The Awl: The English Language's 26 Most Important Letters
“As you may have heard, one of the alphabet’s most legendary letters, Q, recently announced that since he was only appreciated in Scrabble and when the New York Times wanted to seem authentic in converting a word from Arabic, he was retiring, which has left us thinking about the state of the…
11:27 am • 28 November 2012 • 13 notes
NY Times 100 Notable Books of 2012
Great list to 1. find new books and gift ideas and 2. measure how you did this year on the spectrum of bookwormery.
It’s time for my favorite annual moment of literary self-shaming! As much as I read, the percentage of the books that I’ve read on this list in years past have been embarrassingly low.
9:31 am • 27 November 2012 • 396 notes
This Talking Is Only Bravado: Add to all of this the headline-making fact that Rihanna appears to be...
Add to all of this the headline-making fact that Rihanna appears to be dating Chris Brown again, returning to her abuser as many abuse victims do, and it’s obvious why Brown elicits so much more vitriol than do other superfamous violent men—and it has very little to do with his race. Where…
5:17 pm • 26 November 2012 • 46 notes
Thoughts on Professional Eating
Gourmet magazine turned into something akin to pornography for me when I was 19. I spent much of that summer wasting away on a recliner in my parent’s living room, my nearly six-foot-tall frame carrying just 145 pounds thanks to the ulcerative colitis that was wreaking havoc on my digestive system. Rather than subjecting myself to the side effects of long-term steroid use, I took an alternative approach to addressing the disease: I cut out grains, potatoes, sugar, and pretty much everything else that makes food delicious and loveable from my diet. Since I was eating little more than fruit, vegetables, cheese and eggs, food was no longer a source of pleasure for me as it had once been. Gourmet became my paper-and-ink stand in for hedonistic eating.
Reading restaurant reviews, skimming over recipes and staring at images of the beautiful people at their beautiful dinner partiesdidn’t make me depressed, as you might expect. The magazine allowed me to fantasize about a better digestive state that would allow me to eat anything I lusted after rather than picking my meals based on health-related reasons alone.
What seemed like a life sentence of boring eating (in exchange for good health), only lasted for about a year in its most extreme form. And I’ve manage to more than make up for lost dining, particularly in the two years (and a few month’s change) of professional eating I put in at Tasting Table, which I wrapped up over this weekend.
Come next Monday, I’ll be at a new job, at TakePart, where I’ll be writing about food and culture. It’s a somewhat similar beat, but gone are my days of having an expense account for eating out at new restaurants as many as three or sometimes five nights a week. I’ll probably recall what was the most fun about that job responsibility/perk, namely the great dinners, but I’m also looking forward to a return to non-professional dining. See, eating with an eye toward criticism puts you at something of a disadvantage from the moment you sit down to dinner. Stupid menu language and trying-to-hard-to-be-trendy interiors will still bother me, as will bad bread, but I won’t have to invest quite as much thought into them anymore. And best of all, if I go out to dinner at a place I like, I can and will go back again—something that’s difficult to do when work requires you to always be looking for the next new, best thing. If the only restaurant I go to for an entire month is the Thai place across from my therapist’s office in North Hollywood, the place that serves the awesome crispy rice salad, that won’t be professionally damaging.
But who am I kidding? I’m going to miss that dining-out budget like hell.
1:50 pm • 26 November 2012 • 6 notes
An outtake from Holy Motors (from 1998).
11:06 pm • 23 November 2012 • 2 notes
There’s an uncomfortably skinny woman who comes to this Starbucks every day (or so it seems; she’s been here every time I’ve come here), and I can’t keep myself from watching her. She goes through a very calculated routine when she arrives, setting up a triangle of chairs for herself off in one corner: One to sit on, two as desk-like surfaces for things like a stack of napkins ( which uses to wipe down everything she touches and to very deliberately blow her nose), a book and a note pad. She makes me nervous because her routine seems to overwhelm her; each step gets in the way of the goal of all of this, which is unclear. It’s like watching my dog try to find the perfect spot to pee on, sniffing and lifting his leg, then spinning and sniffing and lifting his leg again, and repeat, a fruitless pattern that seems like it could go on for every without relief or resolution. I can never tell what she’s working on, or if she’s even able to get any thing done while she’s here.
10:44 am • 19 November 2012 • 3 notes
Non-traditional holiday option: possum. From Joy of Cooking, 1963 edition. Also, bear. #book #cookbook #vintage
The inferred slaughtering, preparation and butchering skills in this recipe are amazing. Not that I lament our collective loss of opossum/game prep knowledge all that much, but it’s interesting to consider how much a average cook was expected to know 50ish years ago and what most are comfortable with today.
11:06 am • 18 November 2012 • 52 notes