I’ve written about some very heavy things over the past few months. I plumbed pre-history to persuade the vaccine hesitant to get that first (and then second) shot. There was an essay about white women, true crime, racism and all the buried bones waiting to be found. My piece on how white communists, socialists, feminists, and capitalists tried to engineer society using kitchen design was depressing to write! And to read!
There have been some lighter moments! Like my newsletter about still sleeping with my baby blanket as a 36 year old. So many readers are still sending me photos of the baby blankies *they* still sleep with every night. Which just makes me so happy. And I am still getting emails about my piece on how ovulation affects the effectiveness of my ADHD medication. Everyone liked the macabre winking at Mary Shelley and graveyards in that one. And I had fun ranting about Instagram and Twitter a few weeks ago. Lots of you had fun ranting with me. So many of you have read my writing and shared it. Thank you. I will always work to deserve the time you spend reading my work. It’s an honor.
This week, I am not going to write about something heavy, or light, or in between. Instead, I'd like to share a few moments with you. Moments of listening, cooking, reading, writing.
Last week, I got to be on NPR’s It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders. It’s Been a Minute is one of my favorite podcasts and so I am still pretty gobsmacked I got to be a guest.
“Sam interviews women's work and economic justice writer Meg Conley about the documentary series LuLaRich and how vulnerable people still get sucked into multi-level marketing schemes because their shape mirrors the American economy. Then, Harvard Ph.D. candidate and Mormon Studies Fellow at the University of Utah Janan Graham-Russell joins for a game of Who Said That?”
NPR's Throughline always provides clarity and context. Their latest episode was a masterclass in understanding.
From Throughline, “In a sense, 1521 is Mexico's 1619. A foundational moment that has for a long time been shaped by just one perspective, a European one.The story of how Hernán Cortés and his small army of conquistadors conquered the mighty Aztec Empire, in the heart of what's now modern Mexico City, has become a foundational myth of European dominance in the Americas. This is the story that for centuries was largely accepted as the truth. But in recent decades researchers have pieced together a more nuanced, complicated version based on indigenous accounts, a version that challenges many of the bedrock assumptions about how European Christians came to control the Western Hemisphere. In this episode, the story of the fall of Tenochtitlán.”
I loved this suggestion from Victoria Chamberlin for a podcast episode with a better perspective. Nancy Folbre is a phenomenal economist doing incredible work in the realm of unpaid labor, childcare and the home.
Need a song for this week? This cover of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road from Yola is one of my favorite versions of the song. I’ve been listening to it on repeat.
First, the pizza I burned while ranting on Twitter about childcare. Even a little crispy, this Smitten Kitchen standard is a winner. We eat it at least three times a month.
Have you read Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner yet? It’s the best work on grief I’ve read in a very long time. It’s also how I found out about Maangchi, who the NYTs called “Youtube’s Korean Julia Child.” I love watching her cook and I love learning to cook from her. The girls and I are going to make her Beoseot-tangsu this weekend. Riley and I love mushrooms but we’ve had a hard time selling the girls on them. I hope this recipe is what finally convinces them mushrooms are magic.
You don’t really need me to write about wonderful Toni Tipton-Martin’s cookbook Jubilee is because writers far better than me already have. Like this from Tejal Rao,
“Toni Tipton-Martin’s cookbook “Jubilee” (Clarkson Potter, $35) is her follow-up to “The Jemima Code,” an annotated bibliography of African-American cookbooks. Alongside recipes for pork chops smothered in caper-lemon sauce and hot toddies, Ms. Tipton-Martin often provides a vintage version clipped from an old cookbook. Though few writers are better at using recipes as a way to look at the past, “Jubilee” isn’t a history lesson. It’s a celebration of African-American cuisine right now, in all of its abundance and variety, and a vital reminder that creative cooks are constantly adapting and updating it.”
When you make the Lemon Tea Cake from Jubilee, you’ll understand why it was named best cookbook of the year by everyone and won awards from everyone. It’s the kind of cake you want to share.
I just started The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles. I loved his last two books and have been waiting for this one. An interesting unwelcome aspect of my anxiety lately has been that I am having a hard time reading fiction. I don’t like not knowing what comes next, maybe. But more than that, I’ve lost so much trust in other people, I think.
When I read about a world an author created, full of people they created, I am trusting that author. Trusting their work is worth the pain it might cause me. Trusting they care for their characters, even when they aren’t “good”. And I am finding that...difficult to do. I don’t know what any given writer has decided should be on the next page. And so I am having a hard time turning to it.
I am not having that problem with The Lincoln Highway. Not because there is no pain or ugliness. It’s just that Towles has already proven to me that he writes with a great unflinching love for people and complexity. I trust him. I’m willing to risk finding out what he’s put on the next page. Even when I don’t like it, I know it will be worth it.
I am anxious for this manifestation of my anxiety to fall back a bit. I know it’s not ultimately serving me. But until then, I am grateful for authors like Towles. The New York Times loves Towles and his new book too.
Another book that was written with unflinching love? Pachinko!
When you purchase a book through my bookshop, you support this space.
I found this sign Viola made. She is ten.
A witch is a woman that is underestamiated in what they can do and what they do. So yes I am a witch. We got a lot of witches in here.
A year ago, Viola couldn’t read or write. Her dyslexia scrambled everything. We’ve gotten her into an environment where she can be taught the way she learns. Now her dyslexia doesn’t scramble, it stirs. (I think it’s important to be honest here. Getting her an education that works for her neurodiversity is expensive. We’ve taken equity out of our home to do it. Inequity in education and inequity in access to home ownership are tied in more ways than most of us realize. I wrote a series on that, if you’re interested.) After a year of education that suits her, Viola is reading. And writing about witchy women. My girl.
Viola’s love of witches was definitely developed by this amazing two part deep dive into the history of witches from Unspookable. Unspookable is a podcast for kids that I definitely listen to on my own.
Listening, cooking, reading, writing. Thanks for letting me share a few moments with you. Thanks for being here. Always.
We got a lot of witches in here.
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