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  • Writer's pictureDante

Dear Dante, Season 3

In which a picky eater is dished the dirt.

Dear Dante,

My roommates and I share groceries and, for the most part, it really works. Sometimes, though, one of my roommates buys too many portobello mushrooms. Like. Way too many for anyone to want. I’d like to keep our living situation friendly, but I just cannot keep up. What should I do?

—CC ’23


The only way to make a shared grocery arrangement truly fair would be for all of your roommates to eat every meal and snack in equal quantities, at the same time of day, in front of each other—like you’re on Sesame Street or in the Manson Family or something. By not doing exactly that, you’re inviting yourself to lose out at least a little bit on this whole arrangement; by being a childishly picky eater (portobello hater), you’re practically guaranteeing it. What I’m saying is, you pretty much did it to yourself, and it’s going to be on you to dig your own way out of this ditch.

But worry not—the solution is simple enough for even the least mature among us (i.e., you) to understand. First, you’ve got to understand that your present conception of “way too many portobellos for anyone to want” is falser than you ever could’ve imagined. And second, to address the issue of finances, you should attempt to match his demand for portobellos. It’s simple economics. If your roommate is taking up an outsized portion of the grocery budget with his (totally normal) food preferences, you should be eating as many—nay, more portobellos than he does, in order to balance things out.

Illustsration by Aeja Rosette

What I recommend is a steady diet of five to eight baby ’bellos—that’s just a nickname, they should be fully grown portobello caps—per day, doubling that quantity on the weekends. It sounds extreme, but it’s an essential step if you want to have the upper hand when negotiating the ’bello budget in the future. Of course, by then, it’ll be too late, you’ll love the portobellos. But that’s alright because, again, your roommate is not the odd one here—you are, for failing to see portobellos for the earthly gift that they are, and for even slightly resisting the idea of including them in every meal, especially breakfast. So pull up a plate, grow the hell up, and help yourself to about 40 portobello mushrooms each week, unless you want to continue to bleed needless money on groceries. The good news is, they’re healthier than meat, as long as you don’t mind the taste of dirt.

Now that you’ve deconstructed your formerly critical notions of mushroom fandom, you’ve got no excuse to let a meal pass without chowing down on at least a good few sauteed porty b’s. I said five to eight per day above, but the more I think about it, if you’re really trying to get even with your roommate—which is messed up of you, by the way—you should shoot for double digits. Sounds daunting now, I know, but it really is the only way to make sure your whole grocery-sharing arrangement is fair for everyone. A conversation would do the trick for some people, but I can tell, based on your pacifist approach to grocery shopping, that that isn’t exactly your forte.

Best of luck, and happy eating,



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