My birthday is mere weeks away, and I’ve completed half of my birthday list. I expected to be further along by now, but “It is what it is,” as my mom would say. So many people have talked about new hobbies they’ve picked up during the pandemic with all of the extra time they’ve had. I’ve barely kept up with my usual chores.

I think most of my headspace has been occupied by the fear of dying or getting very sick or the fear of someone close to me dying or getting very sick. As many of you know, it’s exhausting. We’re coming up on a year since Allen’s friend contracted COVID and died, and there is still so much rage and grief. So I will pat myself on the back and carry on with finding 23 additional new things to do by the end of the year.

Since I barely leave the house, most of the birthday list consists of exploring new outdoor spaces and trying new foods. And let me tell you, I was excited to try this new food…

I squealed when I saw banana spread on an endcap at Trader Joe’s the other day. Long story short, I’m an Anglophile and discovered Fortnum & Mason’s banana preserves about 20 years ago. I would bring some home from every trip, which was occurring every two or three years for a while.

I have never seen banana preserves in the US, but I am also not one to scour the jam and jelly section of the grocery store. So let me know if I’ve been missing it. Back to Trader Joe’s: I snatched the banana spread off the shelf and clutched it in my hand. Well, it is a spread, I thought, so it could go either way. Might love it, might hate it.

So…I like it so far. The texture reminds me of baby food, but I’m trying to convince myself that it is more like apple butter. If you enjoy bananas, I think you will like it, too. It’s much better as preserves, but one takes what one can get.

Speaking of England, I was turned on to elderflower cordial when I saw it at a shop owned by an English woman in Brattleboro, VT, years ago. I always gravitate toward floral-based food and drink. So when I saw elderflower lemonade at the grocery store a few weeks ago (produced by the same company that makes the cordial), I put it in my shopping cart.

Overall, I enjoyed it. The drink was a bit too sweet for me, but I will definitely give it another chance. It might be best to cut it with some seltzer or sparkling water. Do you have any favorite floral-based food or drink?