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Mental Sherbert

I needed a break from my own mind, a mental palate cleanse, if you will.


Like sorbet eaten between courses of a meal to clean the greases you have already eaten (there’s a appetizing visual) and prepare your stomach for the next intake of food, I couldn’t devour one more bite of information without a break. My mind felt an old kitchen drain caked with bacon drippings and lard. Mental Drano sounded a bit too caustic and felt like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Besides, I didn’t want to get rid of my thoughts and ideas, I just wanted to make space between them so they didn’t become Mental Goulash. Mental Sorbet sounded like a condition thus, Mental Sherbert was born. And no, I didn’t misspell it.


Sherbet? Sherbert? Sorbet? There’s a difference but I didn’t know that until I was firmly set in my ways and at this point, I’m not budging which is somewhat ironic given the fact that I write about, talk too much about, coach about and live with the foundational understanding that transformation is a constant and necessary aspect of life. I ask my clients to consider if they’ve drawn lines in the proverbial sand and what it might feel like to erase a few? How would letting go of some long-held, even stubborn ways of thinking enhance relationships? I teach that it is the nature of nature to change.

But I’m going down with the ship on this one. I feel like I’m trying to sound fancier than I would ever care to be when I say ‘sorbet’ which is pronounced “sor-BAY”. However, ‘sherbet’ which ends in the same “b.e.t.” as sorbet it is not pronounced ‘sher-BAY’ rather it is pronounced exactly as it’s written. This is ironic, in my opinion, considering the origin of the word ‘sherbet’ is from the Arabic word šarba, which literally means ‘a drink’ and is pronounced exactly as it’s written. But let’s keep going. Sherbet, according to grammerly.com, “came to English in the early seventeenth century through the Turkish şerbet, which is a form of the Persian šerbet, itself a derivation from the original Arabic word” all of which are still drinks.

So how did a fruit drink become a frozen treat?

Perhaps somewhere along this anglophone road some American guy named Bert declared it all nonsense, added some cream to his drink, tossed it in the freezer and created the delicious frozen delight many of us call ‘sherbert’. You can certainly call it ‘sherbet’, and we can still be friends, but even Merriam-Webster, and I quote, “thinks sherbert has earned its place as a variant spelling of sherbet.”

Now I’m no culinary historian but I’m prone to imagine it all started in the scorching heat of the southern part of the USA. I was born and raised in the true south. Go ahead, fight amongst yourselves as to what I mean by that but if you have to ask someone (especially Google) if your state is in the true south, it’s not. Yes, I’m talking to you, Delaware!

If there’s one thing true southerners know, it’s good eating and copious amounts of butter. Sherbert contains milk fat, also known as butterfat, whereas sorbet does not. Any southern cook worth her salt knows that it’s the fat that gives the flavor as well as salt which is why you will not find unsalted butter in my kitchen! I will admit that I, reluctantly, switched from full fat milk to 2% but if you ask if I have any sorbet in my fridge I’ll straight up tell you that I most certainly do not! However, you are more than welcome to some raspberry sherbert which you’ll find right next to the Blue Bell Southern Blackberry Cobbler. If you know, you know. If you don’t, you should.

The first time I ever said ‘mental sherbert’ was during a conversation with my husband in regard to a song that had been stuck in my head for hours. I’m one of those unfortunate people who suffer from stuck song syndrome (yep, it’s a real thing) also known as sticky music or the more disgusting term ‘earworm’. I really liked the song that had been playing on repeat in my brain but too much of any good thing is a bit nauseating. Like eating one too many helpings at the all-you-can-eat buffet, something had to give.

No sooner had I uttered the words ‘mental sherbert’ than all the thoughts of what I might do with that catchy phrase began to formulate in my brain. A blog? A book? A podcast? A tee shirt line? A game show? This is the blessing and the curse of many…the ideas never end and…the ideas never end.


Today, my Mental Sherbert has been writing this piece that may or may not become a blog or a story I share on an online publishing platform like Medium. (Surprise, it did!) I’ve recently started learning to water color which has helped me break the habitual thinking pattern. Tomorrow, I will, most likely resume some of the tasks that require focused attention to my thoughts but it will be with a cleansed mental palate. I’m ready because, like the sticky music, I love what I do. I just needed a little sherbert in between courses.

What is your favorite flavor of Mental Sherbert?

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