The Winter Playlist 2017


XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.


I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.


I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way


than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

(pablo neruda)

/ it was not until i let myself love the fullest that i could give myself the space to heal /

(and to love again)

i wish the same finds you when you need it most. if it is this time – with all its lights and show – then i hope you are ready when it arrives

because i am sending all i can to you, too [stay warm] ❤

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Cocoa-Clementine Sandwich Cookies


Melt. And release.

A ball of clementine dough. Rolled atop parchment, it meets heat and spreads into what is next. It becomes,

and we start to see the rest as contrast

-tightening so that we know what it might be like to let go-

because maybe the intent and the impact can be irrelevant, even if they are related

[because perhaps no one meant to, even if it happened]

it is not worth it to hold on when you are water and the only way past the wave is through it

All will be as it will be.

(even if it is still becoming)

when both sides come together

(in the name of all that is tangy and chewy and citrusy and crumbly and chocolaty)

Fig, Feta, and Scallion Cornbread


I don’t know that I like holidays anymore.

And I don’t have to. They are a privilege, and they stem from privilege. We never consider everything from every angle. And, while changing perspective can be an important survival tool,

one does not have to be grateful

(or ready to let go yet) just because it is more socially acceptable to frame something a certain way. It is important to know when you have been compromised and when you are angry and that that anger can originate elsewhere and then redirect itself onto other things.

[nobody owes you their story]
[nobody should have to justify why you should behave decently toward them]
[nobody is a jerk for politely pointing that out]

and everybody is going to fuck that up at some point (because sometimes we define what is decent for us and what is not, and sometimes we are not considering where someone else might be coming from, and sometimes we are just too something to realize that how we are behaving in some way or another affects somebody else and this is why I choose to forgive even if it takes forever)

because invasion does not make a nice thing not nice
because a safe space is nice even if it has been invaded

-even if the clean up is ugly-

because I am a nice thing that is still nice even though it has been invaded

just don’t invade.


Think: a small plate with a square of sweet fig chew and feta salt and pungent scallion with dense cornmeal crunch beneath a slab of butter and drizzled honey set before you.

It is not inviting you to eat it just because it is delicious. It would be nice to try some. Here are the tools to make your own.

Thank you.

Colorful Kapusniak (Or, Polish Bacon, Blue Potato, and Red Cabbage Soup)


I understand now. This does not make it acceptable or okay. But. I do understand.

This is to say that I have realized

we collide.

And it can be so difficult to predict the various directions we refract from there, it seems.

Just think of all the places we have been,

and how no one is required to cater to you and how sometimes they might feel they have but you may not have received it that way and how this applies in the opposite direction(s), too, and how one person’s capacities can predict the reality of their experience and the experience of others

[and how they may not even see that happening when it is happening]

A whole world later, craving this thing I did not even want to consume when it was prepared for me and choosing colorful versions of all of its parts but even smelling it does not make it make sense, except

bacon and potatoes and paprika will always be right – no matter the expression – especially when the bacon is thick-cut and the potatoes turn blue and the paprika is also smoked and the cabbage is purple and the carrots are all of the colors with brine and spicy mustard when the bread meets the broth and we slurpcrunch

losing track of what was important all along in order to find it again ===> warmth

[Celebratory] Depression Cake


Well, well, well. Five years looks good on us.

Someone proposed to me recently that maybe our bodies remember the things we have encountered.

In terms of this website (and the memories I have stored), my body thinks of: Apple-Asian Pear Pie with White Cheddar Crust and Bacon Streusel, Zucchini Pizza with Lemon and Chives, Homemade Hibiscus Herbal Tea, and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cream Pies. Fondly.

Friends, you and I have had a very delicious year. Let’s celebrate with Depression Cake.

[can I get a womp womp?]

Also, it gets worse (lol)

You see, I ate this cake to commemorate pretty much everything that happened as a kid. This is partially because I could digest nothing. Nobody knew I had Crohn’s until I was almost 20, so I grew up on a very restricted diet. This is to say:

Everything we might celebrate with made me sick, except this cake. This cake, free of everything that wasn’t always available or cheap during the Great Depression, was something I could enjoy.

Birthdays and holidays and sad days were marked with this simple chocolate cake. I even remember a piece of it on my plate, snow piling outside, sitting next to Alexis after my dad died.

I made up my own version to mark our five years of cooking together. It has more cocoa powder in the base, and less sugar than usual, and I used real butter for its cocoa-coffee frosting. Vinegar reacts with the baking soda to make it *fluff* this time instead of milk and eggs.

What results is a delicate crumb, with just the right amount of chocolate, and the perfect level of moist. It’s uncanny, really. Some people call it “wacky” or “crazy”

[and the fact that those words substitute the original – depression – is problematic and indicative of a greater societal issue, just sayin’]

I digress. Let’s just call it what it is. Delicious. Celebratory. Five years. Holy shit. Thank you.

Monster Cookies


Apparently

A monster can be defined as, “an imaginary creature that is typically large, ugly, and frightening.” (Google)

Except. We do not imagine them. They are not monumentally creatures. They are not always large and ugly.

They are the things we do not want to face.

This is why we are afraid.


Apparently these cookies got their name because someone perceived the list of ingredients as “monstrous.”

I have seen worse.

Disclaimer: no fear was conjured combining peanut butter, oats, chocolate chips, and Mini M&Ms to make these cookies. I ate a number of them, and they all existed. They were a fair size, but nothing out of the ordinary. I even thought they looked pretty good. In fact, I really enjoyed every part of them. On many occasions. Would eat again.

If you figure out what is intimidating, please advise. Wishing you a spooky, scary Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.

Acorn Squash Bundt Cake + Honey Walnut Frosting


Years ago now, I made squash cookies. I remember freezing them so they would be out of sight. I remember you eating them from the freezer.

My favorite moment was waking up in the middle of the night wondering where you were. I suppose I didn’t like that part, but rather, what I found: cookies had been eaten, and you were asleep on the floor with your face in a pile of candy wrappers.

I had to accept that I will probably just love you forever, in spite of [ ]. And that is okay, because

I will love a lot of people forever.

And a lot of those people have either stuck around, or come and gone, or come and gone and come back to me. Some of them I haven’t met, just yet. Everything is best the way that it is, I believe.

I think of it in terms of my eyes. I woke up four months ago and they hurt. They hurt really badly. I came to view this as a physical manifestation of all the things I had seen, and what I still had to see about those things, and what I was replaying for myself to see in my mind (that maybe I didn’t need to see anymore).

I had taken on a new challenge at the time. It was a thing I had told you I wanted to do. By the way, it turned out, I could do it! And, in the exact location I told you I wanted to do it, years ago (when I was just fantasizing about something happening in my life).

The thing didn’t even exist back then. But, it has been here for a while now, and you have not been.

Anyway, months ago, my eyes got worse and worse, for months. To recap, I had taken on this brand new thing, and I had this eye thing, and then I found out about another thing, and it turned out that treating that other thing made my eyes a little bit better, but still not great, and then all of a sudden I was taking a Lyft to pick up my car when my vision came back because I unexpectedly had surgery and I don’t (can’t, won’t) ask people for help in my personal life these days.

I went to bed that night answering calls for my help from my new challenge, and then I was woken at 5:15am the next morning to more calls and text messages. Off I went. I did not prefer it, but I did what was necessary. I do not know who I have become, but I know that it grew from the person you knew.

I am proud of all I accomplished in-between.


and the reason I am talking about my eyes, I suppose, is because

they do not hurt anymore and when I look at them I appreciate them in a way that I did not when I felt entitled to them and I know some new things now that help me to better take care of myself which I am working on every damn day and to be clear all of this means something greater because sometimes things just need to reinvent in order to get to where they (and you) are going even if the getting there can be pretty ugly sometimes

like streaks of juice and gourd guts across the pan and smashed squash innards scooped from their shell, then blasted to oblivion but after,

[butter and sugar and eggs and vanilla to meet that sweet, autumn scent of cinnamon spice and a smattering of smooth, sweet honey and cream cheese and walnut crunch on top]

And meanwhile, you were the one who got yourself there all along.