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This is a story about a best friend, a birthday milestone, and vegetables with hummus.

We met working at MTV where our execs loved to stress its casual atmosphere. The dress code according President Tom Freston was no full frontal nudity (funny right?) or the higher up the food chain you move, the closer you can move toward the lips of staffers when you greet them hello and you get stock options too. Truth is that the place was not that casual. When asked what was it like to work at MTV, the response then was, “it’s like dating the most popular guy in high school, he treats you like shit, but at least you’re dating him.”

One year, the execs got all McKinsey on us and reengineered our division, resulting in excessive staffing of specialists to serve clients. With new staff came the need for team building exercises, which takes us to a sulfur-infested inlet near Key West, Florida.

We were tasked with building a raft from the following materials: rope, barrels, boards and four paddles, but it must hold your team members while you all paddle everyone around a buoy set about 30 feet out from the shore. My not-yet best friend Elizabeth and I were on the same team along with about six other people from our department.

We pieced together the flotation device without a hitch, but when the team climbed aboard, it began to dismantle. One or two team members hung off the sides, others carried parts that became detached, and then there were the four paddlers who had their work cut out to get this barge around the buoy. While you might think none of this matters in a career, it was a time of turmoil for us MTV elders who had lost position with the new hires and we were not in favor with the new bosses for reasons beyond this story, and then there was the ilk, which festered in the waters. Elizabeth and I, at the helm, began rowing while our passengers – the new hires – made helpful comments like “we’re not gonna make it,” “this wasn’t in my job description,” and “Sherri, you have seaweed on your shoe.” Then one voice rose above the rest, “Just Row!” Elizabeth shouted. Inspired, I joined in and like a 2-man crew on the Santa Maria we chanted “row” in unison until we reached the finish.

There are moments in life that reappear in a flash to get you through situations – and while not a career maker feat and rather insignificant at first pass, “just row,” like the friend who led the charge, has been my fuel to get me through many situations where turning around was simply easier.

When Elizabeth reached a birthday milestone, we celebrated here, a place for renewal and retreat. Unlike those retreats at MTV, we didn’t have mandatory tequila shots or hormonal staffers cross-pollinating (cork girl, you know who you are) or meetings that began “there’s a malaise in our office.”

Instead we chilled – with a glass of wine, a view from the heavens, and ate like birds because we were prepping forthis event. On tap, veggies and hummus, and since that time, I cannot get enough of this complete meal.
just raw

I offer up this amazingly easy mix of homemade hummus thanks to our gal Ina. Remember to get some chop therapy of your own as you prep vegetables to have on hand. So, when looking in the fridge at that leftover can of chocolate frosting knowing summer is just around the corner, you can go Just Raw.

Happy Birthday EMP!

Just Raw!

preptime: 10 minutes

makes about 1 1/2 cups

4 garlic cloves

1 can drained chickpeas (save the liquid)

1/3 c tahini (you should have this on hand anyway)

2 T chickpea liquid

juice from 2 lemons

1 1/2 t salt

6 dashes of hot sauce

  1. In small food processor, chop garlic.
  2. Add in drained chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and chickpea liquid.
  3. Blend until consistency you like.
  4. I add a splash of olive oil and toasted pine nuts to top.


  1. eric says Mar 15th 2012 12:25 pm

    Sherri, OMFG, that was possibly the funniest thing I read in ages. I’m laughing so hard I’m almost crying.

    I remember being on my raft with Sarah Miller and Henry. And how rancid that water was.

    Rosenthal came up to me and henry that night and asked us what we thought of the exercise. In unison we said “it sucked!”. Amazingly enough I stayed at MTVN for over a decade after that.

    When I got back from that trip, I bought a new pair of sneakers, submitted the receipt on my T&E and walked into Mark’s office and made him sign it himself.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.


    • Sherri says Mar 16th 2012 12:16 pm

      We aim to please!

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