Let’s Just Forget That Ever Happened.

Paris CatIf I had to liken this blog to a common domesticated animal, I’d say it was more catlike than anything. It isn’t so mean-spirited and short-lived as a hamster, nor does it constantly beg for attention and occasionally eat tissues like our canine friends. And it certainly is nothing like a goldfish except that its author does occasionally go near water.

It is most positively, definitely feline. It shows up on your doorstep every once in a while with a questionable offering and does its business in the same place every time. Occasionally, it grooms its private areas in front of company.

And when it gets sick, it goes and hides until it either feels better or dies. Or, hopefully, somebody notices and hauls it off to the vet.

Fortunately, this furry little blog is not dead. Turns out it just got lost in the bushes, killed a few lizards, went to stay with an elderly couple who don’t understand the internet for a while, then got bored and decided to come home. It looks up at you, purring and blinking, with a short meow that seems to say, “Let’s just forget this little episode ever happened now, shall we?” And then it brushes past you slowly to find the nearest warm thing to sleep on.

And that is pretty much what this author is asking you to do. It’s been nearly six months since my last confessional. In cat terms, I felt that slinking off somewhere was much better than horking up something dreadful on the living room carpet.

I am anything if not polite.

Poppy WhiteEverything’s okay. Or at lease will be.

Depression is a total bitch of a mistress and that’s all I’ll share on the subject for the time being. I thought I had run out of things to say. I felt supremely uninteresting. And the thought of writing anything seemed not only distasteful but impossible.

I had forgotten that I write and keep this blog to entertain myself. It’s the place where I have traditionally had a lot of fun being creative. It’s because of this little thing that I have met so many fascinating people, gotten to do some pretty marvelous things, and won an award or two along the way.

Everything has felt so grim and serious over the past couple of years. This is most likely because so many things really are. It’s taken me a while to accept that it’s okay to enjoy myself from time to time. In fact, I think it’s probably medically necessary.

And now I remember why I started this blog in the first place– to have a good time and to keep myself sane.

So let’s just forget these past few months ever happened, shall we? Good. Because, if pressed, I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened during that time– it’s been so bloody boring and depressing without you.

Poppy Cocktail

Poppy Cocktail

According to a Nina Simone song I rather like, the poppy is the flower of forgetfulness. As the source of opium and its derivatives like morphine, laudanum, and heroin, it can certainly help you forget just about anything. For a time, anyway.

If Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz is to be believed, poppies will also put you to sleep.

And, just to confuse things, the poppy is a well-loved symbol of remembrance to those who wish to commemorate those lost to the horrors of war– from the battlefield of Waterloo to the Fields of Flanders, where the deep red flowers burst into bloom where the iron-rich blood soaked the earth.

There are few flowers more fraught with meaning.

I may have come up with an appropriate name for this drink at one time, but I have completely forgotten and that is, after all, one of the points of poppies. You can call it a Poppycock if you care to do so– this author is quite often full of it.

Once after a rather memorable dinner party at the home of my friends Holly Heyser and Hank Shaw , my hosts offered me a digestif of home-made poppy seed liqueur. I must have enjoyed it immensely because I woke the next morning on their couch in more or less the same position. I must have dreamed, but I honestly don’t remember a damned thing beyond the fact that the previous night’s elixir must have been pretty damned wonderful. Or maybe it was simply the fact that I had consumed multiple courses of food and several glasses of wine over the span of several hours.

California PoppyThis concoction does not contain Hank’s magic potion, but rather a commercially-produced, small-batch amaro from Greenbar distillery made, as it states quite grandly, “in the City of Angels”. It is made from the indigenous Eschscholzia californica (California poppy, for those of you not into Latin names) which, though not a source of opium like the European or Asian poppy, does contain properties purported to combat sleeplessness and anxiety– two major plusses in my book.

It’s a drink for when you wish to pretend you’re much more louche than you really are. I like to imagine I’m George IV– fat, gout-ridden, and unloved by his people– spiking his brandy with laudanum and then washing the whole thing back with a magnum of champagne. For those of you more creative types with less severe self-image issues, you might prefer to dress up as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, drink a few of these and then wait for your fascinating dreams to come until your own “person from Porlock” arrives to make you forget them again. Or dress your hair in sausage curls for all I care and drink it to ease your pains à la Mrs. Barrett-Browning.

Just drink it, if you ever happen upon a bottle of poppy liqueur. I make no promises as to its cure-all properties, but I can guarantee you’ll look great quaffing it. And, if you consume enough of them, it’s sure to make you forget any of this ever happened.

Makes 1 cocktail


• 1 ounce brandy
• 1 ounce poppy seed liqueur
• 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon simple syrup (or less, if you like)
• Decent champagne. Or indecent, if you’re really going for the whole louche thing.


  1. Pour brandy, poppy liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup over ice that has been conveniently placed in a cocktail shaker. Stir until very cold.
  2. Transfer the mixture into a chilled champagne coupe. I prefer them to champagne flutes, because flutes are a) easy to knock over, b) a bitch to clean well, c) not nearly as versatile or attractive, and d) annoying.
  3. Pour champagne into the glass to your desired level.
  4. Drink as many as you like, put on a bit of Chopin or Berlioz (they were hooked on the stuff), then put on your nightshirt, crawl into bed, and fall into the arms of Morpheus. What you do in his arms is your own business.
  5. Do not give this to your cat, if you own one. Like anyone could truly own a cat. (See: horking.)



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About Michael Procopio

I write about food and am very fond of Edward Gorey. And gin.
This entry was posted in Liquids and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Let’s Just Forget That Ever Happened.

  1. Kitchenbeard says:

    How might one acquire a method for making the aforementioned poppy seed liquer? Google is being uncooperative.

    • This is a very important question. One thing I do know is that wild California poppies are protected and it is there illegal to pick them. You’d have to grow your own. What to do with them afterwards, I have no idea other than that it would involve steeping them in alcohol.

  2. Millie says:

    I love that you mention the person from Porlock. I have always wondered who plays that role in my life.

  3. Millie says:

    I love that you mention the person from Porlock. I have always wondered who plays that role in my life. Glad to have you back!

  4. Mary says:

    So good to have you back! I truly missed you. I will hunt down this poppy licquer if it kills me, I must try it. Glad you’re on the mend. Sending positive, happy vibes your way.. ( So true about the cats. I don’t own four.)

    • Mary,

      It is nice to be missed. Thank you. I think interacting with the world is probably a better idea than retreating from it. I am not, however, entirely, finally convinced.

  5. Verb of the day: hork
    Adjective of the day: louche
    Noun of the day: couche

    One is one’s own person from Porlock…

  6. Christopher says:

    So happy to hear you again. I mean, the way you write is so fluid and conversational, I hear you. And it’s a cheerful voice in some trying times. Anyway. Looks like the closest place to Asheville to buy the Amaro is Atlanta. So that’s on the list. There should be a MICHAELPROCOPIO coupon code on their website. (There isn’t, I tried.)

    • I just giggled when I read a reference to me as being cheerful. Thanks for that.

      And I now think there should be a MICHAELPROCOPIO coupon code on a wide variety of websites. I really must compile a list.

  7. Abbe says:

    We missed you! So glad you are feeling better. In your honor, we had drinks at the Bar Hemingway in Paris–a huge splurge and so worth it. The drink in question? Called “Miss Bond” and made up of a specially created raspberry vodka, quite subtle, mixed with some simple syrup, good champagne, and a fresh flower hanging on the side and single raspberry floating on top. Michael, you are a very gifted writer and deserve only great happiness in your life!

    • I have never in my life been to the Bar Hemingway. One can only imagine lengthy descriptions of the cocktails and terrible overall conversation. However, I would definitely give that drink you mentioned a whirl on the dance floor.

      Thank you for the very nice things you have written about me. It’s extremely cheering.

      • Abbe says:

        The conversation was lively and interesting, and the drinks really were splendid! The prices are crazy, however, so it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. But truly, Michael, you are such a gifted writer and recipe-sharer, and those of us (many of us!) who have read you regularly are very, very happy to see you back in the saddle, so to speak.

        • Apparently, one of the bartenders is a friend of a friend but that all feels so awkward a situation to me that I decided not to go in the last time I was in Paris. Also, I know how pricy spirits can be in that town . They must be astronomically chèr chez Hemingway.

          And again, thanks for the ego boost.

          • Abbe says:

            I’m 99% sure that bartender is Colin Field. We ended up in a long conversation with him. Quite a character, raconteur, and self promoter! https://colinpeterfield.com/ All that said, he’s very nice and you absolutely should stop by next time you are there. It’s a lovely place!

            Your book must be in the works, Michael! Even just compiling all the wonderful posts you have written over these years? There is a wealth of material in there…! Hemingway himself would enjoy them immensely!

  8. Jay Floyd says:

    I spent a decade as George IV, I think. I certainly needed a drink.

  9. Anne Taylor says:

    Welcome back, Michael. Please continue to amuse yourself and us, your readers Have missed your witty commentary, stories, recipes. As for cats, greetings from Harry, Sophy and Nicholas, all of whom are extremely attached to their food giver and litter box cleaner

    • I really need to get myself a cat. Or for a cat to get me.

      And I will continue to do whatever it is I do with the recipes and stories and whatnots for as long as I possibly can.

  10. Becky Miller says:

    Welcome home.

  11. Avery says:

    I love your writing and understand your bleak reticence. I spent the last half of 2018 researching and writing about LGB activists in WWII. I would wake up at 4:30 am, set my alarm to write at 6 am, then research and write through my tears until I needed to leave for work at 9 am. To perfect the gloomy effect, my work office is a small basement room without windows. It was fascinating, unworldly, and unpleasant. The book is now a Lammy finalist. Keep writing!!!!!

  12. Thea says:

    Dear one, in my world, your sensibility is unique. I need you in my life. I would buy that book of your collected posts. You are more cheerful than you think. Need that quality in my life too. Happy you’re back with us once more.

    • Dear Thea,

      I sometimes worry that this unique sensibility is what makes makes publishers take pause, but I am grateful to have it nevertheless.

      And, yes, here’s to more cheer in our lives. And thanks, as always, for the kind words.

  13. Lynne Rees says:

    There’s always such a gorgepistickle (I wanted to type ‘gorgeous tickle’ but that auto correct is so damn good!!) factor in your writing – even when you’re writing about sad things. I wrote a haiku about a poppy once:

    again this year
    the Welsh poppy flowers
    between stones

    Welsh poppies don’t knock you out tho. .. they just ‘cwtch’ you to sleep! (Cwtch is one of the best words in the language.)

    Very happy to be reading you again.

    • Lynne,

      I now desperately need to know the meaning of the word “gorgepistickle”. I can find NOTHING on the internet to explain it.

      However, I do know “cwtch” and understand your high estimation.

  14. Trevor says:

    Declaration of joy you are back, expression of gratitude you are writing again. Reference to your writing style and how much it is missed. Recollection of something you have written to prove I ‘get it’.


  15. Joyce says:

    So glad you are again writing, as a person who is way too familiar with depression, off again and mostly on again, for 50 plus years, just keep on . Do keep writing.

  16. Joyce says:

    As a person who is intimately acquainted with depression–long before it became a popular disease-I am so glad to see you back. Just keep on.

  17. Alles says:

    That Trevor guy really gets it! Unfortunately he left out the pithy proclamation of future success.
    As a human tasked with supporting three murderfloofs (cats, I believe you called them) the wee beasties do help combat depression; even if it’s just to get you off the couch to clean up the horked mass. They have made self compassion an art form — and are happy to teach you the finer points.
    Be well; know that you are loved.

  18. Gayle Leslie says:

    I have missed you and your fascinating take on life. So glad you want to get back writing. Every word you share is perfection in its intent, placement, gauge and observation. ❤️❤️

  19. Kristine says:

    Glad you’re back Michael❣️

  20. Carrie says:

    Welcome back, Michael! I’m very happy to read your entries once again.

  21. judith says:

    Dear Thoughtless,
    I noticed your absence and chalked it up to your new writing digs and the impending book. I checked your blog occasionally to make sure I hadn’t missed a pithy post. And then you effervesced on Twitter. I knew you were back of sorts. How sad to realize you were fighting with inner thoughts.
    I am just a little blip in the spinning world of internet words, with that said I love reading your pieces. You make me smile as I visually caress each tapped word and laugh at the turn of the stories. Your enjoyment in writing is my enjoyment in reading.
    Thank you,
    Your QueenArtoeat

    • Dear Queen,

      I am almost never not battling with inner thoughts. But sometimes they take a smoke break and leave me a little time to write.
      You may be, as you consider yourself, a little blip, but you’re a darned fine one and I very much appreciate your existence and your, well, blippiness. Thanks.

  22. Jan Morrison says:

    Yay, you’re back! I only just found out as I was in Cuba being tres louche and drinking these Spanish coffees that were more like pousse cafes and not giving a flying fig about the world going to hell in a hand basket made of twist ties and duct tape. Now I’m back in Nova Scotia where the sun won’t shine and it’s hard to tell the nighttime from the day (desperado, why won’t you come to your senses).
    Talk later. I must take to my fainting couch.

    • Jan,

      I am v. jealous of your Cuban adventure, but I hope you were a tad more tres leches than tres louche while you were there. Or both– it’s your journey. Hope you had a swell time.

      • Jan Morrison says:

        Just a desire to be rakish if not disreputable , but the only non-milkish definition I can find for leche is useless and that is probably true. And as I am quick to burn I stayed under the sea grape tree so did remain milkish in colour.

  23. Judy says:

    Michael, thank you for both returning and for writing. I hope a cat finds you soon – I’m certain one needs you.

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