Happy Sunday Friends. I hope that this blog post finds you well.
I’m very well thank you, and turned the big twenty-one a few days ago. It was a quiet affair, spent with my twin sister, and a couple of my closest friends.
We spent a day at the the spa, ate cake, watched movies, walked around our local hills. And it was delightful. I’m not a person who enjoys big parties (read “introvert”) and so throwing an expensive birthday bash with drunk people stumbling around in my garden while I have to host was not how I wanted to spend a day that is for me. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to show all of my many groups of friends from all my different walks of life that I appreciate and love them; everyone loves an invite.
One of the gifts I received was Ella Mills’ Deliciously Ella Every day and needless to say, I have become obsessed. I was going to earmark some of the pages and then realised that I wanted to make every single frikin’ recipe and follow all of her tips and tricks for food prep and storage (many of which I was already doing but now I will be even more of an expert). A big (humungous) batch of her version of coleslaw, dressed with a sauce made of cashews and olive oil, did not last long in our house. Next month I start my first year of clinical medical studies and Sunday will be the day to batch prepare EVERYTHING that will make up all my on-the-go lunches. I can’t wait!
Another recipe that I uncovered was in a semi-forgotten Italian cookbook. The plan was to make aubergine caponata but I was missing half of the ingredients and improvised, substituting raisins for olives, and balsamic for red vinegar. The result was sour, sweet, chewy, delicious, and as soon as I have perfected (and photographed) the recipe I plan on uploading it on here. She says.
Lauren and John’s recipe for these cauliflower buffalo wings coated in BBQ sauce make my carnivorous father utter “when vegetables are cooked like this, it makes you realise that we don’t even need meat!”. If that’s not a good advertisement I don’t know what is.
Between playing tennis, and celebrating birthdays, and lying on the sofa and serial watching the olympics I haven’t had much time to read this week.
The first thing I’d like to draw attention to is this poem by Mike Hood.
I had the honour of hearing it first hand from the author’s mouth a few months ago and though it did have an impact on me I had completely forgotten about it till it’s publication online.
love him like the one who loved you every morning
before you ever thought to love him back,
Second is this worrying article that my sister shoved in my face. It first appeared in the guardian about the pernicious implications of the growing avocado trade in Mexico. Fuelled by it’s status as a “hipster superfood” in the Western World demand has skyrocketed and apparently illegal deforestation to plant new avocado trees is damaging environmentally because of the amounts of water needed to grow even a couple of fruit and because of the amount of pesticides that the farms are doused with. More worrying is the exploitation of workers on avocado farms in Mexico, many of which are owned and run by a notorious drug cartel.
As a conscious consumer – and I’m sure most instagram foodies are – we need to be made aware of these types of issues. The problem with the problem is that it is not obvious. Who would have guessed that these delicious toast-toppers could cause such trouble? The author suggests that the conscious consumer should buy from fair trade labels like “Pragor” but unfortunately after a little internet scouring I cannot find any UK stockists.I don’t plan on completely stopping my consumption of avocados any time soon, but I will certainly try and reduce my avocado appetite and look instead towards the less appealing but locally grown kale, a supervegetable that seems to have no disturbing backstory.
The popularity of kale, for instance, makes all-round sense. It’s democratically cheap, its nutritional benefits and locavore credentials are impeccable, and it’s cultivated easily in the UK.
Next, this pithy piece by Lifehack outlined just how I view the world as an introvert. Specifically, how one can be extroverted too and be chatty and talkative and charming:
People can be surprised when we show a less introverted side to ourselves, but in essence no one is 100% introverted. As humans, we are all unique and most of us have a mix of introversion and extroversion within us. Sometimes, our extroversion comes through when the mood takes us, so we should never be labelled as just an “introvert.” Most people are around half and half, with true introverts being around 60-70%.
But at the same time is reluctant to go to bars, parties, gatherings, and is often the first to leave. It’s not that I don’t have a good time, it’s just that I feel as though I’ve done my bit and hope that no one will miss me if I slip away quietly to bed.
We do like to interact with people but, after a certain point, we need to retreat because it can be quite mentally tiring for us. This doesn’t mean we don’t like the people around us, but taking a break is necessary for us to recuperate so we’re ready for our much-needed next social interaction.
And lastly, Haruko Murakami, a novelist whose books are ubiquitous on my “to read” list, talks about his relationship and history with running. It’s a story about how he came to be a writer and live his best and most beautiful life.
In my new, simple, regular life, I got up before 5 a.m. and went to bed before 10p.m. Different people are at their best at different times of day, but I’m definitely a morning person. That’s when I can focus. Afterward, I work out or do errands that don’t take much concentration. At the end of the day, I relax, read, or listen to music. Thanks to this pattern, I’ve been able to work efficiently now for twenty-seven years. It’s a pattern, though, that doesn’t allow for much of a night life, and sometimes this makes relationships with other people problematic. People are offended when you repeatedly turn down their invitations. But, at that point, I felt that the indispensable relationship I should build in my life was not with a specific person but with an unspecified number of readers. My readers would welcome whatever life style I chose, as long as I made sure that each new work was an improvement over the last. And shouldn’t that be my duty—and my top priority—as a novelist? I don’t see my readers’ faces, so in a sense my relationship with them is a conceptual one, but I’ve consistently considered it the most important thing in my life.
In other words, you can’t please everybody.
That’s all for this week. Keep safe and well.