The most popular piece in this newsletter of 2022 was an essay called “On Selling a Lifestyle” that I had been working on off and on for a few months, yet never felt like I was getting quite right. Even the final version feels a bit disjointed to me, missing some final ingredient. But that’s what I love about writing this newsletter: I don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, because often what gets me to finally finish a thought is seeing how people respond. I’ll continue to visit certain thoughts, over and over, figuring it out as I go—and as more and more people come along for the ride. Sometimes people regard these essays—which are unedited by anyone but myself—as something that pursues polish, something to be read as final. They’re not; they couldn’t be. The process is so pleasurable, though—my greatest pleasure. It’s humbling that it’s my job.
In 2022, on top of this newsletter and getting my book into production, I wrote about dive bars for Bon Appétit; mushrooms for Foreign Policy; setting the table for SSENSE; The Bear and Isaac Mizrahi’s cooking videos for Harper’s Bazaar; raw vegan cuisine for Netflix; “lifestyle as politics” for MOLD; electricity for The Conversationalist; going home for Christmas for Edible Long Island. I was part of a panel on meat at Tufts University; talked about nutritional yeast on KCRW’s “Good Food”; and interviewed Masienda founder Jorge Gaviria for MOFAD.
I felt a bit like I wasn’t in public as much in 2022 versus 2020 or 2021, but seeing as I’ll be teaching this coming semester and my book will be out in August, I will be public enough in 2023. I’ll be returning to the newsletter then on January 2, to talk about the years-long process of my book getting to publication. There will be one more recipe for paid subscribers: double chocolate peppermint cookies.
This Friday’s From the Kitchen dispatch for paid subscribers will include, as noted, double chocolate peppermint cookies. See the recipe index for all recipes available to paid subscribers.
A fresh piece on the fresh pizza scene in San Juan for Bon Appétit!
Eat Your Mind: The Radical Life and Work of Kathy Acker by Jason McBride.
Lots of Christmas cookies for decorating by nieces. Pizza in our new Ooni!
Hello. Meant to let you know that the carrot-ginger cake was a hit with my family on Thanksgiving. Thank you.
"I don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good because what often gets me to finally finish a thought is seeing how people respond" was a line that stood out for me today. I have struggled in the past few months since starting my own writing project (with burnout at the job I'm leaving at the end of the year and with what I'm hoping to convey). Maybe being held up by the perfect. Your line helps me clarify. Happy holidays.
I'm looking forward to the cookie recipe...
Always a good read and one of a handful of Substack emails that are truly not like anything else.