Sunday Sessions

So Many Links Edition

We are pushing through the eternal slog of winter and I have finally come to the realization that I’m going to have to buy the snow boots, and the new gloves, and the ear muffs, because I live here now.

New York is so beautiful at Christmas—a time when you don’t mind winter so much—but from January on, the cold just impedes you from going anywhere truly interesting. Standing on a freezing platform waiting for the next train? Dream about Central Park in the spring time. Freezing your ass off during a long walk to your next destination? Imagine the July 4th celebration you plan to have on the roof deck. I hauled out to Brooklyn three times last week, and on each trek, I just built an imaginary itinerary for Bear Mountain, or Trophy Point, or Storm King.

Spring can’t come soon enough, but while we wait we will eat, and read, and plan.

To Read

Women, even women of substance and stature, have been roundly overlooked by history.  Finally, finally, a few of these women get the recognition they so richly deserve. Thanks to my friend Olivia for this great find.

I remember waiting to present to an executive one time and wondering when someone was going to notice I was really just a poor kid from the south. That feeling never really goes away.

Despite being a corporate behemoth, SXSW is still producing some pretty good music.

This story.

Sometimes those winter blues get so deep in my bones that I have to find a way to maintain a glimmer of hope that spring is around the corner. For me, that’s buying out-of-season fruit: strawberries, and blueberries, and ohmygosh raspberries—all of which are from Mexico. Here’s why that might be a problem.

A nurse treated his own heart attack. What did you do today?

Okay, confession: I tried lox for the first time last month. The office hosted a going away party with glorious New York bagels, mounds of cream cheese, and piles and piles of lox. It was magical. So magical, that I refuse to have another lox experience until it can be at the very best in New York. This glorious display of Jewish foods and stories from Tablet magazine reminds me I am in a city built by Jews, and now is the time to eat.

Blame it on the fairytales you hear as a kid, but I always wanted a turret. Our New York apartment could fit inside most of these turrets (although none of them have our windows).

Some thoughts on assimilation food.

When I get a seat on the train, I am a reading powerhouse, so this week I finished My Absolute Darling, which is an emotional wormhole I enjoyed very much. Next up: Pachinko.

To Watch

David was generous enough to watch all of the movies with me this week. We both enjoyed The Florida Project and Call Me By Your Name (which is also a most excellent book). I had mixed feelings about Phantom Thread, but can’t deny it is a beautiful, visually rich film. A Wrinkle in Time was also a joy to behold (especially in a theater full of pre-teens), although you’ll have to look past all the plot holes.

The third and final season of Love came out on Netflix this week, and although I enjoyed the finale, I feel like I’m losing a quirky friend. Romantic sitcoms, when done correctly, can be a lot of fun, and I felt Love tackled the tough stuff better than Happy Endings, The Mindy Project, and New Girl, ever got close to.

To Eat

It had been a few months since I’d made a pie, so last week I pulled together the ingredients for my crowd-pleasing Chocolate Cheesecake. This week though, I’m thinking ahead to which of these 47 pies I’ll be making next.

Breakfast recipes, you say…

I love the idea of Nowruz (Persian New Year). Not only does it feel more wholesome and focused than our January 1 tradition, it encourages people to celebrate a new year by eating carbs.

All hail kolaches!

The Washington Post has a new food vertical called Voraciously, and reminds me a bit of Bon Appetit‘s new vertical, Basically. Both have given me a fair number of easy weeknight recipes that I can easily make into a dinner for one, like this one for polenta with cherry tomatoes.

And finally…

My best friend will undergo a bilateral mastectomy tomorrow and that is weighing heavy on my mind, especially because I can’t be there.

Even for someone as determined as my friend, preparing for this kind of life-changing surgery takes a wholly different kind of courage. I’m not religious, and I don’t fuck around with trite pink ribbons, but if you find a moment in your day to send good thoughts to my friend, it would be appreciated. 

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Sunday Sessions

Things to Read With Your Morning Coffee

Writing is longing
For a drip of tenderness
For a city less monstrous
For an old amiga’s smile
For a father’s phone call
For booty shakes & sledgehammers
For fury made regal & worn like a crown

Quiara Hudes

This week I finished my podclass. To be honest, I’m still kind of reeling from how much I learned and what I’ll do with that information next. Towards the end, I had reached a kind of delirium—I was spending somewhere between six and 20 hours of my week working on podclass projects in addition to the rest of my life—and commuting about an hour to Brooklyn two nights a week. It was the most glorious kind of haze, where you know eventually this will have all been worth it. And it was.

I listen to a lot of podcasts for my work with The Bello Collective, and I leave the class with a better ear for how stories are told. When I notice a less than perfect audio cut, I wonder what came after. When the music swells, I wonder why they chose to frame that moment. And where I once imagined a story in words, I now also imagine it as sound.

So, this is my final project. It’s about my friend James who is as talented as they come. James and I had an amazing first recording session—deeply personal and funny too—only it didn’t record properly and the tape was tragically unusable. We later recorded a much different second interview where we discussed his show The Outline World Dispatch. I’m of the opinion that interviewing someone you like will result in better sound. I certainly hope that’s the case here.

See you next week.

To Read

If my twenties were about the hustle, maybe my thirties will be about the medium chill.

It was not so long ago that the unit of measurement for home was not a house, but a bed.

Librarians are superheroes.

This is just a reminder: we can’t separate food from politics.

From beginning to end, this story rocked me.

Have we forgotten how to read? I’ve been averaging about a book a week so far this year (that is until the Olympics), and while I keep working my way down the list, there seem to be ever so many more to add.

Podcasting as soft diplomacy.

I think a lot these days about how and where I want to grow old. Sometimes, it’s deep in the mountains, down an old country road, with only the sound of crickets to keep me company. Other times, it’s in the middle of a bustling city, surrounded by art and access and people. Mostly, I think how I wouldn’t mind if a bunch of friends (and a few young people for good measure), built a baugruppe together and lived there.

To Watch

Legends of the Fall is on Netflix. Thank you and goodbye.

To Listen

I’ve really been enjoying a new series from Washington Post and WBUR called Edge of Fame. Check out their conversations with Weird Al and Ava Duverney.

This American Life has done it again.

You know the Roberta Flack song “Killing Me Softly”? Yeah, the woman who wrote it never got any credit (or money) for her work. Hi-Phi Nation talks about the ethics of cover songs.

To Eat

It’s still very much winter, and I’ve been dreaming about polenta.

While I’ve been commuting out to Brooklyn, I’ve been filling my shelves with as much Brooklyn Roasting Company beans as they will hold. If you’re coffee-minded, I highly recommend their collection. Right now my favorite is the Mocha Java.

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Sunday Sessions

Thanksgiving in February Edition

Today I’m going to a Thanksgiving-themed Valentine’s Day lunch party. I emailed the host to make sure I had understood the concept correctly—Thanksgiving dinner? In February? Instead of Valentine’s Day? Yes, she replied, that was the tradition.

Go ahead and mentally insert a heart-eye emoji here, friends.

My contribution will be Derby Pie, a hallowed Allen family recipe. The pie, of course, turned out fine, now let’s see if it survives an hour long subway ride to Brooklyn…

Read

When sex education fails to teach teens to think critically about sex, they will find other source material.

I have been on a reading tear lately and ten more books just arrived from the library. Looks like these will have to wait until March.

Poetry responds to Trump’s America.

I’m coming to terms with the mythologies of New York—sorting through them to find the truth.

Even Jimmy Buffett is not Jimmy Buffett.

These are the words men use to undermine women in the workplace.

Since I arrived, I haven’t stopped thinking about the role I will play in the inevitable gentrification of my neighborhood.

I didn’t even realize I was so hungry for this academic treatise on Wonder Woman.

Reading 100 Years of Solitude as a Southern manifesto.

Is podcasting the new soft diplomacy?

Watch

I love the bawdiness of David Chang, so I’m here for his new food show.

There are only two people in the world who have made me question my stance on wanting kids. Surprisingly, David Letterman is one of them. Hearing him wax poetic about fatherhood in his recent conversation with George Clooney made my ovaries hurt…just a little.

I put on Breakfast at Tiffany’s the other night and suddenly learned I had never actually seen how it ends. I thought it ended with her running away and Fred/Paul going upstairs to find an empty apartment. She will not be contained by the men in her life! Turns out, it doesn’t end like that at all.

I think I liked my ending better.

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Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions

Smile mural by jeremybrooks

Image: Jeremy Brooks

I went to the dentist recently and she said my back teeth had started to develop tiny fractures, most likely caused by grinding my teeth at night. What I wanted to tell her was that she could add to that all the days I had bit my tongue at something on the news or at the office that had left me incensed.

Those days are mostly behind me now, but the effects are permanent (I should plan on wearing a nightguard for the rest of my natural days, how sexy). It reminded me how important it is to be intentional—to order our lives in ways that bring joy, or at least balance—lest the effects, often greater than a nightguard, be permanent.

Wishing you better balance this week.

Read

I’ve gotten such pleasure out of the stories curated by Longreads–this one is no exception.

Keep an eye on Trump, but keep our focus on the bigger picture.

Janet Yellen: BAMF.

Clean labels are “more about catering to a culture’s fears and biases than the genuine pursuit of better-for-you food.”

As good an obit as I’ve ever read.

Dashboard Confessional is back.

Glen Weldon on why we fall down the podcast rabbit hole.

This is a fcked up way to do business.

Did you know most doctors will not even talk about a hysterectomy until you’re 35? As someone who has suffered through debilitating periods, fibroids, and even a tumor, I call bullshit.

If appliances designed for the male ego are what it takes for parity in the kitchen, I guess I’m in.

That time Mr. Rogers appeared in Esquire.

If you do this, you are a bad person.

Listen

I’ve fallen a little in love with The Paris Review podcast.

The Bedtime with Babish podcast has been helping me with said teeth grinding and insomnia.

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Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions

It’s rainy here, so I’m looking forward to a day of reading and letter writing interrupted only by bouts of laundry.

Read

Look: side hustles are sometimes necessary, but finding ways to cultivate interests that are just for you—that’s where the joy begins.

“This child has two parents. Please alternate calls. It’s his father’s turn.” The incredible perseverance of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

My friend Sameer had no idea what he was doing when he posted this story about panettone. What followed was an hours long rabbit hole of panettone recipes and videos.

A meditation on cities.

After this video was over, I wanted to stand on my chair and clap.

“There is almost no building other than a library where everyone is free to sit down without need for money or an explanation. It’s comforting to be among other people without obligation.”

In Britain, the average sandwich takes 3.5 minutes to consume. In the US, I’d bet it’s less.

It takes me an hour each way to get to and from my podcast class, so I’m catching up on a lot of reading. I just finished Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, and it was as good a book as I’ve ever read about class systems and feminism. I’ve had mixed feelings about The Hate U Give, Uncommon Type, and Little Fires Everywhere. What’s on your shelf this year?

Listen

The New York Times sat down with Tonya Harding.

Watch

The End of the F***ing World was a delight.

Eat

This recipe for Brussels sprouts—found in the comments of an Instagram post—were maybe the best I’ve ever had.

I grew up on Bisquick pancakes, but in our tiny kitchen, who has room for extra boxes? Turns out homemade pancake batter is better anyway.

David has invested in an Instapot and thus began “Instapot Fridays” in the Lusk-Allen house. Send us your best recipes (bonus points if they’re veg-friendly).

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Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions: Live from New York

We’re not exactly snowed in, but the streets are still in such an unpleasant state that it kind of feels like I have cabin fever. Here’s what I’ve been catching up on this week.

How Dollar General Became Rural America’s Store of Choice, Wall Street Journal

Analyzing Race and Gender Bias Amid All the News That’s Fit to Print, New York Times

Being a Doctor is Hard. It’s Harder for Women., New York Time

The Reading Life with Parul Sehgal, Book Critic at The New York Times, SSense

Federal Employees Consider What It Would Take for Them to Walk Out the Door, New York Magazine

It’s Really Hard to Come Up with 5 Decent Men…Even in Fiction, Electric Literature

Keila Pulinario Thought Prison Was Tough. Then She Had To Find A Job., Buzzfeed

A Scientific Explanation for How Layers Form in Lattes, New York Times

The Reckoning, New York Times

Algorithms are bad—really bad—for journalism, Poynter

Mario Batali and the Appetites of Men, New Yorker

A Hillbilly Syllabus, Chitucky

Generation Screwed, Highline

Immersive, Powerful Journalism from 2017, Josh Sterns

Deliverance from 27,000 feet, New York Times

A History of Women Who Burned to Death in Flammable Dresses, Racked

The Story Behind the Music of The Muppet Christmas Carol, Vulture

Business Schools Now Teaching #MeToo, N.F.L. Protests and Trump, New York Times

A Friendly Guide to How the Body Decomposes, Buzzfeed

The angry, witty, adventurous life of Jay Caspian Kang, Columbia Journalism Review

I Have a Message for You, New York Times

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Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions: The Return

Thursday is Thanksgiving, making these next few days the most wonderful time of the year. After a few weeks off for travel, I’m glad to be back right here with you on Sunday morning.

Read

A stunning story from the New York Times on the people who sleep and live in Walmart parking lots.

I’ve written a few times about The Bello Collective—a publication about the podcast industry that I co-edit with two other women. This week, we were mentioned in The New Yorker magazine, and it is like all of my life choices have been validated.

The mythical whiteness of Tr*mp country.

Esquire seems like an unlikely place to find a death positive story, and yet here we are.

Over at Suspension-Solution, my friend Matt invited me to talk about my first beer.

Same.

Some weeks I’m a podfaster, some weeks I’m not. Are you?

I love Honey Nut Cherrios. Oops.

9 experts ponder if there is a way to fix Facebook.

The letters of John Updike.

Tangerine still lingers with me years later. Keep ’em coming, Sean Baker.

Watch

The always spectacular Tracee Ellis Ross with the advice you needed.

Before you watch Alias Grace on Netflix, learn why it ranks up there with The Handmaid’s Tale in describing our times.

Listen

I usually give a new podcast two episodes to show me what it’s about. Currently, I’m tuning in to Battle Scars, The Paris Review and Closer Than They May Appear.

Here are a bunch of shows I discovered at the Third Coast Festival last weekend.

Do

If you’re on Twitter, go follow this list of incredible female journalists.

 

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Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions

It was a really crap week. There was bad news at work. My best friend still has cancer. Jack engaged in hours of inconsolable crying and a refusal to return to our apartment. Like, stopped-in-his tracks, run-out-into-the street-instead-of-re-enter-our-apartment-anxiety. Fuck.

I try to remind myself that there are bright spots though too. I met Sameer, my pen pal, for the first time this week and he is as lovely in person as he is on paper. A good friend of mine is poised for a well-deserved win. Impromptu omelets and gelato with my neighbor. A hug from my best friend at the end of a 40-minute drive. The way HELEN FUCKING ZALTZMAN and ROMAN MARS sometimes just casually slide into my tweets.

And this list. I read and watched a lot this week and I’m so happy to be able to share it with you. Sure, these times are tumultuous, but they are creating art and action—two things we can always use in great supply.

Read

I am so here for micro-fiction. Give me everything you’ve got.

Let’s be friends and celebrate Jolabokaflod.

Paris, I love you.

This data makes me rage.

The man who fell for Jane Austen.

Chirlane McCray has my full attention.

I can’t imagine covering the news in this environment, but still, this is no time to get sloppy.

I have nothing but extreme gratitude for the many mentors and sponsors in my life.

I’ve pulled the ironing board out of the closet, so come back soon, David.

And finally, these, just because they are beautiful and fun.

Watch

This video is 11 minutes long, but it is an impressive piece of investigative reporting.

I wasn’t a big fan of Stranger Things, but, you know, the zeitgeist. The sequel, though, is a lot more fun.

At $1,300 a night, I won’t be staying here anytime soon, but, oh, if I could.

Listen

I regularly listen to exactly one food podcast…until now. Monocle’s The Menu hits all the right spots.

These days Adams Morgan is more baby strollers than rock clubs, but I can still appreciate my neighborhood’s hip early days.

This delightfully unsettling episode of Here Be Monsters probably ranks among my favorite episodes of any podcast ever.

I casually tuned in to Nancy on my walk to the gym last weekend. Halfway there, I stopped to sit on a bench and give this episode my full attention.

I am shook.

For me, Richmond, Virginia, will always represent my figurative adolescence. Having spent summers there in my teens and early twenties, it became the bridge between my childhood in the semi-rural south and my adulthood in an urban metropolis. Now, Richmond has its own podcast about the city’s complicated history.

Eat

Friendsgiving is on hiatus this year and I am wrecked about it. For all my introverted tendencies, I love a good dinner party.

Pondering ways to make this black-eyed pea stew vegetarian friendly.

Ignore the lack of punctuation and just take the advice.

I legitimately have two years worth of parm rinds in my freezer right now. Time to make some make some cheese broth.

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Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions

At my core, I’m someone who wears her heart on her sleeve. For a long time, people made me feel embarrassed about those emotions.

“Why are you crying?”

“It’s not that funny.”

“Calm down. There’s no reason to get excited.”

“Wow, you really just say what you think, huh?”

“Honestly, you use too many adverbs.”

And even still, these emotions lived very publicly because what else could I do? They were me and I am them.

But then, this past year got really weird and really hard and the balance of my feelings skewed towards a lot more bad days than good ones. I found myself trying not to feel much of anything at all. It turns out, not feeling anything is pretty terrible too.

I take comfort in the total unoriginality of these feelings. I know others feel similar anxiety. I know I’m not the only one looking for the bright spots. My dear friend Sameer wrote openly about deciding to go back on his medication for depression after a decade away from it. My very talented buddy Nikki talks about rediscovering the wholeness of our lives.

As for me, I’m trying to reset the balance of emotions. If I don’t love my day job, I can at least find meaning in my free time. I am learning new things again. I am exploring risk.

It’s not adverbs spilling everywhere, but it’s something.

Read

An interview with Amy Tan.

The story behind this picture.

“Print still makes me gasp with delight.”

Nine books for when you need stories to be a defiant act.

Did you know that Mailchimp (yes, the email company) invests $1 million dollars a year into helping the Atlanta arts scene thrive?

Lincoln in the Bardo was awarded the Man Booker Prize this week, a prize it very much deserved. Go read this book. It’s format will make you uncomfortable. Good.

Listen

Imaginary Worlds brings you the story behind Disney’s Haunted Mansion.

Watch

The animated film My Life as Zucchini moved me to tears.

A whole channel of Elizabeth Moss projects, please.

Eat

I fucking love biscuits. They are basically the perfect food.

When I became (mostly) vegetarian, I decided to figure out tofu. After a number of botched attempts, my friend Sylvie took me out to Eden Center and showed me how magical it could be when properly prepared. Now, I can’t get enough of it. You don’t have to be vegetarian to find delight in such a simple product. Washington Post offers up these 8 ways to prepare it.

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Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions: Bounce Back Edition

David and I lived through shared food poisoning. That’s really all you need to know about last week.

Read

The real story behind Steel Magnolias.

Frances McDormand is one difficult woman.

Sometimes we find kindness is unexpected places.

We always knew this was going to hurt.

I have heard nothing but praise for this difficult story.

A conversation with Tom Hanks will cure what ails you.

And finally, these are good for a chuckle (or a canceled wedding).

Eat

I walked a mile to Trader Joe’s last night looking for this cake, which is usually found among their shelves. Seems like everyone else had the same plan because they were sold out (don’t worry though, I walked home with an entire box of eclairs instead).

Listen

More Perfect is back.

I am transfixed by the Polybius Conspiracy right now.

A whole list of podcasts of, by, for women from the Bello Collective.

I saw an Apple commercial and noticed the name of this band. Wondering if it was real or not, I looked them up and I must tell you, I am delighted.

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