Trigger warning: This post makes light of shame. My intent is to validate and normalize people’s experiences of shame rather than to make fun in any way of people who are experiencing it. If you feel you may be triggered by my sarcasm please skip this post.
As we prepare for the cold winter months here in Boston I’d like to share with you my recipe for good, old-fashioned shame stew. It’s a classic!
Why not come in from the cold and warm your goose bumps and bones with this hearty bowl of shame… especially now during the time of year when the sun exists for two hours a day and the snow is deep enough to bury your dreams.
What I love about this recipe is it usually contains everything you already have in your cupboards anyway – no last minute trips to the store for this one! However there are some special considerations for timing and preparation.
This stew is best started overnight. I usually shoot for chopping and mixing my ingredients around 1 or 2am. It’s important to work on the stew when you are alone too – it just doesn’t come out the same when you’re distracted by the presence of others.
I also recommend sleeping in the day before you intend on cooking up the shame. Sleep until 1 or even 2pm if you can so you’re going into the cooking process with already a slight sense of worthlessness.
The MOST important thing to keep in mind with this recipe is adding alcohol at any point in the preparation or cooking process can cause incredibly toxic results. It is best to avoid any alcohol use unless you are looking to induce a dangerous level of shame you may never be able to digest.
Ok, let’s take a look at what we need!
2 quarts of your high school experience (if you want a really, really shame-y stew go ahead and add your entire high school experience)
1 can of cream of unrealized dreams soup
1 cup of the mean thing you said to your ex-best friend five years ago
Another cup of the mean thing they said to you which, after extended rumination, you have come to believe is true, diced
1/2 cup of pits in the stomach
1/4 cup of marinated reminders of what you said in the last meeting that no one thought was bad but you were convinced you sounded stupid and replayed it over and over in the shower that night
2/3 cup of chopped beliefs about your “flaws” (I put flaws in quotes here because can you ever truly trust how these beliefs are sourced?)
1 tablespoon of a grated imaginary future where people find out you are a fraud. (It’s unclear what exactly you are faking… but there’s probably something, you reason, and they will find out.)
A pinch of general regret zest, to taste
A pinch of shredded vague sense of doom, to taste
*Please note I always recommend using organic products whenever possible.
Let’s get cooking!
Like any good stew it’s important you cook this one on low in the crock pot for at least several days at a time. If you rush it you’ll lose the tenderness of the pain and flavor of long-simmering guilt.
The beauty of slow-cooker recipes is you can adjust your cooking time and ingredients based on what you have in your pantry (i.e. If you are a unicorn and don’t have bad high school experiences substitute with another appropriate ingredient like all the jobs you’ve allegedly failed at). Remember, this is your stew and it’ll be best served with your special twist on shame!
This stew can be served on it’s own but also pairs well with an angsty type of appetizer. I like “blooming, fried anxiety” in particular.
For dessert consider “deathly dark chocolate despair” or “not your mother’s guilt pie”.*
*These recipes coming soon!
In the meantime I hope you enjoy your shame stew and remember there are millions out there making their own special stew right along with you.