Generally, I choose friends with a profound sense of humour. I love to laugh, but making me laugh is a herculean task at times – wait, hold on, I should probably explain that one. Three years ago I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety but had been symptomatic since my teenage years. The anxiety aspect in my early youth meant that I laughed almost constantly (often at the most inappropriate of times) as a bit of a coping mechanism but as I mastered my anxiety, the depression aspect of the condition became more dominant.
Over time, because of a lack of proper serotonin production in my noggin (which my doctor comically refers to as brain diabetes) I lost much of my ability to genuinely laugh. Like many people with long-term depression, I chased that laugh rather than see it slip through my fingers. As a result, I gravitated towards people with a great sense of humour and also honed my own joking skills in an effort to make others crack up, living vicariously through them in that moment.
When a couple good friends of mine recently watched me making a pot roast here at home, they were more than bemused when I began slathering the beef with a green jelly I suddenly procured from my fridge. As I’ve come to expect from my butthead friends, the good natured ridicule began almost instantly.
“Terry, can I ask what the *bleep* you’re putting on that beef and also why I shouldn’t slap you for doing it?” asked Darren, smirking.
“Knowing Grandmudder Bursey, (Cory’s nickname for me when I cook) it’s probably something I’ve never heard of and can’t pronounce properly, I’m pretty sure he does that on purpose too.”
Chuckling, I used some colourful language to silence them and told them they were about to try it. I popped some bread into the toaster and listened to some more roasting as the two friends tried to outdo each other in making fun of me. I welcomed it, enjoying the clever jibes regardless of being the butt of the jokes. When the toast popped I spread on a bit of real butter and covered that with a generous smear of:
1 ½ cups fresh mint leaves
½ cup spruce needles
2 drops of green food colouring
¼ lemon, wedged
1 tsp lemon juice
1 box pectin (gelatin)
4 cups sugar
½ tsp vanilla
Roughly chop your mint leaves and mix with spruce needles. Add water to a large saucepan with mint and spruce, bring to a boil. Let stand to cool, strain and measure out three cups of spruce-mint infusion, add food colouring, vanilla and lemon juice. Dissolve in your pectin and bring to a boil. Add sugar, turn heat to medium high and cook for 2 mins, put into sterilized jars along with lemon wedges and a sprig or two of spruce if desired, and seal. Boil jars in a large pot with rack on the bottom for 10 mins. Remove pot from heat, cool and refrigerate jars.
I presented the spruce-mint jelly toast to them and beckoned them to try it, challenging them to say it wasn’t delicious. Cory popped the buttery bakers bread toast into his mouth comically and started to eat it in much the same way that a lizard would eat a cricket, nearly choking in the process for the sake of a laugh. Darren ate his normally and offered that it was, indeed, delicious. They stayed for the flavoured roast as well and were too busy eating to be much more of a nuisance.
Thanks for reading.