Iceberg with Russian Dressing

Iceberg in Russian DressingI feel like I’m drowning. Not in water or custard or paperwork, but in news.

I spend the day refreshing the homepages of my usual information websites, running away from my computer for a while, coming back, rinsing, lathering, repeating. I go to bed exhausted, yet sometimes too anxious to sleep for hours. When I wake up, my first thoughts are typically along the lines of, “Oh Sweet Jesus, what happened while I was unconscious?” I then open my browser and the cycle starts all over again.

My breakfast consists of reports on the Mueller investigation, Syria, the state of Maggie Smith’s health, and who’s left the White House today and which more frightening person is filling their shoes. My dinner is more or less a re-hash by pundits who help break down the news for me because I am so often overwhelmed with information that I can’t sufficiently digest it all unaided.

In between, I do my best to have a sensible lunch.

I’ve been getting so little accomplished lately in part because my fear of missing out on the latest updates has become a bit of an addiction and not a fun one like Plant vs. Zombies or The Great British Bake Off. But over the past few months I have, however, gotten rather good at pronouncing Russian names. Kislyak, Veselnitskaya, and Emelianenko dribble off my tongue like hot beef borscht, often trickling down my chin and onto the front of my shirt, which is extremely maddening, I must say.

Since I wrote that first sentence stating that I feel like I’m drowning, I have clicked over to the BBC homepage once and Washington Post twice.

There is so much freaking awful going on in the world and it all seems to be happening so fast that I simply can’t process it all. And it’s made me feel that anything I do– anything I write about– is unimportant. That I have no right to tell my stories with people dying, democracies undermined, and the whole planet going to hell. It’s a ridiculous notion, I know, but it’s been rather difficult to shake lately.

For some reason, my therapist thinks this is all rather unhealthy. He’s (quite rightly) pointed out that there have always been terrible things happening all around us, but that should never stop people from living their own lives and telling their own stories. Or, you know, people who write from writing stuff.

And I suppose he’s right. We just agreed that I need to limit my news intake and implement a bit more self-care. I’ve failed today in that I paused writing this post to check the news, but I have ultimately succeeded by having actually written something today.

I think that’s progress. Yes. I double checked my sources– it is definitely progress. It is, however a struggle.

So in an effort to please my head doctor, I’ve closed the tabs to my Facebook and news pages for now and tossed a slim volume of Truman Capote onto my couch for later. For when I come back from taking a long walk where I’ll try to think of one or two actual nice things for a half hour or so. Which I’ll open after I pour myself a glass of Beaujolais from the bottle I didn’t dare finish off with last night’s salmon. Not polishing off an entire bottle of wine in an evening is also a struggle. But it’s a healthier substitution for bourbon, so that is also definitely progress.

In the meantime, since largely about me eating my feelings, I will leave you with a recipe you will most likely never want to make.

Iceberg Wedge Drowning in Russian Dressing

Since everything seems to be tainted with the stuff in some form or other– possible government colluding, election tampering, troll farming, spy poisoning, Assad-bolstering– I figured it’s as good a time as any to whip up a batch and wallow in it for a little while, then take a very hot, soapy shower and get on with my day.

I can’t imagine anyone actually following through and concocting this recipe, which is excellent because it saves me so much time recipe testing. Thank you.

It’s one of those viscous mixtures that’s culinary death to the tender greens of a Springtime salad, but very much at home dripping down one’s wrists as it oozes from a hot Reuben. And now, if you are of a certain age, you have the image of The Partridge Family’s manager in your head and you will be upset. You are very welcome.

Makes approximately one gallon of Russian Dressing


• 1 finely minced yellow onion
• 12 cups of mayonnaise. Really.
• 3 cups of tomato ketchup
• ¼ cup of hot sauce
• ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon of paprika
• A generous pinch or 12 of salt
• Iceberg lettuce, cut into 4 wedges


  1. Chop the onion so fine that it can mingle among the other ingredients for ages before it’s detected.
  2. In a (very) large bowl combine mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and salt. Infiltrate with onion until smooth.
  3. Stand back and look at the gigantic mess of pink goo. If you smoke, take a long, dramatic drag from your cigarette and say, “What the hell have I just made?” Emphasizing the word “hell” expels just the right amount of smoke for a wonderfully theatrical effect.
  4. Refrigerate for a few hours so that the flavor agents have enough time to properly collude.
  5. To serve, place each iceberg wedge in a deep bowl and ladle dressing over them until only their tips are left exposed, which will be fun for your guests because they will have absolutely no idea how much crap they’ll have to wade through to get to the bottom of everything.
  6. If anyone questions what you’ve just served them, tell them it’s Creamy French Dressing– they probably won’t know the difference. If you’ve still got that cigarette, blow smoke in the face of the person or persons probing you for an added dash of drama. Don’t ash.
  7. Place remaining dressing in a smaller bowl and leave out for several days, preferably near your stove. Stir occasionally. Leftovers may then be used to poison enemies.
  8. Deny everything.

About Michael Procopio

I write about food and am very fond of Edward Gorey. And gin.
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