All the Swirl "Must Reads" June 2017

Author: Samin Nosrat

Why is this a must read?: Here in California, we use the phrase "life hacks" regularly, and no it's not a bunch of programmers in a room plotting anarchy, it's a way of living more simply but developing smart shortcuts.   How do we simplify in this world of constant onslaught?  Texts, calls, emails, Facebook messages, Linked In get the idea.  Not much time for long form reading any more.

As a child, I studied cooking tomes voraciously.  We had the holy trinity of books at home, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The Joy of Cooking and later in my youth, The Silver Palate.   I loved the academia of Julia Child and Simone Beck's masterpiece and it still holds up to today as evidenced by Julie & Julia, wherein writer Julie Powell replicated the entire book of recipes in a year, toques off to her!

Today, we live in a more compressed time, getting food prepared and meal planning challenges the best of intentions.   Witness how much the Prepared Foods section has exploded in grocery stores.   I love the premise of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat in that it unshackles us from the pressure of cooking and allows us to keep four simple guidelines in mind when prepping our meals.   I think there are so many food lovers out there who don't cook because, much like wine, it appears to require an advanced degree to understand it.   I'm all in favor of ways to bring casual pleasure and invite us to reconnect with ingredients and flavor.   I'll be riffing with this book this summer while I aspire to my gorgeous cookbook collection, which collects more dust than anything else.   


Bon Appetit as Julia would say!   



My "must read" is from:  PUNCH

Article: The Life and Afterlife of Terroir

Author: Jon Bonne

Why is this a must read?:  It seems like Terroir has been around for a lot longer than its nine years. The tiny wine bar already seemed like an institution when I was first coming up in wine, and it was always my first stop when visiting Manhattan. The wine world (especially Germany) owes its founder Paul Grieco a huge debt for making riesling 'great again' of course, but I enjoyed reading about how Jon Bonne's appreciation of Terroir somewhat mirrors my own. I really did learn to love riesling at at the East 12th Street location, but Grieco also introduced me to Musar, Clos Saron, picpoul and countless other 'cool kid' wines, without any of the pretense those wines came with when featured elsewhere. In a very cliched (but honest) way, Terroir provided a memorable foundation for a beginner's curiosity, and will always hold a special place to me for fanning those early flames. 



My "must read" is from: The New York Times

Article: Asking Girls and Boys, What Would Wonder Woman Do?

Author: Lisa Damour

Why is this a must read?: Even if superheroes are not your “thing”, this piece sheds light in an important way relative to gender dynamics and the need to continue to encourage young women to speak up. Lisa draws attention to the frustrating fact “that males continue to dominate the airtime of coeducational classes, even in college and law school, even when females are in the majority.” Additionally, the gender dynamics that prevail today often label assertive or aggressive girls as “mean girls” while similar behavior among boys is brushed off as “boys being boys.” In a world where it seems like it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a kid, Lisa points out that making this movie a family affair, instead of just an outing for the girls, can open up meaningful conversations, as Wonder Woman’s role serves as a model of the importance of standing up for yourself, and defending others. In this respect, Lisa notes, we should want both the girls and boys of this world to be like Wonder Woman.




My "must read" is: The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins

Why is this a must read?: For the past several months, I have continuously heard about this New York Times bestseller. While exploring Seattle, I stumbled upon a copy of it in a used bookstore and decided to find out what all the hype was about. From page one, this book grabs your attention as you are pulled into the complex lives of Rachel and Megan. Part mystery, part thriller, this captivatingly raw novel will draw you in from the very first train ride. It's been a long time since I have been so absorbed in a novel, and it has definitely reignited my passion for reading fiction.



My "must read" is from: The New York Times

Article: The Moral Bucket List

Author: David Brooks

Why is this a must read?: We’ve all encountered people who seem inherently good- those who give without taking, who are mindful and compassionate, who put pride aside and live humbly, who volunteer their time for the enhancement of others. When I meet these types of people, I feel the need to spread their goodness. I feel inspired. This article details the ways in which the common person can take steps to bettering themselves in hopes of becoming “good.” Achieving this type of inner character requires reflection, both inner and outer. It’s important to notice the kind deeds that others do because it makes us more likely to try and replicate these deeds. However, it’s equally important to spread these good deeds through altruistic means. The advancement and improvement of society depends on these good people because they help instill hope in others, and, as Brooks writes in his article, “the stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than others, but by being better than she used to be.”