New Orleans, early june

an old man in suspenders and dickies, off work, beating the rain to the next bus, said to me in a quiet, crinkled, speculative voice: it’s god’s weather; and he knows what he’s doing.

a young man with an ecstatic smile asked me, at a bus stop in the rain, how my day had been. when I said the day had been beautiful (damp breeze, full sun): every day is beautiful.

I laughed. that’s true. when I asked him how his day had been, he beamed: can’t complain. I laughed. that’s true. that’s the truth.

and comparisons between new orleans and venice–the sinking cities, those romantically doomed shanty-towns with mildewed cobblestones and processions of ghosts; the ephemeral islands intent, with all their resident romantics, on going down dancing. all this with talk of real estate and climate change.

and how much of that densely-packed, winsome rhetoric unravels when we try to distinguish between an act of god, our own failures and our fables; when we try to make sense of the rain and the floods and the sea level and sinking cities and real estate prices and why the bus is always late when it rains?

someone, surely, knows what they’re doing?

I turn 29 in two weeks.
I’m trying to restore order visually, conceptually, by writing in my planner and making collages and measuring how much cereal I put in my yogurt.
the rain and the real estate, however, I will leave to their own devices.

universo (the loveliest ceramics & illustration!) / anthony cudahy & nicole reber / lisa says gah / opaqueglitter / toa.st

xoxoxo

lately

lately I’ve been working at a pseudo-european (spanish by way of spooky, soulful old new orleans, to be exact; untouched by time since about 1985) place. tiny, with tiny tables. unpretentious and unplugged. warm, with big cast-irons full of paella and small plates adorned with lettuce & shaved carrot garnishes–the latter just a swipe up the side of a hearty specimen with a mandolin, impassive, impressive, unassuming. sangria made with cheap jugs of wine steeped with honey and diluted with sparkling lemonade. sassy not classy.

so, hey, let’s all raise a glass of sangria–or, hell, whatever cheap wine you have handy–bust out the cocktail peanuts, and cheers to keeping it real, shall we?

furthermore: trying to “insinuate some resonance onto the plate with nothing but marrow and toast, butter and sugar”. Or, “Neon-orange Delicious over sweet-potato Righteous”.

@heavyslime / bon appetit

questions & answers

in light of oh-so-curated beauty brand glossier’s newest addition–serums–I wondered if everyone else wondered the same thing: what the heck is a serum? into the gloss, the proud parents of glossier, fittingly & unsurprisingly had the answers. they have all the answers. reading these whiz kids’ write ups on techniques and products is always informative, if not inspiring.

I’ve been thinking about questions & answers–fumbling through the index of war&peace for context, researching rilke when a spirtual friend referenced his modernist self-orientation & pessimism in context to her mediative practices, her understanding of the universe as an entity in lieu of god, and finding, aghast, that the poet had been appropriated by the ‘new age’ community. made up of folks like her who watch a lot of oprah.

do they understand the context–and do they care to?–of questions, even if present in psuedo-mystic poetry, on the self and society, on god and nature?

wondering about what constitutes or complicates cultural appropriation when a fabulous friend declared he hoped to emmulate the bold, whimsical, riotous  textiles popular in west & southern african sartorialism and was scolded about gay rights in said part of the world.

and then we talked about art as global, as shared, as lacking ownership and therefore, potentially, unifying, with glasses of wine and cigarettes in hand. straight out of some meandering godard film (watched a bit of his documentary on sympathy for the devil the other night; it was, of course, stange and beautiful and political. if not informative, inspiring).

sometimes, there are not really any answers, no objective truths. but one should always ask the questions.

the finer things

I will never understand fine dining.

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to my mind, it is the opposite of what food is about: it is showmanship, pretension, artfulness and extravagance as opposed to authenticity, warmth, nourishment, grace.
food should be simple. food shouldn’t be stuffy. food shouldn’t have rules, beyond this–use the best ingredients you can get your paws on, and let them shine.

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season them properly. don’t blanket them in cream. don’t make them into structurally-questionable monuments or playful science experiments.
food should make you feel special because it is literally sustaining you and is also–from grubby little carrots, that look like orange, chubby fingers to a perfectly roasted chicken, as golden and regal as a crown–the stuff of happiness. it is the basis of relationships not just between you and your friends, lovers and family, but between you and a cast-iron skillet & chipped serving bowl; between you and the earth, its seasons, its animals; between you and your own soul and sentiments.

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a couple of nights ago, I made one of my favorite soups–ribollita.
a thick italian vegetable soup with mirepoix as a base, several cloves of garlic and a whole head of parsley; tuscan kale, savoy cabbage, san marzano tomatoes, cannellini beans, and, this time, some itty-bitty pasta. the flavors are layered, cohesive, rich and round. it is thick, rust-colored, full of good things. it tastes simultaneously of blustery winter days and the heady last days of summer.

every time I eat it, I think: this. this is what it’s all about.

images: saipua, wednesday chef, brian ferry via modern hepburn, orangette, kinfolk, orangette