A Newsletter #15

writing snacks

Newsletter #15, wow, they grow up so fast. If you’ve found your way here by some miracle but are not yet subscribed, here: let me help you with that!


me, as a snack.

I am on another “writing retreat,” a.k.a a time I lock myself in a place with bad cell reception alone for several days or weeks to try and accomplish a large chunk of work, because being alone in my apartment still provides far too many distractions*. Every time I do this, I am in a different place mentally, emotionally, and physically, but as I’ve noticed over the last few days, my eating habits are the same. 

*i love to vacuum, i’m probably just looking at my phone which i can do from anywhere, gotta try to re-fluff my couch, need to water all 73 of my houseplants

ROOM TEMPERATURE COFFEE, POORLY MADE

I am inexplicably horrible at making coffee, in any device in any style in any situation. I drink mine without any milk, cream or sugar then left to cool to room temperature before remembering I have made coffee and that I should drink it. Yes, I have purchased a “fancy” coffee grinder, but that’s as hard as I’ll try. Please don’t tell me to use a scale to measure out my beans or give me any other tips like rinsing the filter with water before making the coffee or pre-heating my mug– I will never do any of that. My coffee may be bad, but it is my coffee! 

RADISHES WITH BUTTER, SALT, AND MANY OTHER SALTY THINGS

It’s October, and as a way of mitigating the sadness that comes along with realizing it’s mostly onions and root vegetables from here on out, I like to buy purple radishes (available at farmer’s markets, but any and all radishes are great in my eyes) because, in a color therapy sort of way, they make me very happy.

I slice them and put on a plate with a large hunk of softened cultured butter sprinkled with an actual mountain of flaky sea salt. If the butter isn’t cultured when I buy it, I leave it out on the counter at room temperature long enough for it to kind of taste cultured (when I’m alone, nobody else has to know the difference between “cultured butter” and “butter left out at room temperature for a week”). This started as an accident and now is something I do intentionally. If this is bad for me, please do not let me know.

As I sit staring at a blinking cursor on a blank word document with my notebook by my side full of easy to read, thoughtful notes like: “chicken story?” and “cereal eaters”, I drag a slice of radish through the butter then dip it into the pile of salt, eating them like chips and dip. Sometimes this will accompany a soft-boiled egg and some anchovies, maybe a few green olives. If it’s salty, it belongs. When I was little, my favorite snack was sunflower seeds and my mom said I was like a little deer on a salt lick. I am, in many ways, still a little deer on a salt lick. 

writing snacks circa 2019, radishes, butter, and many salty things present.

POPCORN WITH NUTRITIONAL YEAST

These two foods are mutually exclusive to one another. If I am out of nutritional yeast, I will not make popcorn, and if I am not eating popcorn, I am not eating nutritional yeast. I hope that nobody ever has to open my laptop for any reason, for they would find that my motherboard is actually made entirely of nutritional yeast and popcorn crumbs.

HARIBO SOUR GUMMY BEARS

I “decant” an entire package of Hario into a small, preferably cute bowl to make it less humiliating that Sour Gummy Bears make up a substantial portion of my diet.

A CHICKEN, SEVERAL WAYS

Usually, this starts with one whole chicken, which is my favorite thing to cook as one person because I do so much (so, so much) with it. By design, nearly all of these things are things I can do without paying much attention, so I can COMMIT and FOCUS on the words, which are really just POURING out.

On the first day, I salt and roast it, usually with just some olive oil, maybe a few quartered onions, halved heads of garlic and sliced lemons underneath at 425° for about an hour. It’s a shame to not carve and display a beautiful bird (presumably the bird is beautiful), but typically I just end up standing over the chicken after it comes out of the oven, eat both the wings and call it a night, probably because it’s after 10 pm since I probably waited too long to put the chicken in and probably just ate cheese for dinner instead of a balanced, nutritional meal.  

a beautiful bird, for all my writing snacks.

On the second day, I’ll eat some more of the breast, maybe in a salad that looks like this. Then, I’ll pick whatever meat is left, put it into a resealable container to either freeze or finish up later in the week and start a broth with the skin, bones, and cartilage left behind. This broth will get whatever odds and ends I happen to have on hand: old, brittle thyme, half an onion I never wrapped, celery, because I always buy a lot of celery, crushed garlic, maybe some dried chiles, one lonely, wilted scallion. I enjoy my chicken broth to taste mostly of chicken and be high on the savoriness with almost zero sweetness (which is why I’ll never include a carrot- you can’t make me!). 

I will freeze some of the broth for later, then either drink the rest straight up maybe with a few slices of fresh ginger, cook dried hominy in it to make a version of pozole, use it to start a pot of beans, include it in the gravy for chicken pot pie, or simmer dried or canned chickpeas in it for a brothy chicken and chickpea soup with extra celery (like I said, I keep a lot of celery around). That’s like, 14 meals at least.

That last thing, the soup, has got to be one of my favorite things I have maybe ever made, which is really saying something from a woman who eats gummy bears and cheese for dinner.

That recipe will be coming next week, so please do “stay tuned” (subscribe). 

first iteration of chicken and chickpea soup while writing nothing fancy, circa 2018. and look, lol, more purple radishes.

Anyway, looks like a pretty well-balanced diet to me, so I should be fine! I’d like to thank my daily multi-vitamins and probiotics for pulling extra weight, and yes I did buy both of those things from Instagram ads because I am predictable and in the target demo for women trying to “achieve wellness” by scrolling on their phones, but I really do genuinely like both products! No, this is not an ad! 


QUARANTINE ACTIVITIES: INFORMED VOTERS OF AMERICA EDITION 

I won’t pretend to apologize for talking so much about voting right now, we have LESS THAN A MONTH to go and if that doesn’t stress you the hell out, then uh, I’ll have what you’re having. My voting plan: I have requested an absentee ballot in the event I’m not back in Brooklyn in time (the whole process took all of two seconds), that said, I have heard that IN PERSON (EARLY!) VOTING is the most secure and sure way to make sure your vote is counted, which you can STILL DO even if you’ve requested absentee (woah, looks like I have TWO plans). If you live in a state where you think it “doesn’t matter” which way you vote (it always matters, still matters, please dear god please vote), consider donating your time and attention to a race in a battleground district in that very state (Jackie Gordon for NY-2! Max Rose in NY-11!). Alternatively, consider supporting candidates in battleground races in states you don’t even live in but DREAM about visiting, like ~ARIZONA~ or *NORTH CAROLINA* (again, Swing Left will help you decide which races are tightest/ where the money will go farthest). The candidates I’m donating to this week are Marquita Bradshaw in Tennesee (s/o native Tennessean John Early for bringing this to my attention, I love you, call me!) and JAMIE HARRISON, who I could watch debate all day and night, in South Carolina. For more ways to help that involve doing things remotely (lol that is a trick, everything is remote!) follow DemoCrew2020.

surprised the ladybugs didn’t come up! (niche joke)

Thank you to everyone who bought a tote last week, you raised $2,000 for the Swing Left Immediate Impact Fund

This week, I am purging the prop closet that is my home and selling off some ceramics, plates, bowls, and other one-of-a-kind vintage items I’ve used in the past for cookbooks and other photoshoots. I’ve gotten great use out of these treasures, but have decided they all need new homes. 100% of proceeds will go to the Swing Left Immediate Impact Fund. DISCLAIMER: Pick up in NY only. SHOP THE THINGS HERE.

a sampling of the *stuff*

For the month of October, proceeds from paid subscriptions will go to the ACLU, who are working every day to fight voter suppression and ensure fair and equal ballot access. Learn more here.
Past supported organizations to put on your radar: The Okra Project / Food Issues Group / La Cocina / Heart of Dinner