February 2014

Lemons 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.28.14 Love & February Hot Links

It's bloody cold. There have been snowstorms, ice storms, windstorms and rainstorms. The grey skies have wept frozen tears; these have melted and re-frozen, accumulating in big crystallized drifts that are beginning to lose their charm. And there's no end in sight. We're heading to Florida for a few days next week to visit G's parents and I'm looking forward to a little sun on my face. My bones are cold. But my heart is warm and it's filled with love. I know, kind of corny, but I think this meditation practice has really helped me. I've also been reading Pema Chödrön's Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living and it's given me so much to think about. You might be the most depressed person in the world, the most addicted person in the world, the most jealous person in the world. You might think that there are no others on the planet who hate themselves as much as you do. All of that is a good place to start. Just where you are—that's the place to start. In other words, don't wait until you're better, or thinner, or happier, or richer, or less stressed. The time is now. For what? For whatever you've been putting off. Like loving yourself. Having real compassion for yourself. Start there.
Pema Chödrön —
Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us.
Plantains1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.24.14 Go Bananas

If there are any Puerto Rican, Dominican, Nigerian, Peruvian, Honduran or Jamaican people in your neighborhood, there are probably plantains in your local market. You've seen them in those dusty bins next to the waxy brown yucca tubers, hairy coconuts and ancient sweet potatoes, right? I'll bet you've never even given them the time of day. But if you've had Cuban food, you may have experienced the unforgettable pleasure of digging into a pile of soft, caramelized plantain slices, right next to your moros y cristianos (black beans and rice). It's hard to imagine that this delicious golden sweetness can emerge from such a black, wrinkly source, but plantains are sort of the culinary equivalent of pearls from swine. Read on for a gateway recipe to this ghettoized ingredient.
André Malraux —
Culture is the sum of all the forms of art, of love, and of thought, which, in the course of centuries, have enabled man to be less enslaved.
Meese 790 xxx
kissing cousins

2.20.14 City Mouse

About once a week, the Glutton and consort abandon their coveralls and shit-kickers, their nature walks and woodpiles, for the hustle and bustle of the big city. How else can we keep up with all the important goings-on and connect with the clients who make this rural existence possible? A mere two-hour drive southeast and we enter another world, far removed from our daily existence and yet deeply familiar—after 25 years of living in Manhattan, it's in my blood. My life is utterly changed from when I used to inhabit those mean streets, and I truly do prefer our little country cottage, but I can still appreciate all the city has to offer. It's actually been hard for me to relinquish that sense of being so plugged in to the latest restaurants, the new boutiques, the exhibits and plays that are the cultutral currency of a true New Yorker. I can't help imagining myself as both country mouse and city mouse.

You remember that children's story, right? Beguiled by his sophisticated city cousin’s amazing tales, the country mouse ventures into town. But his cousin has neglected to mention the deafening noise, the frighteningly tall buildings and those dangerous dogs! The city presents a spectacle at once gorgeous and disturbing. In the end, the reader comes to understand why the city mouse loves his exciting life and why the country mouse is content with his peaceful home. With a foot in each camp, I try to make the best of both worlds.

Betty Crocker —
And, above all: Think chocolate.
Snaps 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.17.14 Oh, Snap!

On Valentine's Day, I handed my husband my new copy of Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook and told him I would make him whatever treat he picked. He was hard pressed to decide. This gorgeous effort from Brooklyn's now legendary sibling duo is dedicated to the many uses of their artisanal craft chocolate. Its pages are packed with mouth-watering, full-page photographs in a hypnotically monotone palette of dark, mysterious browns. After gazing long and hard at various layer cakes, G chose the chocolate gingersnaps. I was thrilled because the recipe is simple and I love ginger. Little did I know how hard I would fall for these wickedly good confections.
Spanish proverb —
Las cosas claras y el chocolate espeso. (Ideas should be clear and chocolate thick.)
Beans 790 xxx
photos by george billard

2.12.14 La Vida Loca(vore)

Globalization means that you can buy Pringles wherever you travel. That plastic is the default material, even in the jungle. And that, no matter where you roam, a hamburger is not far away. But in rural Oaxaca, the locals have little money for these indulgences and outside influences are still regarded with suspicion. The indigenous Zapotecs live very close to how they have for centuries, farming the same crops as their ancestors and hunting and gathering in terrains virtually unchanged. It's a highly sustainable lifesytle, when avocados and pomegranates drip from the trees in your courtyard, and beans, corn and squash grow in the fields out back. A couple of goats or a cow provide milk, then cheese—the local quesillo is sort of like mozzarella—and, eventually, meat. These people don't have a lot, but they really make the most of it and they're proud of their traditions. I tried to sample as many local foods as I could, and it wasn't hard since those are what's featured in all the markets and restaurants. You don't exactly go out for Chinese when you're in Oaxaca.
P.G. Wodehouse —
Alcohol is a misunderstood vitamin.