Lots of big firsts-in-a-while this week and last! First few subway rides. First couple of al fresco meals at local eateries. First indoor visit with my mom, though we still wore masks and kept distance. First time seeing a close friend or two.
I’ve been building up to this, along with other New Yorkers. Grocery shopping has gradually gotten less tense and scary. Errands and walking around outdoors feels normal-ish again. Wearing a mask has simply become part of my routine; I hang mine right next to my keys, and I grab it when I leave the house.
On Thursday night, I walked around a little bit after a dinner. The streets weren’t as bustling as they might be on a typical NYC summer’s evening. But for the first time in a long time, they felt alive again. Alive in the way that was, if not the same, familiar. It was surprisingly thrilling. I’ve missed the city’s energy and life more than I knew, and I already knew that I was yearning for it.
Just as I was processing all of this, I read a sobering article about what we can really expect from a Covid-19 vaccine in The Atlantic. It’s a reality check, as the title suggests. Much as I know that there are many perspectives on this, and they shift around as we learn more, the article seemed well-researched and balanced.
I suddenly felt discouraged and apprehensive in the way I’ve so often been through the last for months. And this experience—feeling so hopeful one moment, so full of doubt the next—seems like a perfect encapsulation of pandemic experience. There are things to celebrate and feel hopeful about, but the losses are incalculable, and so much remains unknowable.
If there’s any silver lining to consider, it’s that this is a profound exercise in befriending uncertainty. In my experience, making peace with uncertainty goes hand-in-hand with other important practices. It helps me to give up the idea of control. It encourages me to live in the present. It makes me understand that life is ever-changing and that many things can be true at once. The sobering realities that the Atlantic article reminded me aware of don’t negate the joy and appreciation that I felt being out among fellow New Yorkers on Thursday. Both experiences were real.
Right now, New York City is a pretty safe place to be. I’m grateful for this, and I’ll keep celebrating every small return to vitality that I see. I’m also mourning the suffering that continues in this country and around the world. I’m aware that things may not feel this safe for long. I fear the permanent loss of life as we knew it before this pandemic.
It’s all legitimate. Yet it feels especially importance to recognize resilience and hope wherever I can identify it. So I’ll keeping doing that. With a hopeful spirit, I’m wishing you a happy Sunday. Here are some recipes and reads.
This dish of charred sweet potatoes and butter bean hummus looks so wonderfully vibrant.
A colorful and summery vegan bagel sandwich with grilled zucchini and pesto.
Speaking of pesto, a beautiful pasta bowl with carrot top pesto.
These black sesame cupcakes with matcha whipped cream are stunning!
Another gorgeous dessert: Britt’s vegan lemon tart.
1. Odessa restaurant in New York City’s east village is one of many restaurants that have shut their doors during this difficult time. I enjoyed reading Robert Sietsema’s tribute to a local landmark. It reminded me of how I felt when Angelica Kitchen closed in 2017: so sad, yet so determined to keep the memory of the place alive.
2. I’ve read a lot of articles on the downsides of perfectionism in the last few years. This one examines how and why perfectionist traits can be problematic in the workplace.
3. I make plenty of caramelized onions, but I’ve never tried caramelizing zucchini. Maybe a fun idea for those of you with gardens full of it right now 🙂
4. I was inspired to read about Malone Mukwende, a second year black medical student who has created a guidebook for diagnosing dermatological conditions on black and brown skin.
5. One unexpected side effect of the pandemic: quieter oceans, which gives whales a break from noise pollution. The images of humpbacks in this article are so beautiful.
That’s it for tonight. Summery, simple food on the way this week.
I can’t help but notice that we’re almost halfway through February, which is insane. The month so far has been a blur, and I suppose that’s what happens when you’re out of commission for a week. Fortunately, I got to catch up on my blog reading this weekend, which was (as you’ll see in a moment) productive. And by the time I post next Sunday’s weekend reading, I’ll be in New Orleans with Chloe, which is something to look forward to. For now,…
I’m perched upon my sofa right now in a sea of pre-holiday mess: as-of-yet-unwrapped gifts, Scotch tape and scissors on the floor, a Christmas tree that needs watering and has been shedding needles without subsequent vacuuming from me, a countertop covered in flour for the bread that probably needs longer to proof than I have time to give it. There are unwashed dishes in the sink, work emails I meant to send before Christmas and didn’t, cards I wanted to mail to friends…
Happy Sunday, all. It’s been a long and tough week for everyone, and I hope you’re all finding small ways to rest and soothe your nervous systems. I don’t really have much to say that hasn’t been said about the current crisis. It’s really frightening, but it’s important for us all to keep calm even as we’re taking all possible precautions. My heart aches for those affected directly, but it also swells up each time I hear about an act of kindness or…
Hi friends, and happy Sunday. I hope you’ve all had nice weekends. Mine has been busy, but I’m looking forward to a quiet, homey day of work. In the meantime, here are the recipes that have been catching my eye lately — and the articles I read this week. Irish soda bread recipes are all over the web this week, in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, but I thought these Irish soda bread scones (vegan + GF) were a particularly creative and tasty spin on…