Weekend Reading
March 21, 2021

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I was horrified to hear about the violent hate crime in Atlanta this week. I feel grateful for Stop AAPI Hate and the consciousness that has been raised around its anti-racist work. But the rise of anti-Asian hate incidents, which disproportionately impact Asian women, is tragic and outrageous.

The murders happened this week against the backdrop of spring arriving in New York City. The first few days of spring weather always cause my neighbors to flood the park near where I live. The giddy effect has been heightened during the pandemic, as we’re all home so much.

My first few springtime walks have brought me back to the arrival of warmer weather last spring. I feel, as I did then, gladness for fresh air. I also feel anxious and unsettled by the memory. Like most people, I did what I had to do to get through the early days of quarantine. I didn’t realize how frightened and lonely I’d been till months later, when things were looking up. Remembering those days now makes me shudder.

Against the backdrop of what has happened in the last year, I find myself wishing for good news and signs of hope. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want this summer to be a little glorious.

But as I hope for good news and better days ahead when it comes to the pandemic, vaccines, and fewer social restrictions, I need to remember that the coronavirus was not the only struggle of 2020 and 2021. There was also an invigorated fight for social justice and anti-racism. The movement wasn’t new—activists had been working tirelessly for a long time—but the consciousness surrounding it changed.

I’m one of many white people who educated myself about being anti-racist for the first time, really, last summer. I examined my own biases and discomfort around talking about racism. I thought about ways in which I’ve caused harm by casually writing about recipes that are not from my culture of origin, failing to adequately educate myself about their history and own my lack of authority. I reflected on the how profoundly white privilege has shaped my life—something I’m still far from apprehending.

I’ve sat with this in the months since the protests last June. I’m giving it more attention this week, for obvious reasons. And I’m thinking about my desire for good news and good days to come. Good days for whom? Yes, I want life to be easier and more connected for me and my loved ones. But hoping for “better days ahead” should include everyone, all of us.

Betterment for our society isn’t only a matter of the pandemic improving. Covid-19 revealed inequities and injustices that were already there, already unacceptable. When the virus retreats, those injustices will still be there—unless there’s a human effort to change them.

Last April, a friend of mine posted a photo of an outdoor chalkboard that had been inscribed with Adam Zagajewski’s “Try to Praise the Mutilated World.” I saw it on Instagram and never got around to asking him where he’d seen it; I assume he passed by it here in New York City someplace.

When I saw the photo, I had to blink back tears. The world felt mutilated indeed at that moment. Zagajewski’s invitation to remember life’s simple and enduring pleasures—June’s long days, fluttering curtains, wild strawberries—was almost too poignant to bear. I read and reread that poem a lot last spring, as the future became increasingly uncertain.

After the wounds caused by the pandemic have healed, we’ll still have a mutilated world to contend with. There will still be inequality and violence. There will still be so much work to do.

Zagajewksi’s poem suggests that we love our world in spite of its brokenness. Today I think the important thing is to acknowledge that brokenness, to see it, to recognize what needs healing even as we celebrate what’s beautiful. Hoping for a repaired world isn’t a passive thing—it’s on us to do the mending.

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

Recipes

Wish I had a pot of Hilaire’s 30-minute vegan chili at home tonight.

I’d love to try my hand at vegan havarti wedges.

Olive pesto is a wonderful idea.

Lisa’s spicy tofu with creamy coconut sauce looks amazing.

I’ll take a dozen of Anthea’s Twix copycat bars!

Reads

1. Via The New York Times, a mother reflects on talking to her kids about anti-Asian violence and bias.

2. Scientists have identified the first compound that eliminates motor neuron degeneration associated with ALS.

3. I love the idea of incorporating a pay-it-forward plan into any stage of one’s career.

4. A fascinating exploration of what happens when we talk to animals.

5. Speaking of animals, this murmuration of starlings took my breath away.

Shockingly, I’ve done some cooking this week! I’ll have a few things to share soon.

xo

 

 

 

 

 

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    1 Comment
  1. I love your Weekend Reading posts. Thank you for using your voice and platform to speak out against racism.

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