THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #196

LOVE:

Concentrated Vegetable Stock:

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I have really enjoyed my Hello Fresh subscription. I readily admit that it’s overpriced and that the menus are sometimes spectacularly boring. Still, I love having a variety of new options for dinner. I love cooking, but I seem to cook the same things all the time: pizza, risotto, salad, popcorn, more popcorn, tacos, popcorn. It’s not at all diverse. So it’s really quite wonderful to have raviolis and grains and avocados show up. I have even learned that I don’t hate the things I thought I did, which is probably the weirdest thing of all. Turns out I quite like butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Even more shocking is the fact that I enjoyed eating a poblano pepper. The dish that contained poblano was honestly one of the best I’ve had so far. And it included cilantro…which I hate, but I didn’t hate here. It’s all peculiar. But this little post is not about all that, it’s about these little packets of concentrated vegetable stock that frequently arrive. They look like little ketchup packages stuffed with an unreasonably delicious stock base. I grew so obsessed that I bought a box of them on Amazon so that I could add them to every meal. It transformed an omelette I made for lunch this weekend. I sautéed some garlic and kale and then added a package of stock to this. I put this delicious combination into an omelette stuffed with goat cheese and fresh mozzarella. It was legitimately one of the best things I have cooked in a good long time. I’m obsessed with it. I need to make it again soon. Anyway, you all need to buy these stock packets. They add such a depth of flavor to your cooking.

Rosario’s Quinceanera:

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I know that I have talked quite endlessly about Will & Grace lately in this blog series, but I refuse to apologize for it. I love few things so much as this divine program. The revival, so far, has been glorious, and allayed my fears that it was going to be a nightmare that should never have seen the light of day. So many things are, you know? But the episodes that have aired have been so funny and a soothing balm on my soul. Last week’s episode, reader, was, I truly feel, the greatest episode of any season. It’s also the saddest. But it was superb, truly. I won’t beat around the bush, Rosario died. I cried. Like, I still get overly emotional over it. If you haven’t watched the episode, yet, do so. I’ll wait. Did you watch it? No, well what exactly are you waiting for? Allow me to give you a link here.

So, I have no idea where to even begin with this. It was remarkable to watch the ensemble act through this deeply emotional episode. I appreciated how funny they still managed to be whilst dealing with such a sensitive thing. Smitty, the bartender, was back and talking about his sufferings to make Karen cackle as he always did in seasons past. Grace made everything about herself as she always did. Will was the emotional rock that he always is. Karen was perfection in every frame of film. And Jack was given a chance to showcase some really rather fantastic dancing. I can’t give this episode enough praise, and if it isn’t nominated for an Emmy, if Megan Mullally isn’t nominated for an Emmy, then our nation truly should burn. Throughout the episode, Karen deals with the loss of her maid. She comes to terms with something that she and Rosario have always known, they are each other’s best friends. They are reliant on each other. They love each other to pieces. Karen is too emotional to go to the funeral, which she has decorated up as if it is a quinceneara —  a masterful touch — but goes back to see her old friend at the end. She offers up a moving soliloquy over the corpse and I was legit sobbing. I’m nearly crying now typing it. The last thing she says to Rosario is, “Te amo, Mamí.” It was so good. And it was the funeral and sendoff that Rosario’s character deserved. In many ways, Rosario was the soul of the show. She was a glue that held Karen together. She will be so missed. And I was so relieved that they didn’t do this episode because the actress who played Rosario died, she is still very much amongst the living. She is just too ill for this new series. That is devastating, of course, but I’m so glad that they gave her a proper sendoff and didn’t dismiss her role with some flippant joke. Will & Grace is truly one of the finest pieces of television to ever air since the creation of that device.

Living With the Gods Podcast:

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One of my dream jobs is to work at the British Museum. There is not a role I would not happily do there. I would love being a janitor. I would clean displays. I would do, quite literally, anything. It is my great ambition one day to call them an employer. I don’t love London, not by any means, but I love that museum with passion. I have applied innumerable times in the past, but I have received so many polite rejections that I have given that up. If I lived in London or was an English citizen, I probably would have a basic job there, but as an American it doesn’t seem like an option. Now that there’s that whole Brexit thing, though, maybe this could someday be a real possibility. But this post isn’t about my failed careers. I’m obsessed with everything the British Museum does, and I always eagerly look forward to their exhibits. The one coming up is all about how humanity has sought out religion to build community. All over the world, there are common beliefs and concepts about the divine. In associate with this exhibit is a series of podcasts that deal with the artifacts in the exhibit. Reader, it is absolutely a fascinating series and I look so forward to each day’s podcast. Neil MacGregor spends about fifteen minutes every afternoon discussing the relevance of each object and its great place in humanity’s common story. The first episode was about the Lion Man statuette that was found deep in a cave in Germany, and it is a glorious object. How fascinating that people tens of thousands of years ago were able to create fine carvings that showcased their beliefs. It’s hard to understand the object entirely because of how distant it is from us, but we see similarities with more recent religions. For example, the culture of ancient Egypt was thousands of years ago, but put in the context of human civilization, it was just a bit of time ago. The Lion Man sculpture was already ancient when the pyramids were being built. I have learned so much about the religions of the world, which is a topic I have always tremendously enjoyed. I just love learning so much. It’s grand. Subscribe today!

“Miss D & Me”:

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I am not often a fan of books that are written today about the stars of the past. They project their modern day biases on the characters of history and I think that is a great pity. There’s nothing wrong, of course, with understanding the past through the lens of modernity, in fact it can do a great deal of good. Only now are we beginning to fully unravel how misogynistic Hollywood has always been and slowly we learn more and more about its bias against homosexuality and all the things that I hold dear. I’m an old-time feminist, you know, so when I hear about the Weinstein scandal or that horrible tape that features the President, my skin veritably crawls in disgust. People are treated so badly. I’m glad that the culture has begun to quickly shift and these predators are getting their just rewards. But, as ever, I’m quite off topic. Bette Davis, in her later years, needed a personal assistant and she hired Kathryn Sermak. The two women, quite unexpectedly, became fast friends and confidantes. The book is the story of their relationship and the trials and tribulations they went through before Bette’s death. I found the prose to be perfectly lovely, the author wasn’t at all as pompous as I imagined she would be, and the story itself is just beautiful. Bette Davis reminds me very much of my Grandma Betty. When Kathryn described her life and attitudes towards the end of Bette’s, it was quite like I was reading the journals I wrote about my own grandmother. Peculiar that, she always claimed to be more a Tullulah Bankhead than a Bette Davis. The book was wonderful and I devoured it this week. There was one passage, that was quite wonderful for me and had nothing to do with the star character in the book. Kathryn was wondering through Paris with a new beau, “After dinner we walked along the banks of the Seine and through the gardens of Tuileries. We sat on a bench in the garden. I was filled with the feeling of love. I loved everything around me: Paris at night, the food, the freedom.” I quite think I could have written that passage myself. I love that city so much, I miss it with most of my soul. This book, reader, was a cozy wonder and I recommend it to you utterly.

HATE:

Ballooning and Pale:

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As the months head too quickly toward the end of the year and the mercury rapidly drops to rest at the bottom of the thermometer, terrible things happen to me. I take antidepressants now, so I no longer wallow in endless misery when the sun sinks early and the frost sticks heartily to my windshield each morning. I hate the cold. So I don’t get outside now to do any exercise. I don’t burn off any calories working in the garden. I don’t have the chance to go on long walks to my favorite cemeteries. I don’t get to sip a gin and tonic in the vineyard. It’s all tragic. And so I’m stuck inside at all hours growing increasingly albino. And since I’m not moving, I’m growing fat at an enormous pace. Like I’m only wearing a slim number of my shirts. I need to start counting calories again or walk on a treadmill or take a weight loss pill or get CoolSculpting. Or all of those. I’d really rather just take a pill. Why haven’t we invented a way to lose weight by doing nothing, yet? That would be tremendous. I really don’t want to have to do any work to lose weight. I suppose that’s the only way. I don’t have much more to say, I guess. I’m just sad and fat and pale. I need some sunshine and a trainer. And a beach.

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