The Weird Thing You Eat When You're So, So Alone

Guys, I'm a little down this week. What snack should I make?
Publish date:
June 18, 2012
food, depression, sadness, julieanne, condiments, sadwich

The ketchup says 'Why?'

Today, I made the sandwich I make when I am depressed.

Last week was kind of a downer, which would normally make me feel like it's my duty to add some levity here, both as XOJane's resident goofball and as a needy middle child.

I will in a bit, I promise. But first, a snack.

I grew up in a house where my single, working mom would do about four huge grocery shopping trips a year. Every fiscal quarter would bring a bounty fit for some kind of rotund cartoon king. My mother and I were fastidious calorie counters, but for a short time every month, the cupboards would overflow with organic soda and fig-sweetened healthfood cookies, and the crispers of the fridge would be swollen with of assorted perishables like fruits, vegetables and fancy pre-made deli salads in little environmentally un-conscious plastic containers.

Then at some point, there would be nothing left but bread heels and condiments.

Oh, lord, the condiments. This is when my mother was too busy to shop and I was too lazy to walk to Finast. This is when I learned to make my favorite, lonely, poor me snack.

It reminds me of my adolescent years, and appropriately, tastes like hot tears of sexual rejection and kind of hurts the roof of your mouth.

All you need is a lot of nothing, but also mustard. I'm visiting my ancestral home this weekend, and I count -- I shit you not -- eight kinds of mustard. Jesus Christ. This would be upsetting to me if not for the fact that it was exactly what I wanted.


Work has been stressful and I have suffered a series of romantic disappointments in such rapid succession that can only be described as "mathematically improbable." You know in Ken Burns' "Civil War" where you're like, "Jesus, not another horrible battle where thousands of adolescents died while wearing shoes made from their brothers. Did you guys ever take a break?" Like that. So needless to say, I'm eating a lot of

The Sadwich.

1) Toast bread heels.

2) Smear with condiments.

3) Litter with pickles.

4) Eat in a heap.

It's basically like a hamburger without the hamburger, or the attendant vegetables that lend it a marginal sheen of health or texture. I tend to want delicious things like cookies, ice cream and red wine when I'm happy. For some reason, when I am down, this is all I want to joylessly shove into my face and mirthlessly masticate.

I don't think I'm alone in eating sad things when that's how I feel. I knew a girl in college who used to sit in the common room, smashing up animal crackers into peanut butter and stirring it into a greasy room temperature slurry. If she hadn't been a total weirdo who alienated people, we probably could have been friends.

OK. Here comes the call-out.

What's your weird food? Things you only eat when lonely, sad, premenstrual, mourning the loss of a pet, or freshly unemployed? Have you ever dipped anything in anything else that would cause a psychologist to be concerned? Lay. It. On. Me.

I asked some of the xoeditors to share their Secret Lonely Foods, but aside from Emily admitting she used to microwave a plate of cheese and eat it in front of the television, nobody complied. What's the matter, guys? Too ashamed? (It's OK.)

I love you guys. Let's have snacks.