Then, butter

Nothing can cure the senses but the soul, just as nothing can cure the soul but the senses.

Oscar Wilde said that. Or a character in one of his novels did. It reminds me of me, of the bad habits I’ve been nursing. These days I come home, swearing to do some useful, necessary thing, but instead plunge headfirst into the pursuit of pleasure. I’m a walking appetite. Salt, water, moon, bread, tang, sweat, sweets. It’s extraordinary, the way things taste.

Fun fact? Sasha Grey took her stage name from A Picture of Dorian Grey. An interesting study in appetites, Sasha. And the book. And the name.

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Heat

I have little patience for complaints about the weather, but I tell you I’m ready to throw in the towel if we don’t get some heat here soon.

Last week I heard someone say this has been the coldest spring since…and I stopped listening, stopped hearing: too demoralizing. But it’s coming. Can you feel it? I mean not the season itself–not the flouncy skirts or the scant underthings or the towering espadrilles, not the day games or the melted lake or the milky blues or balmy weather–but the heat, the devotions it inspires in us.

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Living Alone (or, Egg in a Basket)

Living alone has its advantages.

At dusk on Sundays I turn on a string of lanterned Christmas lights. During the week I work as hard as I’ve ever worked. Twice a day I ride the train, alone but not. Twice a day we’re all pressed together like swaying sardines in suits, and sometimes I look at the others, and sometimes I don’t. And sometimes I think, here we are, little fish, flying through this city in a train on stilts, and then I find it impossible not to laugh.

My thoughts have been running this way often. Here we are. Here I am. When you live alone it’s easier to recognize a life as your own, to locate your life in the noise of other lives.

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A Good Thing

So here’s a good thing:

Skin-on fatty pork simmered with ginger, soy sauce and rock sugar until the skin is supple and shiny and the meat falls apart. Before my grandmother died, we had this all the time. Now, less. Chinese women of her generation believed that eating a small hunk of pork fat each day was the secret to a long life. Chinese women of my mother’s generation believe in eating as little meat as possible, and fill in the gaps with French pastries. Go figure. Guess which view I have more sympathy for.

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Spaghetti a la Carbonara

Spaghetti, yolk, cheese, pork, pepper.

A classic Italian carbonara has these things in it, only these. American women add mushrooms, onions, cream, the ubiquitous English pea. The bold use butter. The insipid use milk. I overlook them all. Who needs vegetables? The simple communion of pork fat and egg yolks is perfect; more intimate and seductive and delightfully nasty than much of the sex one is likely to have in one’s life.

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