is the weirdest day ever.”

6. Once the hippo was finally unconscious, the vets got in there to take out its testicles and sew up the wound. Then the team used an earthmover to sort of shovel the hippo into a cage, which was airlifted (quite precariously) by an army helicopter.

7. Poor hippo.

8. Hippopotamus means “river horse” in Greek, but you already knew that. A hippo looks nothing like a horse, but the Greeks were kind of weird.

9. Like for instance Herodotus, who knew a guy who knew a guy who told him that there were big furry ants in India who dug up gold from the sand. Uh, okay dude. Herodotus is the ancient equivalent of that guy who refuses to check things on Snopes.

10. No word on what the Colombians did with the hippo testicles. (Ebay?)

—mimi smartypants, all alone, calls two hippos on the phone.