Welcome to our regular recipe column from teacher and stand-up comedian Sarah Gray. This time around, she shares a summer-vibes blackberry and fennel salad that’s hard to forget, unlike that self-care you keep forgetting to do.

According to the news, I have forgotten to do . . . EVERYTHING. I didn’t realize it had gotten this bad. No question: I forget 80 to 90 things per day—that I’m aware of—these numbers could really be much, much higher.


Upon rising I re-forget—after forgetting the night before—to turn the jam-packed dishwasher on. From there, I flow into forgetting to move the moist, two-day-old laundry from washer to dryer, thereby making Clothesbucha™—a proprietary fermented textile product I’m perfecting.

Next, I’ll shimmy over to forgetting which of my underwear are too tight and then which among my collection of all-natural, non-toxic underarm deodorants is NOT an impotent and worthless paste composed of elements that sharply boost the scent of B.O.

The news goes on to remind me that I have forgotten to kick up my donation to the ACLU from yearly to hourly. I forgot to take seven-minute power naps at work. I have 100% forgotten to take time out for self-care—specifically, I missed an earlier cue to massage my neck with charred, ground bones? Additionally—and the evidence is loud and clear here—I did not heed relentless reminders to strengthen my core.

Crazy Mix-Up

I failed to remember to not shop while hungry. And listen to this: Daily, during my morning commute, I forgot to do three sets of 12 kegels, or any kegels, despite the large Post-it Note emblazoned with a “K” covering my speedometer. It took getting pulled over for speeding to jog my memory about that “K.” 

Me: Ohhhh, wait a second, Officer. You’re not going to believe this crazy mix-up. I didn’t even know I was speeding—because of kegels—which I wasn’t even doing!

Officer: . . .  (writes ticket)

Photo Credit: Sarah Gray

Manifest Your Fortune

I also forgot to assemble an essential oils diffuser to improve my mood. I forgot to not take rejections personally, and I forgot to manifest my fortune. In fact, I forgot to act upon any of the thousands of suggestions given by Suze Orman and the tons of personal development mandates laid out by that Walks-On-Hot-Coals-Guy—I forget his name. 

I didn’t forget to shop local, but I forgot to bring my organic, reclaimed-fibers shopping bags.

One thing I never forget? Eating. According to a number of respected sources, including one from Dr. Whatshisface, there are specific foods we must eat to optimize memory and brain health. I can’t remember all the foods, but walnuts and berries top all the lists!

Salad Elegance

This summer forest salad showcases two of the best-for-memory foods. The flavors are deep and bright. This salad is a satisfying, fresh, visual heartbreaker. Gorgeous West County blackberries dance among the cool, local fennel greens. It’s like a morning walk in August through Ragle Ranch Regional Park. Plus, all the ingredients can be found at your summer farmers’ market. Simple to make and an elegant, gourmet stunner!


3-4 cups thin-sliced fennel root (2-3 whole bulbs with fresh, green, feathery fronds—avoid the bulbs with wet, clumpy, seaweed-like tops)

1 1/2 cups corn, broiled, to make about 1 cup toasty, chewy corn

4 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided (if you’ve got it, use the thick, murky, deeply grassy stuff here—try Petaluma’s McEvoy Ranch OO)

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

8-10 ounces fresh blackberries

1/8 cup very thin-sliced red onion

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1/2-1 teaspoon red chili flakes (depends how sassy-pants-spicy you are)

Photo Credit: Sarah Gray


• Toss fresh corn kernels with a teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

• Spread evenly over a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

• Cook under a broiler until flecked deep brown and blackened here and there, for approximately 3-6 minutes. Kernels should be a mix of chewy and crispy.

 • Add 4 tablespoons olive oil and lime juice to a large bowl.

• Finely mince the garlic and immediately add to lime and oil mix. This will “cook” and sweeten your garlic.

• Add 1 teaspoon salt.

• Clean and core 2-3 fennel bulbs. Save the feathery fronds!

• Slice the bulbs in half length-wise and then cut thin arched slices or half-rounds. 

• Slice about 1/4 red onion into similarly thin arches.

• Neatly tear away a cup of fine, feathery fennel ends to toss into the salad.

• Save some of the stemmed ends to ring the salad as a garnish.

• Decorate with fresh herbs like lemon thyme and lemon balm.

• If you have them, sprinkle contrasting, edible calendula leaves over the top—obviously.


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