Weekend Reading
December 27, 2020

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I had a funny Christmas.

It was sweet and peaceful in a lot of ways. Lots of quality time with my mom. But weird things kept happening. I walked over to a friend’s apartment on Thursday morning to drop off a gift. She’s not big on celebrating Christmas, but she knows that the holiday is special to me.

“How’s your Christmas?” she asked.  “OK,” I responded. As I did, I surprised myself by starting to cry on the street.

Something similar happened on Christmas night. My oldest friend, Chloe, called me around 8pm. She told me she just wanted to hear my voice and asked how my day had been. “It was nice,” I said. And then, “I miss you so much.”

And then I burst into tears.

That’s how the last couple days have gone. I’m basically fine, but the moment I see something poignant on social media, recall a holiday memory, or talk to a good friend, I can feel my eyes welling up. I’m happy and bright at the surface, with a lot of emotion moving around beneath.

I think this speaks volumes about how so many of us have survived the past year. We’re hanging in, doing our best, and functioning (sort of) normally from day to day. But we’ve had to bottle up so much grief and fear and sadness and anxiety just to get by.

My hope for the new year is that we’ll all be able to let some of this go. I hope that things improve for the world, for all of us. And when they do, I hope that each one of us can lay down some of what we’ve had to carry for the last twelve months, consciously and unconsciously.

I think I always make a comment at this time of year expressing my bewilderment at how quickly the year has gone by. But really, I can’t believe it’s almost the end of 2020. The last twelve months have often felt endless in their monotony, but it also feels like yesterday that I was sitting at home in the first few days of lockdown, wondering how long it would last.

Too long, obviously. Much too long. But I made it this far, and if you’re reading, you did, too.

Good for us.

Lucky us.

Here’s to brighter, lighter days ahead.

This virtual community has given my life joy and strength and meaning long before all community got taken online. I’m so grateful, always. But this year especially.

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

Recipes

It’s chilly in NYC, and I’m gazing longingly at Lucy’s cozy wild mushroom soup.

I can’t eat soup without bread, so it’s fitting that I’ve also been eyeing Sophie’s whole grain protein bread.

Very beautiful wild rice stuffed squashes.

I love the looks of this simple, vibrant green couscous salad.

Christmas is over, but my need to bake festive cookies is not. I love the looks of Lindsay’s vegan amaretti cookies (made with aquafaba).

Reads

1. NPR’s report on children’s wishlists to Santa this year is another thing that made me cry.

2. I loved this profile of Chawne Kimber, a quilter who weaves themes of social justice into her works.

3. Akilah Johnson and Nina Martin’s long form piece on how and why Covid-19 took a devastating toll on young black men is so important.

4. A sad, harrowing, and beautiful reflection on one wife’s promise to her husband and the illness that tested it—written by their son.

5. Some of the biggest science stories of 2020.

I’ll be checking in here with a recipe or two this week. But I’m taking this moment to wish all of you a hopeful start to the new year we’ve been waiting for.

Happy New Year to you. And may all beings living be happy and free.

xo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    4 Comments
  1. Hello Gena,
    Thank you for another lovely, heartfelt post. I think you are right about how much grief we have all stored up this year, and how that grief can come out in unexpected ways, including bursting into tears spontaneously.
    I don’t think, though, that this grief is going to disappear anytime soon. I don’t mean to make anyone else feel even sadder than they do already, but I think the sadnesses we have seen in 2020 — the terrible things that have happened as evidence of global warming and climate change (for example, bushfires or wildfires, depending on what continent you live on); the riots in response to racial violence; the pandemic itself and its aftermath — will take a long time to resolve. And it will require work from us, from each and every one of us (including, not least, our leaders), to find that resolution.
    Like you, I hope that 2021 will be better than 2020. But I think we may have to learn to live with our grief for a while, to accept that it won’t vanish overnight, to accept that there is work ahead of us. And, perhaps, though this will be hard, to go gladly towards that work. Love Rebecca xo

  2. My sentiments exactly! Tears are just below the surface. Thanks for sharing. Be safe, stay well and welcome to 2021 with open arms.

  3. Hi Gena! I know how you feel! When people ask me how I am doing, I always say “I’m alive!” What else is there to say? What a year it has been. I think it was a crucible kind of time. We will all be changed at the other end, for better or for worse. Thank you for sharing your warm spirit with us. Happy new year!

You might also like

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the tug-of-war between knowing when to persist with something and when to let go. Years ago, I wrote a post about not getting into med school. When I was writing it, I thought that I was telling a story of failure, of things not going the way that I had wanted them to go. As is so often the case, readers pointed me to a different, underlying meaning in the post. It wasn’t about failing…

Along with so many others around the world, I had Australia, its people, and its wild animals in my heart this week. At first, when I’d only heard of the fires and seen a few headlines, I thought to myself how frightening it must be. It was only as I saw images—images of fire burning, of smoke, of wounded animals—that I started to understand what was happening. Having seen those images, I was afraid to see more. This was especially true of any…

Four or five years ago, I had breakfast with my friend Kim. We were chatting about cookbooks and cookbook writing. I told her that I had criticisms, looking back, of my first cookbook. It isn’t the fact that the book focuses on raw foods. It’s true that the recipes in there aren’t really reflective of how I eat now, or my nutrition philosophy overall. But that’s OK. We grow, we change. In some ways, it’s nice to have that book as a record…

I lost track of yesterday, but I didn’t lose track of the thing that I wanted to share with you. It’s a post that I saw on Instagram, actually, and promptly shared in my stories. It’s from Tumblr and attributed to the author flowerais. It reads: a big part of being happy is being excited. be excited for everything – making a cup of tea, decorating your future apartment, seeing a friend again, falling in love unexpectedly, the next episode of a show…