Corn. Tomatoes. Basil. Peppers. Lime.
This was an adaptation of this Bon Appétit recipe, to which I added the grilled peppers – and, not pictured, a couple of hot Italian sausages. The title is not quite accurate, as I think we can all agree that the actual Platonic form of the summer salad should be prepared outside, on a charcoal grill, on a deck overlooking a sparkling lake. Continue reading
“Lunch Hour” is one of the most inventively curated, gorgeous, surprising, and witty exhibitions I’ve had the pleasure of exploring. It covers a huge amount of material lightheartedly and is a great exercise in cultural history, something I’m thinking a great deal about at the moment – what it is, exactly, and how to write or tell it well. The exhibition’s theme tracks major cultural changes throughout the twentieth century, in New York and beyond, as the rhythm of the workday changed, along with the place and nature of food within it. Continue reading
Astoria Pool, summer 1940
This is my current desktop image. I love all the high-waisted swimsuits. And that beautiful bridge? I’m planning to get married underneath it, in the park just a little beyond the pool. (I wrote about the pool, in its modern dress, last summer.)
[there are no photos of me running. For good reason.]
Well, the heatwave itself (apparently we’re on wave #3 for this summer so far) isn’t the draw, so much as the feeling that is starting to build that I don’t just want to run, but I feel bad if I don’t. I’m starting to like the focus, the rhythm, the achievement, and the very literal burn. I’ve run every now and again in the past, but I was a champion excuse-maker (bad weather, bad shoes, bad timing…). Of those, the only one that I’ve actually taken steps to solve is the bad shoes/equipment. It made a huuuuge difference to go down to JackRabbit and get fitted, on a treadmill, for proper shoes to correct my inward-leaning arches. Nagging ankle and shin pain? Gone. I feel properly supported and secure.
I realized that up until just now I had no category for “read” on this blog, but I want a space to talk about the books I’m not reviewing elsewhere and I’m not reading for work. That has tended to be a rather small category over the last few years, but I’m working to change that. So this is a space to talk about reading for pleasure, at random, for myself. I’m not on Goodreads or any other online book-exploring site, mostly because I’m not sure how it works and whether it’s worth investing the time. Anyone with strong feelings either way, let me know!
Anyway, Barbara Ehrenreich isn’t really a pleasurable read, but she’s bracing, like a stiff wind off the ocean in November. Bright-Sided came out in 2009, and I’ve had the galley for a while (which I love, because it’s emblazoned with the contact info of the publicity person at Holt, who goes by the extraordinary name of Chastity Lovely. I don’t want to Google her, but I do hope she’s out there somewhere doing great things.)
Bright-Sided, subtitled cheerily “How the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America” is a disturbing journey, making connections between phenomena that are often decried but not often (at least in my experience) shown to be interdependent: megachurches, corporate downsizing, CEO insanity-pay, “life-coaching” hucksterism, and desperate academic grant-grubbing. These manifestations of recklessness and hypocrisy are also linked with other, more apparently innocuous versions of positive thinking, like cancer support-groups, motivation exercises, and self-help books that try to boost readers’ flagging levels of personal happiness. Continue reading
On the first Friday of the month, the Noguchi Museum, just across the street from Socrates Sculpture Park, is open late, is free to get in, and serves beer and wine for $5. You can wander throughout the museum, which was originally Noguchi’s workshop, and admire the huge range of sculptures and designs he produced. If you only know him as a designer of lamps and infamous coffee tables, there’s a whole rough-hewn, monumental, granite-and-metal world to discover. Plus, the shaded gardens are one of the most peaceful places in the city:
Noguchi Museum. 9-01 33rd Road, LIC (at Vernon Boulevard). Weds-Fri 10-5, Saturday & Sunday 11-6. General admission, $10.
One of the things I love about living in a densely populated and wildly expensive city – seriously – is seeing creative solutions to the problems that that density and expense create. Specifically, the problem of space for creativity. Whatever the many flaws of Starbucks, it’s always struck me as one of the most convenient places in New York to park a laptop and get to work, mostly because it’s anonymous enough that I don’t feel guilty for mooching off the electricity and the bathroom facilities on the strength of one black coffee per two hours.
The quest for the perfect coffee shop to work in is one I take seriously – when I lived in Williamsburg, Atlas Cafe on the corner of Havemeyer and Grand, a couple of blocks from my apartment, came close to the Platonic ideal of the working cafe, where the food was good and cheap, the coffee generous, and the clientele earnestly hunched over MacBooks under a wall-sized map of the world made you feel a little guilty if you weren’t.
But sometimes you don’t want to traipse around for the perfect spot, or it’s Saturday afternoon and too noisy to set up your private-in-public desk, which is where the whole industry of workspaces to rent comes in. One day, I’d love to afford to work somewhere as gorgeous as the Oracle Club, in LIC, or Paragraph, or the Writers Room (which pointedly compares its daily rate to the cost of a double latte), but even those rates feel indulgent for now, like joining a gym which just makes me think that I should run outside for free, and admit that the problem is motivation, not space.
So I’ve been hunting around in the NYPL for a spot that’s not too windswept with AC and loud with tourists, and doing my best to make my desk at home workable. Then suddenly something new shows up. How about an office in a tree?
I’m sorry for leaving you all hanging, with nothing but scrambled eggs for company lo these many months. Let’s just say I fell into the Busy Trap, and I sincerely hope your breakfasts in the meantime were delicious. But it’s time to resurrect, and Lifesavour 2.0 is here! I’m hoping to post more frequently, about more savour-able things, from books to cocktails to travel to music to random pictures snapped on Instagram in the backyard of local bars:
backyard lanterns at Sweet Afton, Astoria
I’ll still be writing occasionally about food and sharing recipes, but in the full realization that the internet is full of people doing that much better than I do, and I have no desire to write a cookbook or open a restaurant. I am testing out the theoretical blog equation shorter + simpler = more frequent.
I also want to use this space to share a little more about my transition from full-time academia to a precarious but exciting mix of freelance writing, editing, and teaching. Inspired by the lovely and talented Brittney G., I might even share a piece of a story every now and again.
It’s good to be back.
Posted in write
Tagged blogging, write
Food for a day like this
I know that sounds like a bit of a joke. I am halfway through Gopnik’s lovely meandering cultural history of cooking and eating, The Table Comes First, and in the soft quiet of the first snow of the year, I made his scrambled eggs. It’s not a recipe, exactly, but it’s perfect, and reminds me of the way I was taught to make scrambled eggs, on a stool by the stove with my mother hovering, patiently stirring until the first scrapings emerged from the liquid. I don’t know how this gets so bright yellow and creamy when hurried, lazy scrambled eggs in a frying pan end up pallid and dry. Too good to wait to photograph, Gopnik’s description will have to do. Continue reading
Posted in taste
Tagged breakfast, winter
The finished dish. Bright wintry goodness
I was extremely happy to see a spread of Yotam Ottolenghi‘s recipes in the January 2012 issue of Bon Appétit – I’ve been coveting his book Plenty for ages, and this recipe gives a pretty good sense of his cooking – mostly vegetarian, fresh & unexpected combinations of flavors, and totally indulgent without involving bacon fat. As often with BA, though, I found the order of instructions illogical, so here’s how I *actually* did it, with my modifications. The original recipe is here. Continue reading