Now Listen Maxine
You know you missed like three newsletters, right?
This was the first Spring where I paid attention every day. Where a post-covid outing to the grocery store on March 31 felt like the scene in a movie where the character finally knows how lucky they are. I walked to the park in dusk and darkness to see crocuses bloom and then daffodils, and then in quick succession, lily of the valley and lilacs and peonies. I saw full moons rise on a hill where Lenape Indians and American revolutionaries stood, at a time when the voice of the former is again being heard, and the voice of the latter has a new definition.
I moved through the dark of February and March, clutching each added minute of light like prayer beads on a string. I noticed what made my heart ache and where my body hurt when it did, and had time to sit and understand why. There was space and daylight to listen to others, to chat and catch up like a 50’s housewife with a clean kitchen and a full percolator. Listening without the urgency of getting to the end.
The Summer Solstice has been in my consciousness for years, yet this is the first time that the walk-up was too. Here we are at the headline event and what I feel is the loss of quietly blossoming days, time to listen and expand. Today, I feel us all here in the glare of a spotlight, hotly illuminating every broken promise and crack in our foundation.
May there be grace and a willingness to see clearly as the minutes of light unwind. May this Solstice be both promise and medicine - its unflinching light guiding us as we refuse to look away from the dark.
This tweet is two weeks old and makes me laugh every time I read it. God help the underpaid proofreaders of Fox News.
The Yiddish phrase, Mazel Tov is derived from Hebrew words meaning, “a constellation of good stars and destiny.”
Now that is a cocktail I’d love to have thrown through my window.
Bots are a dreadful source of darkness on Twitter. But Threadapp is the exception to the rule, a good bot that will compile a series of tweets into one bite for ease of sharing. Today was the first time I’ve ever used it because I was so struck by this letter from Charles McKinney, Jr. which is a perfect illustration of living in both darkness and light. An excerpt—
This is a raw, jagged, brutal moment for Black folks. And we have to be careful not to be reduced to an echo of the vitriol in which we find ourselves. We are not solely the history of fighting white folks. That is not who we **are**. We are double-dutch in summer. We are letting the air out of Big Mama's house. We are Uncle Ray's jokes on top of jokes. We are collards, second lines, and blue lights in the basement. We are swagger in the midst of chaos. We are reunions and step shows. We are the borough and the bayou. We are church till two, and the corner till four. We are a universe of experiences.
Our friend Folake Dosu works in marketing for Walt Disney, but she is also a stunningly hilarious writer and pop culture diva. I live for both her joyous homages AND her takedowns, so I was delighted to see the new website she created in her *spare* time.
The Culture is Virtual will immediately cheer you up, thanks to its sunny yellow page, but it will also direct you to events that will both entertain and inform. Hit this link and sign up for emails from someone who definitely sits with the cool kids at lunch.
Please feel free to read this email from Bill Penzey to anyone who says, But the looters. Their store in Minneapolis was destroyed during the protests and in this and several subsequent missives, Bill was all, THEY ARE PROTESTING INJUSTICE AND WINDOWS CAN BE FIXED PLEASE VOTE TRUMP OUT OF OFFICE, and I was all, I will buy spices from you till I die except for dried parsley because what is the point it has no flavor. Read the email. Order some spices.
Look what happens when we choose light.
Is someone inspiring you right now? I’d love to hear more about them.
Finally, I feel like recipes are something that this newsletter has been missing, so here’s one that has been a favorite since I first cut it out of the Kansas City Star sometime in the 90’s.
Lebanese Tuna Salad is a perfect summer meal - cheap and easy on a hot night. Give your naan a quick fry-up in a bit of olive oil sprinkled with salt and thank my friend Gina for teaching me such a great trick.
Dressing (I always make at least half a recipe more)
2 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt (sometimes I do the mashing. sometimes I don’t)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
Four 6 1/2-ounce cans tuna packed in oil (or water, whatever), drained and flaked.
2 pounds onions, sliced thin
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves (fresh parsley has taste, unlike its dehydrated cousin)
Naan. (Trader Joe’s frozen is great, but again, whatever)
Make the dressing:
In a blender blend together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic paste, and cayenne, with the motor running add the oil in a stream, blending until the dressing is emulsified. Season the dressing with salt. (I have a Nutri-bullet which does not offer the pour-as-you-blend-emulsification option and it’s fine.)
Make the tuna salad:
In a bowl toss the tuna lightly with half the dressing and mound the mixture on a large plate. In a large heavy skillet cook the onions in the oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes, or until they are golden brown, and season them with salt and pepper. With a fork scatter the onions over the tuna. In the skillet cook the pine nuts over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are golden and scatter them over the onions. Drizzle the salad with the remaining dressing and sprinkle it with the chopped parsley. Garnish the salad with the parsley sprigs and scoop it up with the chewy, crisp naan.
Serves 8 to 10.
Wish we could eat it together. Love y’all. Thank you for listening.