Weekend Reading
March 12, 2023

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I didn’t spring forward, as invited by the clocks, this morning.

I slept an hour later than usual, which made sense, given the time change. From there, I had an unusually unstructured Sunday morning.

Instead of panicking about laundry, cleaning, and writing this post—my regular Sunday responsibilities—I lay in bed for a while.

I read (for fun, not for work) over my coffee. I made a batch of my favorite savory turmeric chickpea oats and spent a little time planning for the week ahead. I didn’t hide from my day, but I didn’t charge into it, either.

I’m a fan of routines and habits. They keep me organized, keep my workflow moving, and they help me to manage my depression.

A few of my routines—weekly meal prep, scheduling dinner dates with my friends, yoga, monthly wine classes and live music, a few minutes of reading before bed—contribute greatly to my happiness.

Even so, I’ve been breaking habit lately, and it’s lovely.

I went on a trip, which was valuable not only because it was filled with life-affirming art, new friendship, and great food, but also because it was new and different from what I’m used to.

I didn’t get much sleep while I was away, but I’ve been sleeping uncharacteristically well since I returned. Instead of waking up in the wee hours of the morning, which is my norm, I’ve been waking up when it’s an hour later and fully light outside.

I’m happy to let my body do this. I’ve shifted my routines around so that I can make space for the added rest.

Shortly after the new year began, I started developing an ache that turned out to be a mild muscle strain from repetitive use. That, along with an unusually raw nervous system, encouraged me to vary my asana practice a little.

The ache is gone, but variety within my yoga has been great, physically and spiritually. I’ve reconnected with a few teachers I hadn’t seen in years, and it’s uplifting to chant again.

As the result of being in a new neighborhood, I’m eating out more than I have in the past few years. The nice, unexpected consequence of this is that when I meal prep or cook, I feel happy and satisfied to be doing it.

When The Vegan Week had just been published, I spoke frequently about my love/hate relationship with cooking. Meal prep, the theme of that book, holds me accountable to cooking whether I’m in the mood for it or not.

But of course cooking becomes a lot more enjoyable when I’m in one of my creative, motivated phases. I’m starting to see that micro-breaks in the form of eating out help to sustain the pleasure that I get from eating at home.

Alongside all of this, I’m making a concerted effort to streamline some things about the way I schedule and manage my workload. I’m far from figuring it out, but I’m working on it.

Most of the time, my sense of myself is that I’m a big creature of habit. There’s truth to this, but another thing that I’m leaning into lately is the reconsideration of any kind of rigid self-identification.

I can be a creature of habit. But I’m also someone who relishes new things and new experiences.

That trait is what made me change careers and make lots of pivots along the way. It compelled me to move neighborhoods last summer. It has driven my efforts to explore multiple lineages and philosophies within my yoga practice. And it’s the thing that encourages me to build new friendships, in spite of the fact that it’s sometimes difficult to do this within the busy rhythms and responsibilities of middle age.

I’m having a nice time affirming this part of myself, the part that craves novelty in big ways and small.

Sometimes, that affirmation is as simple as sleeping in and puttering around at home on an early springtime morning, with gentle light streaming in the window.

Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

I’m not having anyone over for Oscar night viewing this evening, but if I were, I’d make Sandy’s insane-looking vegan charcuterie board.

I have St. Patrick’s Day recipes on my mind, and these rosemary garlic roasted parsnips are among them.

Ongoing goal for 2023: make more homemade seitan! I tested out some seitan meatballs last night, and it got me excited. In the meantime, St. Patrick’s Day would also be a great excuse to try out Vera’s vegan corned beef.

My mom keeps asking me if I have a vegan mushroom soup recipe that I really love, and the answer is no. Kristina and Mitje’s recipe may change that.

Anthea’s lemon tart is such a beautiful, fresh dessert recipe for spring.

Reads

1. A friend sent me this New York Times profile of author and culinary educator Raghavan Iyer, who is publishing his final cookbook as he nears the end of his life. I thought it was so inspiring and touching. Maybe you will, too.

2. Can plants teach us more about cognition than AI? Maybe, according to this article, which is more broadly a fascinating glimpse at the complexity and sophistication of plant behavior.

3. Endometriosis can be difficult to diagnose and treat, and doctors often fail to ask the questions that would help patients to heal sooner, rather than later. This is one harrowing account of endometriosis that went undiagnosed for nearly 15 years. Hopefully, these kinds of stories will become more and more rare.

4. My heart was fully warmed reading about an Icelandic town’s collective effort to save baby puffins who had lost their bearings.

5. I loved this profile of Saori Kawano, the founder of Korin. Kawano was responsible for introducing generations of American chefs to Japanese knives. Her tenacity and fearlessness shine through in the article (I also love her tips for living).

I’m very aware of the fact that I keep promising to share new recipe posts, and there is a steady accumulation of new recipes that I’m sitting on right now.

I tell myself that I’ll write about them mid-week, but my nutrition work keeps pulling me away, and my clients have to come first.

This is all the more reason for me to keep trying to figure out a way to structure my work life realistically and effectively.

For today, I’ll jut say that I hope to share a new, already beloved pasta recipe with you in the coming days. Fingers crossed!

xo

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