Hmm Weekly for February 2, 2021

We like our Tuesdays buttered side up

Hmm Weekly for February 2, 2021


Ask The Sophist

Dear The Sophist,
I haven't spoken with my Republican relatives in five years. A close relative died recently, and there will be a funeral. I am torn between the guilt of obligation to attend the funeral, and a powerful desire to continue to not speak to these people. What do you think?

—Bereft and Begrudging

Dear Family Feuder,
You already know the handy maxim that completely covers this: funerals are for the living. You just need to apply it properly to your case. Here, it does not mean that you should skip the funeral on the grounds that the deceased, being deceased, won't care if you do. What it means is that you have not fully worked through the implications of the fact that your Trump-loving relations are dead to you.

If you won't talk to a person, why would you let that person dictate your plans one way or another? As far as you are concerned, your relatives have attained a condition of non-being. They do not matter to you. Therefore, they cannot prevent you from fulfilling your obligations—to yourself, to whatever living loved ones you may have, to your sense of proper human ritual—and going where you need to go, for your own reasons.

By not showing up, you would be granting the MAGA faction control over your most private sphere, and you would be ceding them the high ground. You would be sending them a signal, and the signal would be that the reason you don't talk to them is that you are some sort of weird hermit who doesn't care about family—that the problem is yours, not theirs.

This is the illusion that sustains their rotten politics: that they are the good people, who have good values, and they are in a struggle against their resentful inferiors. When they tell themselves this story often enough, they can tell themselves anything. They can convince themselves that 81 million other people, who desperately want not to live in a slaughterhouse run by a hate cult, don't even really actually exist.

Don't protect their fantasies. You are better than them, and therefore you do what a better person would do: you show up at the funeral and you honor your dead—the physically dead—by being the unapologetically alive self they loved. The socially dead, you leave for the buzzards, under the withering eye of the sun and God's judgment. Give them six feet of COVID distance and the same unseeing gaze you would give to some piece of tasteless funeral-home decor: you wish it weren't there, but you have more important things on your mind in your time of grief.

You may, however, temporarily acknowledge their existence long enough to tell them to put on their fucking masks. The silence is a gift, but it's not worth dying for.

Survey says…! Pour one out!
The Sophist

THE SOPHIST is here to tell you why you're right. Send your questions  to, and get the answers you want.


Here are the results of our latest Twitter poll. If you polled, thank you for polling!


Subject: hmmm. please sign me up. love the dandelion sandwich

—Manuela Hoelterhoff

I did not make the dandelion sandwich, but your choice of text brought back a delightful memory from my time at the College of Agriculture at Cornell. My roommate once plucked some dandelions growing outside our apartment and made wine with it. I was afraid of being poisoned but her education served us well. It was delicious.

She also taught me peeling (and often rinsing) produce is for suckers. Leave your broccoli alone!


Can the next poll be “Do you live in Scotland?” I’ll organise a Hmm-themed pub night once we’re post-covid! (The READER ENGAGEMENT DEP’T will wish to sponsor, I’m sure...)


Another Week, Another HMM WEEKLY

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WE PRESENT recipes for sandwiches from Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Copyright 1916, by David McKay, Publisher, and now in the public domain for the delectation of all, written by Marion Harris Neil, M.C.A., former Cookery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, author of How to Cook in Casserole Dishes, Candies and Bonbons and How to Make Them, Canning, Preserving and Pickling, and The Something-Different Dish.

There is a knack about making really good, appetizing sandwiches, just as there is about making anything else. Little knowledge is required in the making of these dainties; ingenuity, cleanliness, taste, a little artistic ability and a knowledge of what blends well is capital enough to insure a good sandwich maker.

Buttered slices bread
Chopped olives
Chopped pimientoes (canned red peppers)
Pounded sardines
Pounded hard-cooked egg-yolks
Shredded lettuce
Mayonnaise dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley

Spread a slice of lightly buttered bread with the olives and a layer of mayonnaise; place another slice of bread on top, buttered side up, spread with pimientoes and mayonnaise; put another slice of bread on top, buttered side up, spread with egg-yolks and mayonnaise; again another slice, buttered side up, spread with lettuce mixed with mayonnaise, and top with a slice of bread; place under a weight. Decorate with chopped parsley and serve cut in slices.

4 apples
2 tablespoonfuls lemon-juice
1 gill (1/2 cup) stiff mayonnaise dressing
2 ozs. (1/2 cup) grated cheese
Brown bread
White bread

Grate the apples and mix them at once with the lemon-juice; add the mayonnaise and the grated cheese, and serve between a slice of white bread and a slice of brown bread.
Another method.—Chop two peeled apples, add one cupful of stoned and chopped raisins, one cupful of chopped pecan-nut meats, the strained juice of a small lemon, and two teaspoonfuls of sugar. Mix well and spread between thin slices of buttered bread.

Baked beans
Grated cheese
Chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Buttered bread

Rub a quantity of baked beans through a sieve, and to every cupful of the paste add one tablespoonful of grated cheese, one teaspoonful of chopped parsley, one teaspoonful of lemon-juice, one tablespoonful of melted butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread this paste thickly between slices of buttered brown or white bread.
Or cut bread in one-fourth inch slices, spread one-half with the mixture, and cut with a round cutter having the same diameter as a doughnut cutter. Cut the remaining pieces with a doughnut cutter, and place these over the spread pieces.

If you decide to prepare and enjoy the above item, kindly send a picture to us at

HMM WEEKLY IS written by Tom Scocca, editor, and Joe MacOwl, creative director. If  you enjoy Hmm Weekly, please let a friend know about it! If you're reading this because someone forwarded it to you, we invite you to sign  up for a copy of your own right now. Thanks for reading, and any time you want, email us at