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Like A Baby

I consider myself a pretty grown-up person.  I pay taxes.  I drink herbal tea.  I just bought an anti-aging cream that promises to reverse the space-time continuum of my face.

That said, this weekend was a little touch and go in the maturity department.

On Friday night, I dropped Scott’s fancy camera in the driveway.

The screen cracked and went blank, and then I cried.   In the immortal words of Tina Fey, “I cried like a three year old who just wants to take her toy cash register into the bathtub.” 

I had a strong urge to lie down in the driveway and sob.  On a scale from 1 to 10–where 10 is an attractive life partner and 1 is an emotionally unstable woman kicking her feet in the air like an overturned lobster– I was about a 2.

Scott dragged me into the house–either because he loves me or because he didn’t want me to wake the neighbors–and we ordered a replacement part for $19.  Nineteen dollars!  That’s about one kidney less than the cost I was expecting, you guys.  I ran around the house whooping and hollering for joy.

Then I slathered my eyes with anti-aging cream, had a cup of herbal tea, and went to bed.

I slept like a baby.

The irony of this does not escape me.

fennel salad

The next day, I made this simple fennel salad.  It tastes fresh and sophisticated.  Very grown-up.  If you haven’t had fennel before, it’s crunchy and slightly–just slightly–sweet.  It’s has loads of Vitamin C in it.  Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals or whatever.

Try tossing the fennel with grapes and Pecorino.  The original recipe calls for toasted almonds, and those are fine–but if you like grapes and Pecorino, don’t miss the chance to pair them up here.  The saltiness and dryness of the shaved cheese is awesome with the sweet juiciness of the split grapes.

Fennel Salad with Mint, Grapes and Pecorino {Download & Print Recipe}
adapted from a recipe in Fine Cooking magazine


2 large bulbs of fennel

2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 c. fresh mint leaves

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. salt

and one or more of the following:

a handful or two of grapes (optional)

a small block of Pecorino Romano for shaving on top (optional)

1/3 c. sliced almonds (optional)


Cut the fronds off the fennel.  Rinse the bulb and remove any dirty outer layers.  Remove the round core from the bottom of the bulb.  If you have a mandoline, cut the fennel in half lengthwise and shave across the fennel.  If you don’t have a mandoline, cut the fennel into quarters.  Use a vegetable peeler or a sharp chef’s knife (a big knife) to shave the fennel into thin slices.

Transfer the fennel to a medium bowl with a measuring cup.  If you have about 4 cups fennel, add 2 Tbsp. lemon juice to the fennel.  If you have about 6 cups fennel, add a little more lemon juice (up to 3 Tbsp.)  Add the salt and toss.  Let the fennel sit on the counter for 10 minutes.

Rip the mint into pieces with your hands and add to the fennel.  Add the olive oil and toss.  If adding grapes, cut them in half crosswise.  If adding sliced almonds, toast them over medium heat or in a toaster oven first.  Shave in pieces of Pecorino Romano, if using, and a dash or two of pepper.  Toss.  Taste and adjust salt/pepper/lemon/oil, etc. as desired.  Serve.


thunder in a ball Thoroughly exhausted by my antics, Thunder curls up into a ball and takes a nap.

46 Comments Post a comment
  1. I used that EXACT Tina Fey quote among friends once!!! I got a lot of strange looks, and then had to try to translate it into Swedish. It just sounds weird in Swedish.

    Basically, I can relate.

    February 11, 2013
    • That’s hilarious. How about the part where she responds to a guy who calls her a bitchy troll and she says: “I hate for our correspondence to be confrontational, but you have offended me deeply. To say I’m an overrated troll, when you have never even seen me guard a bridge, is patently unfair.”

      February 11, 2013
      • I love Tina Fey and I adored her book! That was just one of the lines that made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the reminder and another good laugh.

        February 12, 2013
  2. oh no, dropping a camera is such a traumatic experience – I have done it a couple of times myself, and I may have cried too! What a relief the repair was so reasonable, and fennel salad sounds delicious despite being so grown up!

    February 11, 2013
    • Ah, so you know how it is! I have now sworn to myself that I will always put the camera in its case, like I did at the beginning before I got lazy–as if it’s so annoying to quickly put it in a case! I’m hopeless.

      February 11, 2013
  3. I’m gunna make that salad and eat it with my baby finger sticking up in the air. IT’S THAT SOPHISTICATED.

    P.S. I cry, drool and have snot drippin’ outta my nose most days. I’ve decided that 2.0 likes it. Let’s assume The Robot is no different.

    February 11, 2013
    • I’m SURE 2.0 likes it.
      Especially if you have your bite guard in while all this is happening.

      February 11, 2013
  4. Amy #

    Haha, omg. If I dropped Nate’s camera, I’d just put it back in the case on his desk and pretend nothing happened…and when he noticed the cracked screen I’d blame it on the cat. She has a habit of knocking things off the desk.

    Fennel + fruit in salad is one of the most refreshing things, and this combo sounds amazing! In the summer I like to make a fennel+fresh strawberries+blue cheese salad with a raspberry vinaigrette. I could eat it every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of it.

    February 11, 2013
    • That salad sounds amazing. And yes–had Scott not been standing RIGHT THERE when I dropped the camera, I probably would have blamed it on Seymour. Seymour chews on everything. Hats, paper products, sheets, leashes etc. I can guarantee you he’s considered eating the camera but that before he’s executed his plan, he’s gotten distracted by something shiny in the other side of the room.

      February 11, 2013
  5. Oh, and also! My brother SCREAMS at us if we hold our cameras in our hands. They MUST be secured with a neck strap. Always. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS. Because neck straps prevent camera drops. He gets extremely pissy about it. What if you’re holding the camera in your hands and someone startles you? Or your slip? Or you sneeze/choke/cough? Or a wolf chases you? YOU CAN’T DROP YOUR CAMERA IF YOU ARE UTILIZING YOUR NECK STRAP. He lectures, paces and does a lot of finger wagging and shoulder shrugging. On the plus side: I believe there has never been a dropped camera in the Beaucoup family.

    Just a lot of shattered nerves.

    February 11, 2013
    • I hope you’ve pointed out to him that if a wolf is chasing you, you should throw the camera at the wolf in self defense. And if the camera strap is around your neck, it’s going to be harder to do that. And while you’re running with the camera around your neck, the strap could get caught on some branches or something, which would increase your chances of getting eaten by a wolf. You actually have first-hand experience of this, don’t you? When you and Rosie Beaucoup and 2.0 ran away from the-bear-that-was-not-a-rabbit, you were only able to run fast because you didn’t have a big hulking camera around your neck, right?

      I don’t know why your brother would say these things. Maybe wolves are slower runners in France or something.

      February 11, 2013
  6. Sue Ellen Fitzgerald #

    Good on the low cost camera repair !!! Your fennel salad looks so refreshing….and Miss Thunder looks like she to will be refreshed after a snooze.
    Always enjoy your writings~~~~~

    February 11, 2013
    • You know, it’s funny. When Thunder wakes up she plods around the house in a stupor for a few minutes like I DO NOT WANT TO BE UP RIGHT NOW. Eventually she gets her bearings, but boy does she like to nap!

      February 11, 2013
  7. I’m willing to bet you slept much better than an actual baby. Those things don’t sleep. Ever. In fact, lots of sayings about babies are totally false: ‘like taking candy from a baby’ for example. Do you have any idea how hard that is??!!! Now taking candy from a sleeping baby….

    February 11, 2013
    • Having actually interacted with your children while they have candy in their hands, I cannot say I doubt what you’re saying.

      February 11, 2013
  8. Looks like you made up for it with that grown-up feast!

    February 11, 2013
    • Unclear if it worked, but I *was* trying to even out the karma.

      February 11, 2013
  9. I.m so sorry, I laughed while reading this….then read it to my flat mate while trying NOT to laugh…i failed miserably. I can so relate to the ups and downs of maturity. Personally I think it is over-rated, immaturity is much more fun (as long as you don’t hurt anyone!)
    Thank you for making me smile, I only hope anyone reading my blog laughs the way I did while reading yours.

    February 11, 2013
    • Your blog is great! I love the quotes you start your posts with. Thank you for the very kind comment. It made me smile so very big.

      February 22, 2013
  10. How nice that the repair was so inexpensive! I would have been right there with you on the driveway, snotty and ugly cry face and all. 😉

    February 11, 2013
    • I know, right? I was so relieved. It reminded me of the time I broke my family’s Christmas snowglobe one year when I was a kid. I was consolable. I started shaking and sobbing “WAAAAH HOW DO I GET THE WATER BACK IN THERE? THE LITTLE PEOPLE HAVE NO WATER AND THE SHOW IS ALL GONE I”M SO SORRY OH MY GOD WAAAAAH.” It really took the Christmas spirit right out of me.

      February 22, 2013
  11. Cute.

    February 11, 2013
    • Thanks! I’m really enjoying your site, by the way.

      February 22, 2013
  12. I had this day yesterday.
    I totally get it.
    Hope your today was better!

    February 11, 2013
    • It was, it was! Although I did made a lemon walnut loaf this week that was boring and an Irish Cream cake that was too sweet, among other failures. But such is life! I have no complaints.

      February 22, 2013
      • Huh…I wonder if you could combine the two and make cake balls…. Picturing that, perhaps dipped in chocolate? perhaps drizzled with a lemon glaze?

        February 22, 2013
  13. I experienced a similar incident when my little Canon rolled off the bed (don’t ask but, for the record, I was alone) and I stepped on it on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I picked it up and ran my hands over the screen. Whew! Not cracked. Until, in the harsh light of day, I discovered that you don’t have to crack the outside to screw up the inside. It still takes great photos, as long as you aim the camera in the general direction of your subject, say a prayer and press the button. You may or may not get all of your intended object in that picture though. It’s the only lottery I win on a regular basis since I’ve gotten good at the aiming. And praying.

    I love fennel! Sometimes I slice it thinly and roast it on my griddle pan to get the little charred marks, then use it in a salad. Your salad looks beautiful and delicious!

    February 12, 2013
    • Stacy! We know how to fix this now. Seriously. Scott knows how to do it. That’s the exact same thing that happened to us–the outside of the LCD screen didn’t look cracked but it was on the inside. Do you want help?

      Also, you crack me up about swearing you were alone at the time of the incident.

      I have not roasted fennel on a stove top before (I’ve braised it in the oven, but that gives a much more mild flavor.) I bet the way you do it is delicious. I’ll try it soon.

      February 22, 2013
  14. This was too funny. I really needed that, thanks. Your recipe looks great, I will be adding it to my to cook list. I have never had fennel before so it will be nice to try something new.

    February 12, 2013
    • Oh I’m so glad. I think fennel is fun. I really like dipping it (also–baby bok choi) in bean dips and such. It just tastes so fresh.

      February 22, 2013
  15. I am of the firm belief that Tina Fey has an apt and hilarious description for every possible situation ever. Also, It’s so lucky you could replace the camera part that cheaply! And that salad looks great; I am a huge proponent of fruit in salads, but I’d still never have thought of adding grapes.

    February 12, 2013
    • Oh and how’s this for un-grown-up like: last night I needed to get my car towed because the engine died because the oil was SO LOW– like totally preventable with (grown-up-as-herbal-tea-and-taxes) regular oil changes low. And the saddest part is that I was on my way to a donut-making party. A donut-making party! …which I missed because I was standing out in the cold and getting a ride home in a tow truck.

      February 12, 2013
      • Anna F. #

        That is just too sad.

        February 12, 2013
      • Gah! A donut making party?! Anna is right–that’s just terrible. What a bummer.

        I got my oil changed a few weeks ago for the first time in years, and the guy looked at me disapprovingly like “um, woah.” And I was like “yeah yeah yeah whatever. I was. . . . really busy.”

        As for grapes, I LOVE THEM in chicken salads. Have you ever tried that? Oh my gosh.

        February 22, 2013
        • I’m sorry to say I don’t think I’ve ever made myself a chicken salad per se… but I will try your grapes-in-chicken salad suggestion the next time I get a chance.

          Also, it turns out that luckily (for my sense of adulthood) the oil being ridiculously low was NOT the only thing wrong with my car; other things were wrong with it too! So that of course made me feel better. 🙂

          February 22, 2013
  16. i just played that entire scene out in my head. did your whole life go into massive slo-mo as the camera fell? did you lose it in slo-mo or did that happen in real time? typically for me it happens in real time, even if everything else is slo(w).
    scott is so even-keeled, really. this may as well have been a valentine’s day post for how balanced the two of you are together.
    i have just recently boarded the fennel boat; as in, i hadn’t had much of it until a few months ago, and i really am enjoying it. i’m obsessed with salads right now, and this is going on the list of ones to make myself and swoon over.

    February 12, 2013
    • Oh yes, Shannon, it went in slo-mo. I wish we had a picture, so to speak, of my face as I realized the camera was falling.

      I’m chucking over here, wondering if one’s response to falling objects changes when one has a child who throws, drops, and otherwise causes to go “boom” many items on a daily basis. I was giving my friend’s toddlers (twins) a bath the other day, and at first I tried to regulate the throwing, splashing, putting of toys in mouths, chucking of washcloths out of the tub, etc. but they wanted to stay in there for FOREVER so I eventually just gave up and let everything fall where it may. The slo-motion part of my brain was on overload and everything just happened in real time. 🙂

      February 22, 2013
  17. “I just bought an anti-aging cream that promises to reverse the space-time continuum of my face.” – I love this line. It is brilliant!

    February 13, 2013
    • Hee hee. Thanks. I sure don’t understand eye creams. I have one labeled “night cream” but I put it on in the morning. So far, nothing bad has happened, but I live in fear of the day I realize my nonchalance has terrible consequences. 🙂

      February 22, 2013
  18. Ah, but those Thunder ears are very alert to the sounds of more baby hysterics.

    February 13, 2013
    • That is true, Sandy Sue. The ears are always up so that she doesn’t miss an opportunity to wake up and look at me disapprovingly.

      February 22, 2013
  19. Sandra R #

    I too have dropped a camera and broken the screen. I was more mature than you. Instead of crying like a baby, I swore like a juvenile delinquent. For a prolonged period of time. I think crying probably is more civilized.
    But I also think Scott was amazing here!! Wow! Now that guy is not just a grown-up, he is a NICE grown-up. Rare I think.
    And I second the motion. “space-time continuum of my face” brilliant, totally.

    February 13, 2013
    • Sandra, this is so true. If I didn’t have Scott around, I’d probably be enrolled in a court-mandated anger management class by now.

      Do you still use the camera you dropped? Because we know how to fix them now and can help if you need it.

      February 22, 2013
  20. The salad sounds delicious. I love the delicate flavor of fennel. And I laughed out loud when I read about the “space-time continuum” of your face!

    February 19, 2013
    • Ha! I actually googled “space-time continuum” after I thought it up because I had no idea what it actually meant, in physics-terms.
      I still don’t, but who cares. Have a good weekend!

      February 22, 2013

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