my favorite salad to eat right now
a recipe and reflection on the work of living
Naima made it for our breakfast while she was visiting and I’ve been re-creating it ever since. It’s simple. Three ingredients: greens, citrus, fat.
For my greens, I use anything dark, pulsing, purple — if I'm working with escarole or treviso and have the time, I’ll wilt it in a pan with some smashed garlic and olive oil. I pile that on a plate, and then put some cubed avocado over it, along with some quartered oranges and ground pepper. I’ve been using cara cara, but a sweet pomelo, blood orange or a navel orange would work. I put some nice olive oil and salt on the top, flaky or an even fancier kind, like the jar I bought during an extravagant moment at Gjusta.
It goes with everything. The other day, I had it alongside some leftover green tofu curry, and again for lunch, with a tin of the smoked trout from Trader Joe’s. When I make it for Wesley, I’ll skip avocado (he hates it) and add some toasted walnuts to give it the creamy, fatty contrast that it needs. It’s easy, but still feels like an accomplishment, which is a necessary thing when trying to push out something bigger and unwieldy like a book. When I get a bite of greens and fruit, I taste the soft sweetness with the tip of my tongue while the bitterness drops like a beat toward the back.
Since I’ve been on sabbatical, I’ve been struggling with figuring out how to talk about my time away. Mind you: No one is asking me to talk about it, save for a small handful of friends who I’m talking to regularly and a few folks who have written to tell me they’re also leaping into the unknown by stepping out of the rhythm of their life to try and re-calibrate it. But me and work is a codependent relationship that is hard to set down. I’m even struggling with whether I should “perform” work, here or on social media, and if that even makes sense right now. The kind of work I’m doing (and undoing) doesn’t translate neatly to a tweet or a caption, or even a newsletter. As Melissa Febos, author of the invaluable craft guide Body Work, recently wrote, “the longer I live, the less discrete the parts of my life become, the more unified the work of being.”
I’m working on integrating the idea of “less prep, more presence,” which is one of adrienne maree brown's visionary tenants in Emergent Strategy. What I’m really working through is a lot of dominant culture conditioning, self-consciousness and deformed notions of validation and worth stemming from many forms of dysfunction, but most recently, my years of navigating predominantly white institutions and always feeling as if I had to justify my existence within them. Even though I deserve this time away, I still feel like I have to prove it by sharing what I’m doing with it. But taking the time to live is the work. Recognizing that being intentional about caring for myself, even in the moments I’m not reading or writing, talking to all my various editors or thinking about the podcast, is the work. This salad is the work.
the juicy juice
Bystander Intervention Training (truly incredible, a must-do if you can)
Moshi’s Hand-Rolled Incense (my faves are sage + sea and celestial sonata)
Care Manual: Dreaming Care into Being by kamra sadia hakim
Source, by Nubya Garcia
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