Eat like Bourdain

I’m not going to lie, tonight’s presidential debate has me wounded up like a spring of anxiety. So in lieu of reading about tightening polls, Russian hackers, shootings at a strip mall in Houston, or any of the other things in the world that will make me sad about the state of the universe, I ran in the light rain this morning, booked an extra yoga class this afternoon, and I’m going to spend my day writing and grading, thereby reminding myself that I can create meaningful things in the world and that my students are growing as thinkers and writers.

Oh, and dream about one day staying at the Chateau Marmont and eating like Anthony Bourdain.

I assume you only get to eat this much meat if you also are doing jiu jitsu daily, which I’m sure would break me. But I might be willing to make that trade off. Admittedly, Bourdain is more on the Gordan Ramsey side of cooking–what Jason terms the angry/yelling side of things that sometimes makes the task more complicated–versus the Jacques Pepin get an extra glass of wine and be a little lazy side. (Jason and a friend have a running scrambled eggs contest of the Ramsey vs. Pepin methods, ¬†one of which requires you to watch the eggs constantly and the other lets you drink coffee and not pay a lot of attention; I get to benefit from perfectly cooked scrambled eggs no matter the method.) So, the jiu jitsu is probably necessary self care for Bourdain. Still, it’s nice work to be able to travel, eat, and talk to people about traveling and eating.


Well any ship named Avalon can’t have a happy course, but I’m excited about the blend of the personal and sci fi in Passengers. The has been a dearth of both good sci fi and good romantic films lately.

Food Anxiety

This Food 52 article hits on a lot of the issues I have with how we talk about food today. Almost all food media discusses how to eat in the best, most ethical way possible without acknowledging the expense and time it takes to do so. It’s not like most families have unlimited resources and time to make the kinds of foods that culture then turns around and mocks Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop for suggesting. It’s a no win for most families: expense or guilt with no wiggle room in between.

In part, this situation exists because we’ve approached making changes in food production as a consumer issue and not a political one. Yeah consumers can get more organic milk on grocery shelves but that doesn’t mean the whole dairy industry has changed over to better production standards, which should be the ultimate goal. We’re also tone deaf in discussions of consumables about issues of class. No working class family can afford to buy organic milk which is two times per gallon what nonorganic is. Nor does WIC or food stamps cover organic milk. What food media needs to do, as this article argues, is provide 

Real, manageable tips that can be applied to daily cooking, to weekly shopping, that are better choices. I want to know about the big problems, of course, but I’d also like to see solutions, fixes, options that are both big and small. So that it’s easier to take action and harder to write these issues off as too big, too scary, too inaccessible to do anything about.

Small solutions for every family that doesn’t break the bank would be nice. I like goop and I’ve used some of those recipes. They turn out just fine. But I’m also not feeding a family nightly. I can’t imagine how you balance clean and ethical eating with kids who want chicken nuggets much the cost. 

Summer Olympics: Gymnastics


Fascinating article querying and exploring the world of gymnastics for women, and the body image issues alongside the reports of sexual abuse in years past. The question is apt, but the pictures of the athletes by Andres Kudaki at a competition at the end of the article are extraordinary. There is one of Madison Kocian, which I’ve included above, where her head and back are thrown back so far and her back leg curled so far up in a mid air split on the balance beam that the image makes it seem like the line from her neck to her foot is seamless; her body has almost wrapped back on itself.


The problem isn’t that my heart breaks for the senseless tragedy in Nice. It’s that my heart hadn’t healed yet from the senseless tragedies in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Minnesota last week or from Baghdad at the end of Ramadan or the Istanbul airport or Orlando. A small knot of sadness is centered somewhere on my heart as I struggle to both not be numbed by all this senseless death and struggle and to not to use up entirely my wells of empathy and sympathy. Is this what August 1914 felt like or 1939? The build up towards chaos seems omnipresent, even for me, an eternal optimist. 

Yet, hope abounds as we come together to sing, pray, listen, talk, and listen some more. My hometown did not descend into madness after five officers were shot last week. It turned out in force for memorial services and overwhelmed the Myerson with choir members. Leaders of faith of all kinds have joined together to work on what ways to move forward, to hope. There are mountains to climb toward understanding and even more toward collective actions that foment change. We have real, structural issues as a nation that we need to rectify. If I focus on the hope, on the ways we can move forward, if I listen, then I shift that sadness a bit toward healing. I don’t want my memorize of Nice to be the images of this week. I want it to be my first real cup of dark, hot chocolate at 14 and deep red cherries for breakfast. I want to remember rocky beaches and swimming in the Mediterreanean. 

Commonplace: William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
~ William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”