This was past week was One of Those Weeks — a week that culminated on Friday, of course, with the US Supreme Court rescinding the equal rights of half the people in this country, with an eye to undo even more. I've been numb with grief and anger ever since. But the week started poorly too: Kin left town on Sunday for a quick business trip to Ohio. It's not the suitcase that makes Poppy sad; rather, it's when he puts on pants. And when he emerged from the bedroom wearing jeans rather than shorts, she put her tail between her legs, knowing her best friend was going somewhere and she wasn't. But Kin's flight from OAK to SLC was redirected to Boise, Idaho due to weather — and from there, the airlines told him that there was no way they could get him to Cincinnati in time for a Monday morning meeting. So he turned around on Monday morning and flew back to SFO.
Having spent the past decade traveling almost non-stop, the past couple of years have been very strange for us. It's not just that we've stayed in Oakland longer than anywhere else we've lived; it's that we've stayed in Oakland. I'm reluctant to return to the "friendly skies" — I mean, they were remarkably unfriendly before the pandemic, but now things seem to be far, far worse.
In addition to a brief stint in Idaho, Kin was in The City much of the week for some in-person events and meetings for work — even on Friday, when he turned 50. But as he wore shorts and not pants, Poppy felt morning assured when he left each morning that he'd be home soon — whatever "soon" means to a creature that has no concept of time.
So, what's good?
Lovely's is a fairly new burger joint near us — just a small kitchen in the patio area of Pitchers Brewing Company. They make some of the best burgers I've ever had — like, the idyllic version of fast food — and I was pretty happy when Kin said that's where he wanted to eat his birthday dinner. I ordered the fish sandwich, and it was the best fish sandwich I've ever tasted. I don't honestly remember the last time I ordered a fish sandwich from a fast food restaurant. (I don't honestly remember the last time I ordered from a fast food restaurant, period.) But it was perfect. The fries were perfect. And the dilemma now is that when we return, I'll be torn between ordering the excellent burger or the perfect fish sandwich or trying the chicken sandwich. It's not a bad problem to have. But it is, indeed, a problem. The other problem: I am lactose intolerant, and I didn't dare have a bite of the soft serve ice cream cone, even though it was made from buffalo milk. I tried to tell myself that somehow buffalo milk wouldn't bother my tummy — is this true, I have no idea — but I didn't risk it.
I told myself too that I was saving room for the almond-plum cake that I'd made for Kin's birthday. (He requested sticky toffee pudding, but I'm going to make that next week to celebrate his fiftieth and Kaia's return from Korea.) But I was too full to have any cake, something I corrected Saturday morning by having a slice for breakfast. I'm working my way through Yossy Arehi's Snacking Cakes cookbook, and everything I've made so far — mostly cakes that utilize the fruit in our CSA — has been excellent. Bonus for baking that only takes one bowl.
I've purchased a lot of cookbooks lately, and among my favorites are Julia Turshen's Simply Julia. I made the carrot and cashew korma last week, and it was spectacular. Turshen recently spoke to the CIA (the Culinary Institute of America, to be clear) on fatphobia in the food industry, and her talk is absolutely worth watching.
Both Arehi's and Turshen's cookbooks were recommended by friends; almost all the books I buy — cookbooks or otherwise — come to me this way. I love it when people make book recommendations, and not because I necessarily share someone's taste in reading (or, for that matter, in cooking). Reading can be such a solitary endeavor — it's why I enjoy listening to audiobooks with Kin (something we do in the evenings instead of watching TV). Reading together, reading the same books brings you out of the isolation silent reading and into an exchange of ideas. From the shared pages of a book, you can have shared knowledge, and even if you have very different reactions to a book, you will have the shared experience of having read it. And that can be so incredibly generative — intellectually, politically.
I mean, we gotta start somewhere.