Thursday, May 21, 2020

Various Things That Are Mostly Links!

My darlings, how are you? Time is passing so strangely. I am surprised to see that I haven't written in a while, even though it feels simultaneously like yesterday and a jurassic era ago that I wrote that last post. I hope you've been healthy and good and not too fretful or stressed about all the worrying things. But maybe just fretful enough to start thinking about the November election and what we're going to do. Right? Donating to a bail-out fund is always a good starting place.

I am very excited to say that my new book, How to Be a Person, comes out next week. If you haven't ordered it yet, I am really hoping that you will. You can order it here, for example, to help support your local bookshop AND me! I am going to be weaning myself off of Amazon links in the next stretch of time, because it is unconscionable to continue to support that kind of radical social and economic injustice. (Wow, I am really off to a ranting kind of a start in this post!) I think the book would make an excellent graduation present or a wonderful passive aggressive Father's Day present for any man in your life who doesn't, say, know where you keep the wrapping paper or why you would ever need any.

She does *have* a regular mask.
In related news, I got to talk to funny, brilliant cool moms Liz Gumbinner and Kristen Chase over at their Spawned podcast. I got weirdly nervous, and also was balancing my mic on a "bed desk" made from a plastic bin with holes cut into the lid so that the psilocybin mushrooms growing inside could breathe (we are babysitting them for an out-of-town friend), but still it was so much fun to talk to them.

Photo credit Jörg Meyer, 2008, from the late, great Wondertime magazine.
I've also written about both camping (the backyard kind) and camp (the at-home kind) over at the New York Times, which thrills me no end. Longtime readers will understand the extent to which both of these things speak to me. (Especially given that both my kids went to IKEA Catalogue Reading Camp for 10 years.)

And I wrote--this was a while back now--for the lovely Cup of Jo about the very, very small helpfulnesses that were making me feel less awful. They still are, honestly, but I'm feeling sunnier overall, maybe because of all the sunshine.

A few other favorite things:

  • This book, which my friend wrote, but still, OH MY GOD.
  • This film, this film, and this film. All documentaries, and all so, so good.
  • This SK recipe for rhubarb bars, which I like because it's so nice and small. I make them with all rhubarb (instead of adding strawberries, since strawberries are not currently growing in my backyard like a giant alien life form), I double the white sugar, and I use gf flour (you don't need to use the xanthan-gum kind for this).
  • The salted chocolate buckwheat cookies that Liz Prueitt posted in the comments of this instagram post. OMG.
  • Melissa Clark's Spicy Thai Salad with Coconut and Crispy Tofu, which is a version of this NYT recipe, but in her Dinner book, she uses the whole package of tofu, which she corn-starches before frying, she doubles the lime juice and zest and the brown sugar, and she adds shallots, 1 cup of toasted coconut, and 11/2 cup each basil, cilantro, and mint leaves. It's tons of ingredients, and it kind of all takes forever to make, but it is ridiculously good and you can definitely omit this or that. In addition to the cabbage, I use whatever veggies we have (e.g. asparagus or green beans or cucumbers) and I swap in Bragg's for fish sauce, because of our vegetarian. It is an absolute house favorite.
  • This recipe for Paneer Butter Masala, which you can make with tofu, and which you can add peas to, as shown here. (I use canned tomatoes.)

Okay, my loves. Stay safe out there! Be vigilant and also forgiving! Love your people. xo


  1. Catherine!  Sending love to you all.  So good to see you in my inbox.  I hope your whole circle is healthy and safe.  

    My senior graduates this year.  She grad-u-ates.  I know you've been through this.  Our girl will walk across the stage alone with only ten people in the auditorium.  We will all wear masks - we will cry, extra tears for this surreal type of celebration.  We will pray she gets to go off to Boston in the fall. 

    (dashes off for more kleenex) Be safe.. Hugs!

    1. Allyson6:30 PM

      What school in Boston? My now college JUNIOR (wtf??) goes to school there. (Well, at the moment, they live in their apartment in Boston, giving online piano and voice lessons and hoping for unemployment benefits from their retail job, but you know what I mean.) Congratulations to your graduate! I know this is small comfort now, but her graduation ceremony will be so memorable down the line! (Also, at least she didn't have to listen to that Nebraska senator's commencement speech! Silver linings.)

  2. Allyson6:38 PM

    Oh Catherine, as soon as we're not living paycheck to paycheck (and yes, everyone should be so lucky as to have a paycheck to live from/to, I know), I will buy multiple copies of your lovely book from our local, independent bookstore, which I adore, and which is taking phone orders and then providing curbside pickup so as to provide much-needed sustenance at a minimal risk to all.

  3. Anonymous11:32 PM

    Just preordered your book from the local bookshop down the street! My teens are perhaps a little old for it, but honestly probably not. I've requested all your previous books from the library, but it seems like a very good year to support my favorite authors and my neighborhood stores. Loved your piece over at Cup of Jo.

  4. congratulations on your book. I look forward to reading it and not so subtly leaving it around for my teens to read! I appreciate you using the Bookshop link or anything not Amazon. I am trying to wean myself off for lots of reasons, the most recent being the treatment of their own employees who spoke up. So thank you - reminders to use other retailers (they exist!) are welcome.

  5. JulieG10:21 PM

    Catherine, I've been following you since Baby Center days in 2001 and I've gotten so many gift and game ideas from you over the years. You always make me laugh and I love your style. :) I just bought your book from my neighborhood bookstore (and it's already ready for curbside pick up) and I shared your book with all my social networks. I think it's a great graduation gift and will hopefully give our graduate a list of summer projects. Thank you!!!

  6. I just want to say your blog has been such a bright spot for me in these dark times. I am going through all the past recipes and making them for my family and people in my community during quarantine and it is helping me immensely. Thank you for everything you do.

  7. Anonymous3:33 PM

    Hi! I love these suggestions each year, and each year I use them? (I got the National Parks posters for my nieces)
    Wondering if you have any recommendations for good audiobooks to listen to with our 16 and 17 yo while we puzzle this winter. :)