Confessions of a Non-Herbologist

Under the “full disclosure” doctrine, and so people don’t accuse me of only revealing stories that make Ron look ridiculous, I will share a tale of my own stupidity and ignorance.

I recently received a package from my mother. I had forgotten my cell phone charger in Wales, so she took it home and mailed it back to me, along with some vitamins and other little things I couldn’t find in Cairo. In the box was a zip-lock baggie full of fresh green leaves. Considering the source, my mother the consummate cat-lady, I immediately thought it was catnip. (She had brought some dried catnip from her garden when she came over in February.) I handed it to Ron to dish out to the awaiting felines. He took some out, but sniffed it and said he didn’t think it was catnip and suggested it might be basil. Considering my never-ending search for basil, and failed attempt to keep the one basil plant I did find, alive, it was a logical conclusion. So I said okay, and put it in the kitchen without hesitation.

That night I attempted to make a pizza for dinner and thought I’d add some fresh chopped basil. So I picked some leaves, washed them, chopped and applied them liberally to the pizza. The pizza itself did not turn out well, as I was trying a new recipe, but Ron said it tasted okay despite its appearance.

A week later, as I kept forgetting to thank Mom and tell her how I attempted to give the cats basil for a treat, she asked me if the cats liked the catnip she sent.

“What?! You sent basil,” I said.

“It’s too early for basil,” she replied. “Besides, I don’t grow it. It was catnip.”


Pausing as the reality that I had served my husband a catnip pizza sunk in, I started to laugh uncontrollably. I was finally able to confess to her what I had done. Her only comment, between the laughter, was, “Did it make him sleepy?” I debated whether to admit my failings to Ron, but finally couldn’t keep it in.

The funny part was as I was confessing what happened to Ron, and when I told him the basil Mom had sent wasn’t really basil, he got this really worried look and said, “Was it pot?” I won’t even guess why Ron thought my mother would be growing and shipping psychoactive drugs, but I quickly told him no, it was catnip. There was definite relief on his face, but then I told him that I had subsequently served him a catnip pizza. One of the many reasons I love this man, is that upon finding out what his (true) dip-wife had done, he laughed. And I then confirmed online that catnip is not harmful to adults and is even used to treat anxiety, migraines and stomach cramps. (Whew!) I will now be searching for a Dip Wife class on herbs, leaves and other green bits.