A 2-minute and 12-second read.
Home cooking is what I have to give to my mom. Two weeks of good meals and a freezer full to carry her another month. I've made lots of vegetables and salads. She ate all the fish, including the crispy skin, which she declared "delicious." I made a stew and put rutabaga in it — a vegetable she didn't like until I cooked it. I still have a bunch of dishes to make, including a Tortilla Española, chicken-barley soup, and a rösti potato for New Year's Day.
We talk a lot, too.
Some of what follows is behind a paywall. Putting words together with this skill costs.
Here are a few stories I loved this year (all by women):
"Plenty of folks tell me confidently that I could write anything I wanted about them. I have come to understand that what they actually mean is that I have their permission to write anything about them that they can imagine I might."
A Big Shitty Party by Melissa Febos is essential reading if you're a memoirist. It's full of wisdom and the writing is on fire.
"It's also unsentimental. This is what Moshfegh does. Her universe, both in fiction and nonfiction, is a brutal one, and highlights the ugliness that many other writers leave out. This includes the ugliness within ourselves that most people are unwilling to examine. In reality, ours is not a moral universe. People do not get what they deserve, and evil is rewarded constantly."
I'm a big fan of Summer Brennan's writing.
"I worked hard to get out of it, quitting the restaurant I had put so much of myself into with little reward, knowing I had to get out. I needed to care about myself. I found new places to work, slowly found friends to be trusted and counted on."
The harsh realities of the restaurant business are recounted in Almost No One Makes It Out by Millicent Souris.
"It is harder to be a man today, and in many ways, that is a good thing: Finally, the freer sex is being held to a higher standard."
Christine Emba's Men are lost. Here's a way out of the wilderness.
"My husband has great taste in women, I thought."
Stunning writing from Jean Garnett, Scenes from an Open Marriage. What a talent.
Just for pleasure, here's a petit four image of Dolly Parton.
Nigel Slater wins food photo of the year. (Imagine the day when an editor/paper uses it as the header photo.)
I try hard to give good Stories on Instagram. Some of you send me nice notes about it. My "following" feed reflects my interests and leans heavily toward the arts. These are a few of the accounts I shared in 2023:
The playlist I draw the music from is 457 songs long this year. There's no organization — it's like the cupboard you don't want to open.
Politically and environmentally, we are facing another challenging year in 2024. May our concern for each other grow.
My mom would dance with me to this song when it came on the radio. In 1964, I was one year old. I don't remember, but she told me I would put my arms up like I wanted to be picked up when it came on. We listened to it tonight together.
Happy new year.
© Deborah Reid, 2021 - 2024. All Rights Reserved.