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Dear Julie: Loud Chewing & Cookies

Letter #1: Loathing Loud Chewing

Dear Julie,

I have been quarantining with my partner in an apartment, and I can hear him chew his food from two rooms over, even when I have the TV blaring. His granola habit is really driving me insane. Even when he moistens the food - it’s maddening. I have asked him to soak his chips in saliva before beginning the mastication process, but to no avail. I fear harm will come to one of us if he doesn’t quiet down! What’s a girl to do?


Loathing Loud Chewing


Dear Loathing Loud Chewing, 

Let me begin by saying, noisy eating is number one on my list of pet peeves. It's right up there with this odd quirk I have about not being able to watch people brush their teeth, or God forbid, watch them talk to me WHILE they're brushing their teeth (this happens in dressing rooms all the time). I then start to feel nauseous and anxious, and like I should put my head between my legs, and frankly just talking about it is upsetting. 

And then there are the times on TV or in a movie when for some reason one of the characters doesn't rinse their mouth out after all that talking with the foamy toothpaste business...

Oh my God, I need to lie down for a second...

Okay, I'm back. That was close. 

I understand that noisy eaters are probably oblivious, but I'm sorry that is no excuse. Close your mouth and eat like a person! 

If it's because the food ITSELF is noisy, well in my opinion, and obviously yours that is still no excuse, but we must lead with compassion. So if he won't switch from granola to Cream of Wheat, get yourself some sound-canceling headphones and be grateful that he still has teeth to chew with - noisy though it may be. 

Yours in love and complete understanding,



Letter #2: I Just Want A Cookie in Peace

Dear Julie,

I love my mom more than anything, but she will not stop commenting on what "I should and should not" be eating. We're in a global pandemic and if I want to make cookies to relieve some stress and take a moment to treat myself, then heck yes - I'll make cookies. I don't want to upset her by calling out her behavior, especially during such a stressful time for everyone, but her words truly do affect me. I've always had issues with food and her comments are not helping. What should I do?


I Just Want A Cookie in Peace


Dear I Just Want A Cookie in Peace,

Monday May 18th was my birthday. 

Thank you!

I know right? I still get carded sometimes! And I have a very good moisturizer and I stay OUT of the sun, so...

And no one takes better care of a woman having a birthday in solo lockdown then her dear girlfriends. I received a delicious homemade lemon cake (my favorite!), See's Candies, red wine (another favorite), a red velvet cupcake complete with a birthday candle, and homemade cupcakes with pink icing AND sprinkles. Plus, a few beautiful inedible items.

And lest you think I didn’t prepare before my birthday, just to be safe I got myself a tiny strawberry rhubarb pie, and I always have TJ’s vanilla cake mix and a can of chocolate fudge frosting on standby, in case of an emergency. 

Since I had broken into the can of frosting the week before because you know - PANDEMIC, plus DESIRE = FROSTING, I had a spoon of that on a bite of lemon cake and it was delicious. Don’t get me started!

Because right now, we all need cake.

So to your question I Just Want, my Mom can also be the "Food Police." If my Dad orders French toast for breakfast and there’s a beautiful dollop of soft butter sitting on top, she will whoosh that butter off faster then Bruce Lee could do a snake slap.

Or there was that time, in an effort to reduce our carb consumption, Mom made bean sprout spaghetti. Yup, that’s exactly what you are afraid it is, and Mom tells me it was the single time in my life that I didn’t thank her for a delicious dinner.

I’m guessing you are in quarantine with your Mom. If you are, she’s seeing what you bake and likely when and what you eat. So, it’s tricky because she loves you and wants you to be healthy, but her comments are very hurtful, and even coming from a place of love in her mind, are of no help, especially now.

If the actual baking is as soothing as eating the cookies afterward, maybe you could share what you bake with your neighbors? Or research recipes that are made with healthier options (I’ve included one below)?

Being kind to ourselves and each other right now is vital. Kindness must take the lead.

So from that place in you of your deepest love, tell your Mom that you know she loves you, and you love her and appreciate her concern, but just for right now, you’re going to bake some cookies.

Maybe tell her you’ll eat a salad first.

Yours in love and complete understanding,




(Originally from revised by the brilliant Jessica Bomball) 


1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup evaporated cane juice (can be found at PCC)

1/4 cup canola oil plus 2 tbsp. applesauce 

1 egg

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, plus 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. warm spices (one tsp cinnamon, plus ginger, cloves, pumpkin pie spice)

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. milk

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

2 cups dark chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)



1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Combine pumpkin, cane juice, oil, applesauce, and egg. 

3) In a separate bowl stir together flours, baking powder, spices, and salt. 

4) Dissolve the baking soda with milk and stir in to dry ingredients.  

5) Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and combine well. 

6) Add vanilla, chocolate chips, and nuts (if using). 

7) Drop by spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and firm.


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