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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« Just your average Tuesday. | Main | One of many getting-up-at-midnight-to-pee conversations »

What not to make.

It was Friday night. There I was, at dinnertime. In front of me was a bunch of arugula. Instead of doing all the usual arugula-y things I do with arugula (known as "rocket" to some of you and "rucola" to others and "arugu-wha?" to a smattering), I decided to make arugula pesto. I like pesto, and I like arugula. Arugula pesto! I thought I was so smart.

After making it, I noticed that it tasted like a solvent, like it would eat straight through the countertop, should any of it spill. The arugula was especially strong. I noticed its awesome bitter powers before whirring it in the blender; post-whirring, with its fellow pesto ingredients, the bitterness had increased exponentially. Please note that I am highly tolerant of the bitter greens. And yet. Anyway, I thought maybe if I mixed it with ricotta cheese, we would be able to eat it and live. Henry, as you may know, abhors anything green (or anything non-white, for that matter) so he would have just plain ricotta cheese in his pasta, and would thus be spared. I had some whole-wheat rotini, which I thought would be okay with the diluted horror of the arugula pesto/ricotta cheese thing.

We all sat down to eat, and Scott declared the pesto delicious and me clinically insane. My husband will eat anything. He's a goat. Actually he's part goat. He once ate an entire plate of fiberglass insulation for dinner. I, on the other hand, have no goat relatives on either side, so I picked at my dinner. The ricotta cheese had just made the whole affair gritty and gloppy. The whole-wheat pasta wasn't helping it go down any easier. I had made us some kind of Green Penance Sauce on a High-Fiber Pasta of Penitence. It was scouring my insides. I might as well have gnawed on a steel-wool pad. Unfortunately, I was really hungry, and I ate more of it than I should have--the amount I should have eaten being "none."

As you may have guessed, my body revolted. Scott took Henry to bed as I lay on the couch, gasping. I marveled at the fascinating new sensations coursing through my innards. Were my intestines actually twisting around my esophagus? Because that's what it felt like. I'll never know. I took about fourteen Tums (translation: four) but it was no match for the pesto. The horrible pesto. In conclusion, I was up until 4 a.m. And I was sad. And that's my story.

But hey, things are looking up! Because tomorrow, my friends, tomorrow, Wondertime is coming to my house for a photo shoot. Perhaps you've heard about Heather Armstrong's anthology, Things I Learned About my Dad in Therapy. Well! My contribution to that is going to be reprinted in Wondertime, in their May issue. I'm ridiculously excited about both the anthology and the Wondertime publication. I don't want to give away the subject matter, but let's just say that for the photo shoot, there will be light sabers, and cinnamon buns will be affixed to the sides of my head. You can bet your sweet bippy I'll be back tomorrow to tell you all about it.

Reader Comments (47)

See, this is why I never cook anymore -- too many "experiments" like this one, and not enough part-goat people at the table to eat cheerfully.
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersparkles anon!
Oooh, that magazine is great! And I can't wait for the book - it sounds like a lot of fun, and has a bunch of my favorite bloggers, so basically genius.If there are cinnamon buns on your head, you'll share pictures, right?
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersuperblondgirl
The very thought of making pesto from scratch is enough to send me to the couch clutching my stomach in pain. Actually, the very thought of cooking.

Can't wait for the book.
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Mom Bomb
Ooh ouch. I saw your Twitter comment about the arugula yesterday and thought, "That CAN'T be good."

Really, truly trying hard not to pee my pants in anticipation of getting the book. It's very hard.
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarah R
I'm so sorry, I got tears in my eyes laughing at that story.

My own culinary disaster-piece: I never measure when I'm cooking, just sprinkle in a little of this, a little of that. One evening as I was sprinkling in the curry, a lump dislodged from the bottom of the jar and took most of the curry with it, right into the food.

I like curry, I like spicy food, so I figured, no problem. Oh, and it was a *big* jar of curry from one of those Indian groceries -- not the little dainty jar you get at your local chain supermarket.

Well. Something in curry didn't agree once it reached my intestines. The meal went through very, very fast and it was several months before I was wlling to go near the stuff again.

February 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterimagine community
I just recently read WonderTime in my OB/GYN's office and have been meaning to subscribe to it. I really loved that mag. Thanks so much for reminding me and I can't wait to see your article. Oh and sorry about the greens : ( Hope you are feeling better soon.
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichele
Rocket: The vegetable with interplanetary force.

Photo shoot! Photo Shoot! Sweet Bippy Photo Shoot!
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlis
Okay, this is post has me cracking up, but you are onto something here, Alice. There is an "Arugula Pesto" dish and it's pretty darn good.

The dish I make is close to this one at "Simply Recipes". There's alot of chopping and grinding things with a mortar and pestle so it's not the easiest recipe, but you can get your frustrations out on those pine nuts.

Thanks for sharing - you made my day!

And maybe the execution was off but your idea was right on target. You can check out Elise's "Arugula Pesto" at

February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Yummy Mummy
Listen, I made your eggplant stacks the other night and people were fighting for thirds, so your culinary prowess and you are still golden by me.
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVallen Queen
For all the talk of arugula, I am fixated on the tossed off mention of cinnamon buns. Mmmmmmm.
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVelma
Catherine: it's from Paul F. Tompkins's CD Impersonal, which you must buy if you liked that. His MySpace page has lots of funny video, too.
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara
I wish I had written this! (Not eaten, just written.)
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
I did a bleu cheese pizza one time that as my boyfriend at the time put it "was so awful, I couldn't even eat it to be polite."

Sometimes when experiments go wrong, the go horribly wrong.
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterManic Mommy
Sorry about the intestinal displeasure you encountered--damn the arugula!
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHippo Brigade
Always late to the party, I never got to tell my bad parenting moment....

My twins were about 2 or so and we had come back from a tiring and long day at the zoo. They both fell asleep on the way home and I had to pee so badly. I pulled into the driveway, put the car in park (so I thought) and ran into the house. A few minutes later my neighbor is at my door. When I answer it she goes, "Um, your van rolled into my fence. And your girls are crying."

Whoops. Luckily, except for my pride, nothing was hurt.

I have never, EVER, told my husband about this. EVER.
February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
Right on. Street names for greens.

I'd love to see the Health Book chart...

Arugala: Rocket, Rucola, Afterburn

Spinach: Squeaky, Sticky Teeth, Popeye

Kale: Fireball, Big K, Tricky Stick

February 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterozma
Blech! It might have been better if you blended the Tums right into the sauce.

February 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterangelawd
i make arugula pesto all the time & i've never had any problems or intestines rolling around. you can't over-process it, though.
February 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterchef d
Could you send some over? My countertops could really use a nice, deep cleaning. I was thinking acid, but the pesto will probably work better.
February 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBurgh Baby's Mom
And May the Farce Be With You.
February 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBOSSY
LOL, I too had a pesto fiasco in my past. One night while my husband was away on business, I decided to make my own pesto using the actual basil we had growing in our yard. I wandered in the kitchen looking for a recipe and found one, lo and behold, in the Gilroy, CA Garlic Lovers Cookbook. If anyone doesn't know, Gilroy is famous for garlic and they have a festival every year that has garlic in every form, including ice cream.

The recipe called for some ungodly amount of raw garlic cloves, which you then grind up in the food processor with olive oil and basil and pine nuts. The recipe said to age this mixture for at least a day. I didn't have time to do that so I figured, what harm could it do to eat it that night on my cappelini?

Well, I found out. Turns out if you consume that many cloves of raw garlic the night before, you will a) have some unpleasant abdominal reactions, and b) have the worst garlic breath EVER, for about 24 hours afterward.

I never call in sick to work; I wondered if you could call in "garlic" to work? I finally decided to chance going in and just hid in my cubicle all day. I didn't have meetings that day so the rest of the company was basically spared the fumes.

As for your Film shooting, congratulations!
February 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMauigirl
Try mixing it with spinach next cuts the bitterness.
April 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

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