A Hearty Fuck You from Cream of Tartar

Don’t pretend you can’t see me at the back of the spice rack. You’re the one who banished me to this infinite hellscape of longing and despair. At least have the decency to acknowledge my presence before you reject me.

I was considered essential a hundred years ago, but now I’m hidden behind the other unpopular seasonings, like allspice and fenugreek. You stuck me in the spice rack when you moved into this apartment years ago. That was the last time someone touched me.

Do you know how lonely that feels? I’m not even dusted!

Before this, I lived in your mother’s spice rack, where I’d be routinely employed in her recipes. She gave me to you along with some other spices to get you started in your first apartment. With the holidays coming up, I’m dreaming you’ll dig me out for some snickerdoodles or lemon meringue pie, but you don’t bake, so I’m pretty much fucked.

I’ve given up hope when I see the cabinet door swing open, and your big, dumb hand comes lurching toward me. I sit here watching the other spices get taken in and out of the cupboard, as I simmer with jealousy and anguish. I see new spices arrive, and old ones leave empty. Can you imagine how painful that feels?

Abandoning hope, however, comes a profound liberation. You’re never going to use me no matter what I say, so I’m saying this: a hearty fuck you.

I’m not asking to be salt or pepper, for fuck’s sake! They get to sit on the dining table, absorbing the rhythms of daily life in a space where people love them. I don’t even need to be one of your favorite spices that are regularly used and refilled, like chili powder or oregano. But for Chrissake, you find a reason to use cloves around the holidays. Fucking cloves! You dig out the sage for your Thanksgiving stuffing, and grate some nutmeg into your Christmas eggnog. But you can’t find one reason to use me?

The problem is that you don’t even know what I am. You put me in the spice rack, where I don’t belong. If you took three seconds to employ the vast resources of the Internet, you’d realize I’m used in baked goods as a rising agent like baking powder, or as a stabilizer and thickener. So where do I belong, genius? In the spice rack or the baking shelf?

Even if you tried to use me now, I know it’s too late. If you managed to unscrew my lid, sticky with years of dust and the oily smoke of the kitchen, you would find my powder fossilized into a crusty cube you’d have to chisel out with a butter knife.

We both know you’re not going to do that. So we’re stuck in this farce, pretending that one day you’re going to use me. Meanwhile, you put smoked paprika into every fucking dish you cook.

Please don’t bring me to your next apartment when you move. Do the decent thing and put me out of my misery. Throw me in the trash, and let me die. It’s the only way I can salvage some dignity at the end of my life. Perhaps I can be of some use to the world by offering my jar for something people actually want, like garlic powder.

If you decide to leave me here, and never use me for anything, there’s only one thing left to say to you, and you know what it is.

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