Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.
I’m only sometimes into soul-baring posts on this blog, but today constitutes one of them. Yesterday I came home, opened my mailbox, and saw a brown envelope with my name artfully written on the front. I was excited because it was a letter from my friend Julicia that I thought was lost in the mail. Julicia and I had been texting about it because she sent the letter from Philly weeks ago, but for some reason, it hadn’t shown up yet. The envelope was filled with stickers, tea, and other small surprises.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I got the letter yesterday after a two-week delay. Yesterday was the first warmish day we’ve had in St. Louis in a while. It beckoned spring and new beginnings.
It was also the first day that I started feeling like myself again after a tumultuous winter. The past few months have been rough for me. I had a couple health problems, a breakup, a minor fender bender, and some tough realizations about my life. I was forced to confront some truths that I’d avoided for a while, which is never a fun thing to do.
The one thing I can say, though, is that I was never alone through this process. Even when I deliberately tried to block out others and stay alone in my suffering, the people I love always found a way in. Whether they’re old friends from the past, family members, or new friends, they’ve expressed concern or given thoughtful advice. I’ve been grateful for everyone’s support.
I’m not going to go into the details of Julicia’s letter because obviously, that should remain between me and her. But the letter reminded me of a very happy time in my life, when we were both English teachers in France and exploring a new country on our own.
It also encouraged me to accept where I am in life without judgment. Society often tells us where we should be at a certain age, or what we should accomplish by a predetermined point in time, but it’s so important to ignore these preconceptions. We have to set our own path, as difficult as that may be, and focus on what brings us joy and value. It’s a lifelong process but I think we can make an effort to do it everyday.
I feel very lucky to have friends who remind me of what truly matters in life, and who help lift me up when I’m feeling down. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and a little more optimistic about the future.
Julicia, Rachel, Allison, Lyz, Lyndsey, Natalie, Mollie, Eli, Lillie, Kaitlyn, LeAnn, Anna, Stephanie, Tanya, Julia, Linda, Janet, Lynn, Mike, Melissa, Chelsea: Thank you for being you and for rallying around me when I needed it most. I guess this has turned into a mostly friend appreciation post, but I’m okay with that.
Without further ado, here is Dimanche:
Samin Nosrat is publishing a new cookbook and I can’t wait. Nosrat, who is best known for her previous cookbook, “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat,” and Netflix series by the same name, can do no wrong in my book. Her recipes give you the why behind cooking, instead of just the how, and always create beautiful and delicious dishes. Read more about Nosrat’s forthcoming cookbook in this Grub Street story.
If you’re in St. Louis and you haven’t been to the symphony, I’d highly suggest changing that soon. I hadn’t been in a few years and when I went last Sunday, it reminded me of how much I love it. The interiors are beautiful and they orchestra is so talented. Find out more about the symphony and view the concert calendar on their website.
This is my favorite McSweeney’s article in a while. I saw it and I laughed out loud at my desk at work. I think we could all find scenarios where channeling Lady Gaga’s guttural howl in “A Star Is Born” is appropriate. Check out the full McSweeney’s piece.
I’m visiting New Orleans for the first time this fall and I’ve already started to do research. I really enjoyed this Afar story with tips from local chef and James Beard Award-winner Justin Devillier on where to eat and drink in the city. I already have a long list but if you have any recommendations, please send them my way. Check out this Afar piece for the Chef Devillier’s recommendations.
The orange ricotta bundt cake is one of the best things I’ve had at Pint Size Bakery, and I don’t say that lightly. I stopped by the South City bakery yesterday on my way home from running errands and spent a few minutes devouring it with a cup of tea. Stop by the bakery if you’re in or around St. Louis.
I’m a big fan of Eater’s new travel guide. It gives restaurant and food recommendations for cities across the world. I was particularly impressed with their coverage of North America, because they didn’t just stick to big cities like New York or LA. Read the full guide on Eater’s website.
Nigella Lawson’s recipes never disappoint. I just made Lawson’s recipe for chocolate tahini banana bread and it’s one of the best things I’ve made in months. I’ve been eating it nonstop since it came out of the oven. Stay tuned for the recipe on my blog later this week!
I came across this story about traditional Turkish breakfast and I got really into it. Apparently, only one dairy shop in Istanbul prepares kaymak, a rich buttery cream and a typical Turkish breakfast item, the traditional way. I’d like to try it someday, even if an only semi-traditional form is available. Read more about kaymak in this Afar piece.
One of my favorite features every year is NYT Magazine‘s music spread. This year I especially enjoyed this interactive feature, “The Top 25 Songs That Matter Right Now.” Even though some of the songs admittedly don’t matter to me, a lot of them do. I liked reading more about Kacey Musgraves and other artists who are changing the current music scene. Check out the full feature from NYT Magazine.
Last but certainly not least, I’m going to make this roast chicken for one soon. I made my first roast chicken late last year and now, I’m on the hunt for an even easier recipe that produces similar, if not better, results. This recipe from Food52 seems to fit the bill.
Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started.