In pregay times, I harbored fantasies of marrying a understatedly stylish, mannish woman; of designing a home that would one day be featured in Architectural Digest; of subscribing to Bon Apetit and eating foods with exotic flavor profiles; of having my name listed in programs as a “patron of the arts”; and of owning—until I got rich enough to own a Saab—a Subaru Outback. My younger brother bought the Subaru today. Can’t tell I feel about it, only that I’m glad that at least it wasn’t the Saab.
Gabrielle Hamilton gets real at the Piglet Awards. I can’t wait for her memoir.
I find reading a cookbook’s contents and deciding what to cook very similar to sitting down in a restaurant and deciding what to eat from the menu. I always want there to be a greater number of things I want than I can possibly eat, and I experience some anxiety when not too much sounds good or interesting. I had some of this anxiety with Dorie’s book. I did not want to make, for example, her guacamole with tomatoes and bell peppers any more than I would want to make a pissaladiere out of a Rick Bayless cook book. I did not want to make sweet and spicy cocktail nuts, or tzatziki, or gravlax or dieter’s tartine or cola-and-jam spareribs or pork roast with mangoes and lychees. I hope it is self-evident why I didn’t. I did not want to cook anything with a silly name like Hurry Up and Wait Roast Chicken. And I decided not to cook any recipes that were introduced as someone else’s, even though some of them sounded appealing.
I always travel with at least 3 books, but for this holiday weekend I stupidly only brought two, both of which I finished on the plane ride over. This was a huge mistake. Last night I was scanning my grandpa’s bookshelf (this was before I went to Safeway and bought a maple doughnut and 6 different food magazines) which is very small but held Sarah Palin’s last one and a bunch of Jan Karon novels. When his girlfriend (“partner”? “special friend”? it’s inconsistent) saw me looking for something to read, which at 8:35 pm meant that heavy drinking had been happening for at least 4 hours, she insisted I try Glenn Beck’s The Christmas Sweater. I said “No thanks.” She said, “It doesn’t have a thing to do with his politics, you know,” [HA.] and I said, “No thanks” again. My uncle said, “Your party colors are showing,” and I said, “I don’t care.” I think my inner petulant teenager is blooming.
That’s the word burning into my brain for the past 36 hours. In the security lines at the airport, or while gathered in clumps at the baggage claim. At the grocery store. Idling at the stoplight. You are insufferable. I am insufferable. We cannot suffer one other for a moment longer. How did we ever come to share so much in common? How did we make it this far?
Every year I feel something strong about the holidays.
I just want to say: It really helps to go to therapy the day before you leave for Thanksgiving.
Yesterday at my haircut I finally had the guts to tell the barber exactly what I want. Usually when asked what to do, I say something like, “Oh, you know, the same, just shorter—or whatever you think looks good.” But what I always want is for the pretty long part of my hair on top—which has nice waves and is a source of pleasure to run my fingers through—to be left in tact, and for the pube-ey, laterally-inclined steel wool that grows on the sides to be cut clean off. If I say, “I really like the length on top,” he’ll say, “Sure, so I’ll just trim the split ends and maybe thin it out a little bit and—” and fast-forward 20 minutes to when my haircut is exactly what I didn’t want: short and tufty, devoid of personality, representative of Idaho, where haircuts don’t matter. Anyway, happy to report that I know what to say now—”trim the sides, don’t touch the top”—and that I feel I’ve made great strides in the realm of my fledgling personal style.
from Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
Reading this book is a way of really testing yourself—Oh, yikes, you think at one particularly relatable passage, that stings; and then a few pages later you experience a crashing wave of relief when you’re alienated by a pattern of behavior that Knapp describes (Whew! Not an alcoholic after all!). It’s similar to when you use the internet to diagnose what looks mostly like an ingrown hair.
Exhausted and dangerously dehydrated, Moss was losing control of her body with every step. But she trudged on, pushing herself toward victory. The legs went first. A quarter mile after passing the Sizzler, Moss wobbled, then her knees buckled inward and she telescoped to the ground like a dynamited building. The moment she hit the pavement, her bowels cut loose, emptying against her will. The torrent breached her dainty, light-blue running shorts and moved down her legs, where the hot, acidic fecal matter stung her skin and the putrid stench tattooed the inside of her nostrils.
Overwhelmed by the feeling of helplessness, Moss sat on the road for more than two minutes. She was panicked, embarrassed, horrified. And yet, in some inexplicable, scatological way, she felt transformed. As she explains it now, “What you’re weighing, looking at the bathroom and the finish line, is: Can I ask more of myself, can I give more, can I suffer more? That’s what sports is. How fine of an edge are you willing to dance on? What kind of a mess can you live with? But you learn the answers only if you’re willing to go beyond your limits to that Star Trekkie place, where, you know, no man has ever gone before.”
What Moss is getting at is the ugly, smelly, essential Tao of Poo.” —It Happens, by David Flemming