Weekend Reading
December 12, 2021

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

This week felt like a blur. I was trying to get to the end of a work project that had been weighing me down for weeks. On top of that, I was dealing with the holiday season and end-of-year commotion that consumes so many of us in December.

At one point toward the end of the week, after a day of agitation that included subway delays, slow-moving crowds, and being late for everything thanks to my own silly overcommitting, I got to thinking about how lucky I was to be overwhelmed.

Seriously. I remember April 2020, almost two years ago, when the streets of New York were empty and there was nowhere to go, no one and nothing to see. I thought about the monotony, the sense of waiting for life to return without any certainty about when that might happen.

Then I thought about my day of running downtown and uptown and back again, the crowds of people that had waited with me for subway cars that were nowhere in sight, the fact that I’d said yes to a few more things than my introverted temperament can easily handle, the messy apartment and relatively empty fridge I’ve got because I haven’t been home much.

And I was so, so grateful.

What a gift it is right now to have slightly more work than I can handle gracefully, more plans than I can juggle easily, more festive things I’d like to see or do than I’ll have time for before Christmas.

How great it is to be alive and busy, to be hugging and connecting, eating and drinking and making merry (slightly muted holiday spirits notwithstanding).

Maybe I was a little frazzled this week, but if that’s the price to pay for life returning, I’ll take it.

Wishing you a week of feeling alive, whatever that might mean to you. Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.


Tis the season for edible gifts, and Sara’s chocolate hazelnut toffee looks delightful (for giving or hoarding selfishly).

I love Amanda’s stuffed acorn squash for a festive main dish.

A cozy, wintery mushroom risotto to warm you up on short days and chilly nights.

I’m not a big jackfruit lover, but I think I’d make an exception for this tasty looking jackfruit butter “chicken.”

What could be cuter than these vegan eggnog cupcakes?


1. This is my kind of virtual tour: around the world in 47 vegan pastries!

2. Laura Hoffman and her two siblings were triplets, and they were born prematurely. In this essay, she chronicles how her relationship with her body, which is smaller on the left side than the right, has changed through time, shifts in self-awareness, and medical procedures. It’s beautifully written and very intimate.

3. Connie Wang draws a lovely parallel between the tenderly cut and pitted fruit she was served as a child and life: “Life is filled with bitter and hard things. When you extract pits, piths, and peels, fruit becomes a reliable source of pure sweetness, only softness.”

4. Also on the topic of food and memory, I loved reading about Erica Gaetano’s tradition of making and eating pizza fritte (fried dough) with her grandfather.

5. Some fun ideas about how to beat the winter blues.

Now it’s time to wrap up the busy Sunday afternoon of this busy week. Sending you warm thoughts this evening,


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  1. Wonderful sharing Gena, thank you! Plus the additions below are great- I really liked the short essay by Laura Hoffman and have just now discovered the Cup of Jo blog! All the best to you and stay well 🙂

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