love.life.eat. of the week

love life eat of the week
When I was a child I preferred to stand on the edges of things always. Whether it was the edge of a subway platform or the ticker tape of frothy waves that divided the ocean and the shoreline, I needed to feel the rush of the divide. To regard all that had come before and stare out at all that will come. For the most part this is a solitary act. One can never stand on the edge alongside someone else because one needs to feel the intensity of the betweens in order to move forward. So while we collaborate and debate and decide by jury, our final decisions are made alone. While we are part of this wonderful collective of beloveds, we are at the core individuals, and when I spied this illustration from 53 (at right), it put my heart on pause. This year feels very much like Odysseus finding his way home, and while I can’t share all the specifics just yet (I know! I know!), know that the road ahead will odd, frightening, auspicious and unbelievably beautiful — everything this illustration depicts.
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And part of that journey celebrates my growing passion for France and all things French. My boss pointed me to this quirky tutorial series, French in Action. While you may wince at the fact that this is unabashedly 80s, you will learn French pretty quickly. I’ve also downloaded RFI and France Culture so I can hear people speaking {even if I’ve no idea what they’re saying} during my morning commute. And if I want to get real about moving to France, Pret-A-Voyager’s post is the most pragmatic how-to I’ve read in quite a while.

While I often complain that the online space has devolved into a hoard of shill-maniacs hocking their latest paid promotions (INSERT THIS VERY PERSONAL MOMENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY VASELINE!), there are still magical people in the space who consistently inspire, delight and ignite. I can’t believe it took me this long to discover the lovely ladies of 3191 and their quarterly. Tapas na Lingua’s words, photographs and recipes make my heart flutter, and Tiger in Jar’s infectious videos are a must-watch.

Simple is the word this week, so I’m craving this Orange Cardamom Yogurt Cake, this Sweet Potato Ravioli + Kale Pesto, this Creamy Avocado Linguine with Meyer Lemon and Arugula and this Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake. But in the event that I feel industrious, I want, want, want this Pistachio Baklava Cake paired with these Macadamia, Apricot, Apple and Sage Sausage Rolls.

love.life.eat. of the week

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love.: After working in book publishing, a beastly business that shows the unseemly side of publishing art, I found myself paralyzed — unable to read books for pleasure as I once did. It took years to undo this unraveling, but it’s worth it because I feel as if I’m in a bit of a literary renaissance. No longer do I care about the big books, the punch of the Believer-reading lot, I visit bookstores as if I’m a normal sort of person looking for something to read, and believe me when I say the ride has been nothing short of thrilling. I’ve discovered two extraordinary books this past month: Krys Lee’s story collection, Drifting House and Deborah Levy’s remarkable Swimming Home. While Krys Lee’s stark story collection focus on Koreans — emigrating (or fleeing) North Korea — coming undone, Deborah Levy presents us a family unraveling at the seams once a strange, fiery interloper is found floating in a pool. As Francine Prose so astutely reveals, “Swimming Home is unlike anything but itself. Its originality lies in its ellipses, its patterns and repetitions, in what it discloses and reveals, and in the peculiar curio cabinet Levy has constructed: a collection of objects and details that disclose more about these fictional men and women than they are willing, or able, to tell us about themselves.”

Next up I’m diving deliriously into Sarah Manguso’s The Guardians (update: read it in one sitting + it’s magical) and Alice Munro’s latest story collection. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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life: The new year holds so much promise, and I’m diving in, feet first into a bevy of culinary adventures. After a year of trepidation, I’m finally taking my first Sunday Suppers class. Consider this a cooking class cum dinner cum gathering with strangers who share one common passion: food. I’m also taking a puff pastry + eclair class at The Brooklyn Kitchen with a sweet friend, and I’ve signed up for French classes at the Alliance Fran├žaise (FIAF). And if I ever tire of New York, really tire of it, I’ll remind myself to tick off items on my dear friend Mary Phillip’s Sandy’s list.

eat.: If I could have any kale salad right now, this Christmas version would just about do. These pistachio, dark chocolate and olive oil muffins are calling my name in the worst way, while these orange cardamon scones will have me rethinking my almond croissant affliction. I’ve never met a bread I haven’t adored, so color me smitten with this simple olive version. Finally, you haven’t LIVED until you had the pillowy donuts from The Fat Radish, and here’s the recipe. YOU’RE WELCOME.