Weekend Reading, 1.23.16
January 23, 2016


I’m publishing this post as a blizzard shrouds New York City in wind and snow. There’s already plenty of accumulation outside, and more to come. We have frozen soup a-plenty and are ready for a long day indoors–and I’m ready to get some of my coursework done, along with some meal plans for my January clients and a bit of batch cooking for next week. It’s already clear that this semester will be more work-intensive and challenging than last, so I’m trying to use these early weeks of class to get into a productive routine.

With that said, I did take some time this morning to catch up on weekend links and recipes, and as always, there was plenty to take note of.


Cranberry Orange Bread (Vegan)

Traci’s ribollita with warm croutons is just about the perfect cold weather comfort food: hearty, rustic, and though I’m sure it tastes as though it’s been simmering for hours, it comes together really quickly.


If you should happen to find yourself with half of a head of green cabbage lying around (for example, if you make my rustic cabbage, chickpea, and wild rice soup), then you may find yourself in the same position I did a few weeks ago, wondering what to do with it aside from slaw. These roasted cabbage wedges with garlic tahini and toasted pepitas from Beth of Tasty Yummies are your answer.


Mashed celery root, potatoes, and apples is one of my favorite wintertime treats, and for some reason I’ve been slow to prepare it this year. I’m feeling inspired now, by Lisa’s celery root puree with balsamic roasted beets and pearl onions.


Another recipe with tahini drizzle, yet more proof that tahini dressing is the way into my heart. But in this case, the tahini is only a complement to some delicious looking sweet potato and apple latkes from Maya of Spice + Sprout.


I would like for these chocolate covered strawberry macaroons to magically appear on my kitchen countertop for Valentine’s Day. Or any day. A beautiful, no-bake recipe from Kayley of The Kitchen McCabe.


1. Outside magazine has been doing a lot of cool stories about sustainability lately, with a big focus on food choices and a very positive spotlight on veganism. I really loved this story from Tim Zimmerman, which touches on so many of the big questions when it comes to diet and the environment. And I was happy to see that the article underscores veganism as a part of the solution.

2. Some of you may already have heard this story, as it was co-produced with This American Life. It’s a fascinating tale of how an olympian sprinter and a muscular dystrophy patient shared the same genetic mutation — and a look at how their shared gene led to muscle development at opposing ends of the physiological spectrum.

3. Krista Langlois takes a look at the culture of the Marshall Islands, which is now under siege as those islands become increasingly uninhabitable due to climate change. Many inhabitants are emigrating to the US, and often to the midwest–a landscape that is entirely foreign and unlike the seascape that has defined their perspective at home. This begs the question of how their culture can and will be preserved over time. Langlois sensitively profiles the lives and experience several immigrants in an attempt to answer it.

4. I loved this article on rewilding landscape from Robert MacFarlane. It’s a preview of his new book, Landmarks, which will be published in March. It is essentially an ode to lost language, to words in various local dialects that are being eroded over time and in relation to the disappearance of wildness. MacFarlane makes incredible connections between shrinking biodiversity and our increased alienation from nature, and the loss of the words and phrases that have emerged over time as a way of capturing place. “Why should this loss matter?” he asks.

It matters because language deficit leads to attention deficit. As we deplete our ability to denote and figure particular aspects of our places, so our competence for understanding and imagining possible relationships with non-human nature is correspondingly depleted. To quote the American farmer and essayist Wendell Berry – a man who in my experience speaks the crash-tested truth – “people exploit what they have merely concluded to be of value, but they defend what they love, and to defend what we love we need a particularising language, for we love what we particularly know.”

5. When you begin to explore a vegan lifestyle, you give plenty attention to diet, and often great attention to clothing and personal care. But what about interior design? I admit, it wasn’t a question I’d ever given much thought to–until I read Lila MacLellan’s new article about vegan dwelling spaces in Quartz.

And that’s it for now. I hope that you’re all safe and warm, and that you enjoy a restful weekend ahead. See you for a new vegan dinner menu plan on Monday!


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  1. My husband and I are thinking about buying a new couch and the thought of vegan decor is becoming more obvious. I’ve checked which paints are vegan (I’m in the clear) and now we just need to pick a couch. We might go second hand, but I’ve never understood leather. It is so uncomfortable! Especially in cars!

  2. Hey Gena–Just wanted to let you know I had the time this morning to read the whole article about the woman with muscular distrophy and the athlete she shares a gene with. What an excellent, remarkable story and woman! Thanks. (AND she was a writing instructor–yay for us English majors! 🙂 Of COURSE we can present difficult material to someone in their own field from outside of it. Oh, I loved that part a lot. 🙂 ) xo

  3. Thank you, Gina for so many helpful and interesting resources here. Those cabbage wedges, I can’t wait to give a go. I’m a big fan of cabbage! I especially loved the Outside Mag article. What I loved most about it is the quantification of diet on the planet and how food choices impact our environmental footprint. Good stuff. Thank you for the link love too. So happy to be featured.

    • It’s my great pleasure, Traci! I always love your recipes, musings, and words — and it’s nice to share them with my readers. Hope your Monday is off to a great start. XO

  4. Hey Gena, Glad you liked that article. I don’t think I had ever been so riveted by an article before! I liked how it also underscored the genetics of athletes. Not to discount her high athleticism, she is ripped but with extra help from her genes.
    I also liked how it underscored the need to advocate for yourself within the medical system and work with your team. What a smart woman.

  5. Hi Gena–Hope you are staying cozy in the winter storms! I really liked the roasted cabbage offering, and was also happy to see you posting an article about Robert MacFarlane’s forthcoming Landmarks. I read an essay by him that is part of the book a while back and loved it. All the other offerings look great too. Thank you! xo

  6. this is such a beautiful roundup of links! I am just about to check out those articles as I have my sunday morning breakfast/coffee 🙂 thank you so much for including my recipe in here! <3

  7. Celery root, potatoes and apples sounds like a wonderful combo. I may have to give that one a try as well! 😉 x

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