Miguel de Cervantes —
Spare your breath to cool your porridge.
Kitchari 790 xxx
photos by steven randazzo & bette blau (@whatbettefound)

2.17.17 Healing Vibes

Porridge is having a moment. It's grain-based and fits into the one-bowl meal trend. And it’s also supremely comforting—something we all seem to be in need of, now more than ever. (To say that porridge is "hygge," would not be a stretch.) At the Great Northern Food Hall in New York City's Grand Central, there is a Scandinavian porridge bar with all sorts of sweet and savory options. The latest addition to Jean-Georges Vongerichten's empire of restaurants at ABC Home, ABCV—self-described as "plant-based, non-GMO, sustainable, artisanal and organic whenever possible"—is serving congee, an Asian porridge, made with forbidden rice and millet. Further downtown, Good Sort, a vegan café in Chinatown, offers several kinds of congee, including a turmeric-and-coconut version topped with Champagne-poached cranberries. Porridge, a simple, easily digestible nursery favorite, is essentially a blank canvas for flavors and textures. Virtually any grain, from rice to oats to buckwheat, can be gently simmered in water, stock or milk—flavored at will with aromatics like ginger, chiles and herbs—until it breaks down into a pleasingly soft mush. What goes on top is another free-for-all: chopped toasted nuts, sprouts, infused oils, raw or cooked vegetables...

 

I developed a series of porridge recipes, the first of which is this kitchari, an Ayurvedic classic made with split yellow mung beans and basmati rice. I had such fun shooting with the supremely talented husband-&-wife team of Steven Randazzo and Bette Blau, who work together to create the most lush, richly textured images. They are masters of light and color, with a love of detail that really sets their work apart. We enjoy collaborating as our tastes—culinary and aesthetic—are aligned. (Remember this?) You can follow them here and on Instagram @whatbettefound.


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F. Scott Fitzgerald —
First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.
Pastis 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.9.17 Easy Does It

February has arrived and it's been brutal over here. The days are short and grey. The sun is elusive. Fortunately, the birdseed with which we carpet the yard attracts a lively crew of feathered friends that brings some welcome distraction. Prehistoric-looking wild turkeys stroll in on spindly legs and scratch at the snowy ground with their long toenails. Woodpeckers go at the suet cakes like red-headed sledgehammers. The stellar jays are pugnacious but the petite chickadees—the sorority girls of the bird world—never seem to notice. It's dark by 5:30 and, to be perfectly frank, thoughts turn quickly to cocktails. Just so you know, I'm not much of a drinker; have never been able to hold my liquor. Two cocktails will often be one too many, so I go easy. But lately, there have been a lot of sharp edges that need softening and there's something so comforting about the ritual of closing the day down with a drink. Know what I'm saying?


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Nora Ephron —
I have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them.
Potatoes 790 xxx
photo by steven randazzo & bette blau (@whatbettefound)

1.31.17 Small Potatoes

The events of the past week have been overwhelming, provoking widespread anxiety as well as organized resistance. When life becomes unwieldy, when the world turns into a place you can scarcely recognize, sometimes all you can do is focus on what's right in front of you. As I've said before, regardless of the momentous happenings, sooner or later it's time for dinner. I hope you're cooking warm, nourishing foods these days. Now more than ever, we need to keep up our strength and our spirits. When you break bread with friends and family, set politics aside for a moment and give thanks for simple deliciousness. Compared to the enormity of what's looming, it may seem like small potatoes, but sometimes that's exactly what we need. 


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Emma Goldman —
If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.
L g l 790 xxx
photos by george billard (except this one, taken by a stranger)

1.24.17 On the March

On January 21, 2017, I joined nearly a million activists for the Women's March on Washington. With my husband (constantly photographed because of his "Feminist As Fuck" sweatshirt) and my 23-year-old niece, who was visiting the East Coast on her way back from a trip to Israel, I traveled to the nation's capital on a bus chartered from New York City with 50 fellow marchers. We marched for women's rights and a host of other causes, including immigration reform, health care reform, environmental protection, LGBTQIA rights, racial justice, freedom of religion and workers' rights. It was a historic day that took place on the heels of Trump's inauguration and overshadowed it in terms of scope and passionate support. It was an enormous, effusive, peaceful and uplifting event that echoed around the country, and the world, in more than 600 sister marches.


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Mary Karr —
"There's been a death of sorts, but without a few days in hell, no resurrection is possible."
Larry 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.17.17 The Death of Me

Aging brings with it many unexpected aspects. Some not so good, of course; the many indignities of the body spring to mind. But now that I am able to look back over more than thirty years of adulthood, I am fascinated by this new perspective on my own life. Only with the passage of time, and growing self-awareness, do patterns emerge. Last week, the untimely and violent death of our resident grouse, Larry David, brought a flood of memories and associations that suddenly crystallized into something freighted with greater meaning. I'm not sure how you will receive this rather unusual story but I would love to hear your reactions. Please feel free to respond candidly.


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Tagged — rebirth, memory, death
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