open sesame.

We have a phrase at my house that we use to describe someone who is especially enthusiastic about something minor or obscure. We say that the person is on the (Thing) Council. The idea is that there is a specific group of people who promote that thing to their friends, strangers on the street, perhaps even Congress. They buy giant billboards reminding you how great their thing is, and at the bottom, in tiny italicized print, it says "Brought to you by the Thing Council." For example, Josh is on the Breakfast Council. He regularly encourages people to eat breakfast, the most important meal of the day, and will happily tell you about how it boosts your metabolism and gives you energy and cures any warts you may have. He doesn't even really need you to be listening, he'll just go on and on about breakfast. That man loves breakfast. He goes to Breakfast Council meetings, held every third Saturday at 7:30 in the morning at a place called, oddly enough, Clarence's Friendly Lunch.

Anyway, all that is to announce that I have recently joined the Sesame Seed Council.

I can hear you scoff! You're probably thinking that sesame seeds are not good for anything except decorating the bun of your Big Mac. But listen here, I bet if you opened up a jar of sesame oil and gave it a big whiff, you'd realize that all the Chinese takeout you've ever eaten was gently flavored by the humble sesame seed (Indeed, sesame seed was the first seed they figured out how to get oil from). And if you've ever had hummus, then you're eating chickpeas flavored with sesame paste (called tahini, delicious and also fun to say). Sesame seeds are full of antioxidants, protein and the good kind of fat. The plant is hardy and survives in all kinds of terrible conditions, from drought to monsoon.

You really ought to show a little more respect to the sesame seed. And a good way to start would be to make sesame brittle! It's incredibly simple, takes no time at all, and I haven't been able to stop snacking on it. I found small packets of sesame seeds in the Latin food section at my local Food Lion. If you happen to have a Latin grocery store nearby, you could probably find bulk packages there for cheaper than the little baggies. Other ethnic food stores may also have it, as most cultures rightly place the sesame seed on a higher pedestal than a hamburger bun.

Of course, as soon as I realized how ridiculously easy it was to make such a delicious and unusual snack, I had grand notions of making a bunch and giving it away at Christmas in smart holiday-themed plastic baggies (with color-coordinated ribbons!). That may not happen, because my ambitions are greater than my motivation, but if you don't have that problem, this would be an excellent and unusual holiday snack gift. You could even include a nice educational card extolling the humble sesame seed. And at the bottom, you can put "Brought to you by the Sesame Seed Council."

Brought to you by the Sesame Seed Council.

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