Let’s not go into all the gory details involved in the past few days… it’s enough to say that seven of the twelve fish in my aquarium died, resulting in some major hassles today.  I went to Petco and got some more fish, and I am telling you, these pet store employees get more and more clueless every time I go to one.  It’s rather scary.

dalmatian molly



Yes, I got plecos again.  Even though they’ll probably die straightaway… I don’t know what else to do about the algae growth!!  If the pH level of my water can’t sustain the life of an algae eater, how am I supposed to get rid of algae??  One would assume that the logical place to go with such a query would be the pet shop… but let us consider that when I asked for a couple of plecos, the Petco employee scooped out some tetras.  Not exactly the type of person to whom I’d turn for advice, you know?

And guess what? Remember how I found this 82% chocolate, and I said that it wouldn’t be a regular purchase, due to its cost?  Well.

If you’re wondering what on earth possessed me to go out and spend nearly $40 on chocolate… I randomly picked one up in Whole Foods and noticed that it was marked kosher dairy.  This means that soon, I will not be able to get this chocolate with any other designation.  Whole Foods only had that one bar, so I went to another store — where it was even more expensive, mind you — and bought an insane amount.

Even this one (which I haven’t tried yet), because now I am paranoid.  Not to mention angry — I finally find a chocolate that I like, and now I won’t be able to have it anymore?!  Gaaaahhh!!

Clearly, I have major issues.

At least something exciting happened:

My peppers have finally started to grow!!  It only took, oh, three months, if not more than that.  I had all but abandoned hope.

Some reviews for this disjointed post!

Soy Delicious dulce de leche.

Yeah, I don’t like caramel.  I was actually in a different Whole Foods than the two I usually frequent, because I was trying to track down my Glenny’s cookie bars (which I later found in one of “my” Whole Foods, but whatever), and they had this flavor of soy ice cream we hadn’t yet tried.  Since I don’t like caramel, I didn’t particularly care for this.  The caramel isn’t overpowering, but that just means that it’s a no-win either way: if you don’t like caramel, you won’t like it, and if you do like caramel, you won’t like it!

So Delicious coconut milk minis banana split sandwiches… shockingly, we all liked this!  The coconut flavor was very, very faint, as was the banana flavor; I think that’s actually a good thing, because when things are too strongly banana flavored, they tend to taste very artificial.  I’d definitely buy these again.

This is not a review, really, but I just felt like sharing what I did with a random eggplant — I have this annoying habit of buying too much produce, which I then must use up before it goes bad.  I’m not averse to just eating vegetables straight-up, but sometimes that gets a little monotonous.

So I made babaganoush.  I think I am going to try this again and leave the skin on the eggplant.  Who says it has to be peeled after being roasted?!

Back to the star of the show (post?):

Maranatha sunflower seed butter!  I’ve only tried Sunbutter once, and I wasn’t wildly impressed.  But I saw this in Whole Foods, and I just couldn’t resist it; the only ingredients are sunflower seeds and sea salt, and I didn’t have to give up an arm and a leg to pay for it like I would for most Maranatha nut butters.  (We’ll exclude the workout I got in stirring it up, which nearly did claim an arm.)

Spread on a corn tortilla, topped with banana slices.  Um… go out and buy this now!  It is, quite simply, amazing.  No other words can describe it.

This post owes its weird title to the appearance of the sunflower seed butter.  It’s funny in retrospect, given my affinity for English, but it wasn’t actually my first language.  There are even some things for which I just don’t really use the English word, and sunflower seeds are one of those things.

Let me tell you a little story about sunflower seeds and me.  My mom loves salted, roasted sunflower seeds — or semitchkes, as we call them.  I think it’s Russian.  Anyway, when I was a kid and my mom would sit down to do my homework with me, she was usually accompanied by a big bag of sunflower seeds — only I don’t think I realized that sunflower seeds = semitchkes until I was about twelve.  Yes, I was a slow child.  Hence the enormous piles of shells… I always associated sunflower seeds with horrible homework, which is why I tended to stay far away from them!

Anyway, this got me thinking about other things that I don’t call by their English names… trivet (I don’t think I even knew the English word for that until I was in high school!), dishtowel, hot water urn, robe … you notice that all of these are “household words.”  😉  What’s even more strange about this is that for the most part, the words I do use are Russian, and I don’t speak Russian!  I guess it’s because my grandmother used those words with my mom, who in turn used them with me.  In any case, I’m curious to know if this happens to anyone else… do you use another language for certain things?

To round off on a lovely note, similar to the one in which I began, I have just discovered that next week, six of my nephews are moving in.  I love them dearly, and all, but they are wild Indians.  And I hate eating when kids are around, because I will inevitably be subject to either A) the “ewwww!” treatment, or B) the “I want that!” treatment.  Thank goodness the Invading Israelis are leaving the day before my nephews move in; that should hopefully give me the basement to hibernate.  (And I just mis-typed that as “hopelessly” … Freudian slip much?!)

Have a lovely start to your week.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
~Theodore Roosevelt


11 responses to “Semitchkes

  1. I know that this sounds REALLY odd, but don’t knock it til you’ve tried it: I like to mix sun butter in with scrambled eggs, it’s also great on sweet potatoes.

  2. And SIX nephews??? How long are they staying?

  3. VERY longtime lurker de-lurking here. (I think you are amazing, btw, and your blog is one of the top 5 of the hundreds I read!) My family is Swedish so there are a few words that I grew up using in Swedish instead of/in addition to English. I actually love that this happened, even though it’s odd.

    I live in Manhattan and have often thought about emailing you about meeting up sometime. Email me if interested! (I’m very reliable so you don’t have to worry about me flaking out like your flakey friend, haha.)

  4. Aww, I’m sorry about your fish! I know nothing about them…but that’s a bummer that the people at PetCo aren’t very much help for the problem :\ They’re prettyy!
    We planted…12?…pepper plants all together this year and only got about 3 little peppers. I was so disappointed. Yours are doing way better than mine – better late than never, right? haha.
    I think baba ghanoush is the one traditional thing I haven’t ever made with eggplant, or even tried!! I really need to, though.
    I loved your little story about semitchkes/sunflower seeds, too. I can’t think of a similar story, but language really interests me 🙂

  5. Sorry about your fishies. I find it intolerable that more and more store employees are just clueless. It used to be that people who sold things actually knew about the items they were selling. But I no longer have any expectation of getting good information at any store about anything they sell. What’s this world coming to?

    I just tried those So Delicious banana split coconut milk ice cream sandwiches the other day and was completely blown away! You’re right. Neither the coconut nor the banana flavor are overpowering, and it tastes so creamy good, it’s hard to believe it was only 100 calories! (I noticed that right away on the package, which is why I bought them.)

    Six nephews at once? Whoa!

  6. I always buy that chocolate when I’m going to a kosher guest’s house for dinner. The store on the UWS also sells kosher truffles!

  7. There’s a store in the UK called Pets at Home that sounds very similar to PetCo…everything from there looks sickly and when I bought fish from there in my feeble attempts to set up an aquarium about six years ago, literally everything died within a fortnight. I don’t think the employees in these places have a clue how to take care of their ‘stock’ properly and it’s so sad to see such beautiful creatures so weak and fragile. You take excellent care of your fishies though, so hopefully with some TLC these ones will last a little longer. How are you bearing up with it? I know everything else always gets worse when your fish aren’t doing so well…

    No shame in hoarding the chocolate: you should see me with Sun Warrior and various types of squash.

    I randomly say certain phrases in other languages but it’s just a quirk, not a cultural heritage thing. I say ‘merci’ instead of ‘thank you’ most of the time and whenever it’s windy for some bizarre reason I have to point that fact out in German as opposed to English 😛



  8. i just ADORE that you titled your post “semitchkes”. my dad also calls them that and it’s all the rage especially in the summertime in the Catskills to eat piles of sunflower seeds. Much props for the So Delicious too 🙂

  9. Pingback: Stop the Presses |

  10. Pingback: Tangential |

  11. Pingback: Slow Freeze |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s