I don’t know friends. I just don’t even know.
What I do know is that I’ve been waking up at 4am worried about people half a world away. Horrified by the kinds of choices they’re having to make right now. I stress cleaned both bathrooms. I baked two loaves of bread for no reason. I brainstormed a few good recipes to bring you this March. I fell asleep in the middle of the day for two hours – I couldn’t even help it. I wrote an email acknowledging a blown deadline.
Here we are together on a Sunday and that’s something I hold dear. Here’s the offering today. Please let your Sunday be filled with things that feel easy and good, like black tea and gummy fruit snacks in the afternoon sun spot at home. As always, take only what you need:
• The Map of Bone and Open Valves by poet Ilya Kominsky gave me the chills. This impeccable offering from Ann Friedman‘s latest newsletter. (Kenyon Review, Poetry Foundation, Ann Friedman)
• In contrast: TikTok and the Vibes Revival. Vibes are the only escape right now. Is that correct? (The New Yorker)
• Please read our friend Amy Estes’ latest piece it’s fantastic: Teaching In Context. (corporealkhora.com)
• Here’s an interview I did with The 247. We chat about creative burnout and crafting, passion projects and brand building. The are some great interviews and profiles on the site if you’re looking for some inspiration! (The 247)
• This podcast episode from NPR’s Life Kit has me maaaaybe gonna: How to train for your first marathon. (NPR)
• Ok, where are we going to get a bunch of passion fruits? Passionfruit Yoghurt Loaf looks BEYOND! (Gather and Feast)
• I’ve been on a journey researching homemade frozen coffee drinks for a recipe development project and I’m in deep on make-at-home Starbucks drinks. Did you know there’s a syrup (maybe paste is more the right word) you can make with xanthan gum and add to frozen coffee drinks to give your drink that emulsified creamy texture!? Frappuccino base syrup. This is both exciting and scary.
• Last weekend for a year, friends. Get after it. Mardi Gras King Cake. (Joy the Baker)
• If you’ve never experienced a Mardi Gras, I’m here to tell you it’s more an epic celebration of creativity. Here’s one of my favorite examples: Red Beans Parade (Louisiana Travel)
• It’s National Strawberry Day right here in February! To celebrate, our super cute strawberry necklaces with Delicacies are back in stock in limited supply! We sold out a few weeks ago, so if you didn’t get a chance to snag your strawberry – don’t hesitate!
As a reminder, $10 from each necklace purchase goes to Second Harvest Food Band serving South Louisiana. So far we’ve donated 10,400 meals (!!!) to Second Harvest and we’re thrilled to continue our support with your purchase. It’s very feel-good! Grab yourself a necklace and receive 15% off your entire order using code joythebaker15! Discount code is good through Monday, February 28th at midnight. Free shipping on orders over $100!
Enjoy today, friends!
My love to you!
I’m deeply worried about what’s happening in Ukraine. We have a lot of Ukrainian living in Italy and looking at their worried faces, I want to cry all the time. Yesterday I was watching on the news girls of my age that were meeting in a park to create molotov. They were wearing my clothes, their make up was exactly like mine. They are me in another country. That freaks me out, I desperately want to help but I don’t know how.
I’ve been wondering if a 70 yo woman could assassinate Putin. Crazy thinking but I’m so distressed over Ukraine’s plight.
The tree that is in your post is absolutely beautiful. I don’t know when you
took that photo but the tree is so full of color. As far as waking up and feeling the pain of people in a different part of the world who are innocent and being
subjected to attacks without provoking a situation is really hard to understand. I can empathize with your feelings because these people are caught up in all that is happening to them without having time to plan an escape from this
I haven’t baked a whole lot of bread except for banana bread. My latest creations are bagels which have taken time to get right. Using the right flour definitely helps make a good bagel. I prefer bagels over store bought bread
Also from Ilya Kaminsky: “deafness is our only barricade.” That now may be more deeply true than ever.
Bread making: ditto. For me it works even better when not using the bread machine dough cycle. Something about working that dough is deeply soothing and scuttles worries of impending nuclear doom. At least, while kneading. Today it’s a honey apple challah. I’ve been using an Oregon-based brand of “Artisan Bread Flour” which results in a wonderful loaf, or roll for that matter, I just wish it was organic. OTOH maybe let those organic/non-organic worries slide for a bit. Bigger fish to fry, right?
St. Louis does a big Mardi Gras, but not like New Orleans. We passed on the big parade yesterday and had dinner and drinks at a friends. We used multiple recipes from you. The BBQ Shrimp recipe was delicious! I could just dip bread in the sauce as a meal. The pull apart King Cake was also delicious
I’ve got red beans and rice going now and just might lop a huge hunk of the sourdough I made this AM to eat with it.
I very much appreciate the distraction from the hour-by-hour news updates. I think I’ve stopped worrying about catastrophe being unleashed on all of us in Europe, as was threatened, and can tune into chill vibes to slow down my thoughts and anxiety.
So, the passion fruit pulp is something we can find in tons over here, so I’m definitely making that loaf cake, thank you for sharing!
I’m trying to get my head around the cake thing connected to religion but baked differently in different parts of the world and at different times – are they connected? The name’s the same.
In Portugal they make Bolo Rei (King Cake) for New Year-ish, trastes cake filled with dried fruit.
In France they eat Galette de Rois (King Cake) for 12th night, January 6th
In New Orleans it’s King Cake for Mardi Gras which is Shrove Tuesday, and a variable date annually.
Any idea what’s the story??
Be well and thank you.
Passion fruit pulp in tins…!
Hi, Nosizwe, I’m Abby, editor for Joy. Your comment made me curious, so I did a little digging! Bolo Rei in Portugal, Galette de Rois in France, 12th night cake in Britain, Rosca de Reyes in central Mexico, and King Cake are all associated with the feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6) or the day the three wise men finally brought their gifts to Jesus (per the Catholic/Christian tradition). You can find King Cake in New Orleans any time between Epiphany and Fat Tuesday, which does move around from year to year depending on when Passover is (that is also why Easter moves Sundays every year). I hope this helps! Take care :) – xo
Hi, Joy. Just wanted you to know that I made my first king cake yesterday, using the recipe you posted in February 2015. It was an act of will to beat back anxiety about war and its impact on the innocent and the brave by immersing myself in the sensory experience of baking and sharing. Instead of the ring I made 2 long ropes of dough and formed two crescent shaped loaves, slashing the ropes with alternating diagonal cuts, a method my Swedish grandma showed me. I got two deliciously rich cakes this way, one for family and one to give away…It was a small victory and a celebration of life, with a nod of deep gratitude to you.
Thank you for sharing Ilya Kaminsky’s poem. I have never heard of him.
Every Morning by Mary Oliver
“I read the papers,
I unfold them and examine them in the sunlight.
The way the red mortars, in photographs,
arc down into the neighborhoods
like stars, the way death
combs everything into a gray rubble before
the camera moves on. What
dark part of my soul
shivers: you don’t want to know more
about this. And then: you don’t know anything
unless you do. How the sleepers
wake and run to the cellars,
how the children scream, their tongues
trying to swim away–
how the morning itself appears
like a slow white rose
while the figures climb over the bubbled thresholds,
move among the smashed cars, the streets
where the clanging ambulances won’t
stop all day–death and death, messy death–
death as history, death as a habit–
how sometimes the camera pauses while a family
counts itself, and all of them are alive,
their mouths dry caves of wordlessness
in the smudged moons of their faces,
a craziness we have so far no name for–
all this I read in the papers,
in the sunlight,
I read with my cold, sharp eyes.”
“you don’t want to know more
about this. And then: you don’t know anything
unless you do”
So much truth there
Something I’ve been doing lately to soothe me is watch aesthetic videos of women in Korea and Japan cook and clean on YouTube (as I write this I realize that sounds even weirder than it does in my head). At any rate a few of them have been making smoothies with black beans and such and I’d love to see a recipe for that once you’re done with iced coffee research! (And as a former Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Iced Blended addict in the early aughts I’m very excited for this work you’re doing too.)
Re: the marathon – DO IT! I did my first one this year and it was so rewarding. Also, I took Deb Perelman’s advice and recently got a ton of passionfruit from ipassionfruit dot com and it’s been GREAT.
Same, I did Deb’s other passionfruit recommendation from Rincon Tropics and whew so tasty, so good, so worth it.