26X2, Week 3: Cook Islands
Admittedly, I knew nothing of the Cook Islands before this challenge. That’s exactly why I’m doing this! These recipes were the most fun to read through so far, so even if you don’t plan to make any yourself, I suggest reading them for their charm. I set out to make the tiopu kuru (breadfruit stew), but the elusive breadfruit was impossible to find in Philadelphia. I even spent a few hours in Chinatown with a dead phone (I needed you, Google translate!) and no luck. Plan B was to buy as many Cook Island ingredients I could remember reading about and hope they were sufficient for at least one recipe. That’s how I ended up with a papaya, mangoes, limes, three forms of coconut, turmeric root, arrowroot, bananas, and yucca (I was guessing at this point).
26X2, Week 2: Basque Country
Basque Country is not a “country” in the traditional sense, but a region that spans between Spain and France. There is a Basque culture and language and people. In its own language, the region is called Euskal Herria. They have stunning beaches, lengthy history, and rich food. After researching this area, I’m intrigued to learn more through first-hand experience.
Cooking (eating) and traveling are always on my list of things to do more of as a new year starts. While I’m regularly in the kitchen as it is, I’ve found that I haven’t been challenging myself as much as I have in the past. And while we travel fairly frequently, I’m always looking to explore other cultures, particularly ones that I know little or nothing about.
That brings me here, to the start of 2017, with a new project in mind. Each week, working my way through the alphabet, I’m going to pick a culture, country, or region starting with that week’s letter. Then, I’ll pick a dish representative of the culture to try to replicate. I’m calling this project 26X2. (Hopefully) by the end of the year I’ll have made it through the alphabet twice, and I’ll have explored 52 new cultures and their recipes.
26X2, Week 1: Albania
For the first week of 26X2, I’ve decided to focus on Albania. Not really knowing where to start, I did a Google image search for traditional Albanian recipes to see any common trends. One dish stood out to me, and it turned out to be flija.
How can something
so nourishing. so necessary.
cause so much pain.
You look down.
the choices you consider wrong. bad. shameful.
instead of seeing
the beauty. energy. power. love.
Food is not the enemy.
It is depth. culture. joy. growth. change.
Food is not the enemy.
It is our strength.
our community. our family. our home.
It is not the food.
It is the standards. the physical. the ceaseless desires.
the fabrication of worth through skin and size.
It can’t continue to escape.
The battle is lost
if we fight
the wrong enemy.
Being in constant connection with a world of people means we often see posts about others’ success while we rarely see their failures. As a naturally passionate, competitive person and a frequent perfectionist, I have to admit that seeing the triumph of others who share my interests has, at times, made me immediately feel defeated. I think we’ve all been there.
Is fall my favorite season? As I sit here during our beach vacation, I don’t know. But it’s felt a whole lot like it in those moments sweating it out in 90+ degree weather. Along with a bit of fresh air, these are the things I’m looking forward to next season:
Crunching leaves while walking through the park. Do I need a light jacket? Boots? A knit scarf? These are the questions I often long for. Continue reading
Because why do it when you can overdo it?
When you think of anxiety in the gym, you might think of someone who’s not been there in years. Or ever. You might think of someone intimidated by the weights and the sweat and the people. You might think of someone just starting their journey in fitness, unsure of what to do once they’re there. You might not think of me.
Anxiety can be crippling. It can creep into the most unassuming moments of the day and quickly turn them into the most distressing moments. For many, for me, these moments of anxiety happen in the gym. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about traditional beauty standards lately. I’ve been thinking about the physical traits you’d see on the front of a magazine or the looks used to sell. And beauty pageants. I’ve been thinking about the kind of look it takes to win. I’ve been thinking about the standards for men as well…their hair, eyes, nose, cheeks, lips, shoulders, arms, stomach, legs. There’s not just one standard for all of these things, but I’ve been reflecting on the various physical traits that often portray beauty in our society.
I’m such a sucker for brunch. I love waking up lazily on a Saturday morning and wandering to a new place to essentially eat dessert first thing in the morning. Eggs are great too, but put pancakes in front of me and I immediately melt into a puddle of warm, buttery syrup. I’ve shared with you some of our top sweets around Philadelphia, and today I have some of our favorite brunch spots in town.
Pearl’s Oyster Bar