a few good things

When I’m feeling at odds with the world (which has been more than usual these last few days), I like watching these cooking videos by Dianxi Xiaoge.

Calm and soothing, almost zen-like, they remind me of those “satisfying videos” that are all the rage (though those clips make me want to crawl out of my skin). Xiaoge’s videos, on the other hand, are utterly entrancing and I usually only get about a minute in before I hit pause and yell at everyone to come watch with me. I’m particularly intrigued by the water-sealed jugs and that she rarely  like, rarely rarely  uses plastic. A couple favorites to get you started: lard-sealed meat and hairy tofu.


Look what I discovered! Costco is carrying a knock-off version of Nutella that tastes exactly the same but at a fraction of the price, and in hefty-sized containers, to boot.

Confession: We’re not huge Nutella fanatics  I know, I know, call us weird  but I am rather fond of leftover croissants, split lengthwise and spread with Nutella, alongside my morning coffee.


For my younger daughter’s birthday, we gave her an irresistably cute Zoe Dawn make-up bag.

The best part? Now she has no excuse to steal my bags whenever she has an overnight.

(More on Zoe here.)


I recently participated in an anti-racism Sunday school class at our church. During one of the sessions, the class leaders showed this time-lapse map illustrating the seizure of Native American land in the United States.

This information wasn’t exactly new to me, but watching it in one tidy little morsel was  or is, rather  both sobering and eye-opening. (As part of the class, we were encouraged to do some reading, so I read Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew Hart, and this weekend I finished Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryon Stevenson. Next up: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo.)


And while I’m on the topic: Have you heard of Code Switch

One of the Sunday school class participants suggested this podcast, which discusses “the overlapping issues of race, ethnicity and culture.” Both my husband and I have been listening to it in our free time, and then, together in the evening, discussing what we’ve heard. Good stuff, that.


P.S. Good News! Season four of Catastrophe is almost here! A couple months back, my cousin-in-law emailed to tell me season four was coming out, but then, after some frantic searching, we realized that the date she thought was the release was actually just Great Britain’s release date, so now, thanks to that false alarm, it feels like I’ve been waiting for forever. Hurry up, March 15!

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (3.5.18), the quotidian (3.6.17), creamy, Costco-esque cake filling, tradition!, wintry days, to market, to market, the quotidian (3.5.12), sky-high biscuits.


  • Eldon

    Fun fact about Costco's Kirkland brand. As the 3rd largest retailer in the US (after Amazon and Walmart) they have a lot of buying power, and instead of using it to wring every penny they can out of their customers, or drive their competitors under (unlike their competition) they actually try to help their customers by providing high quality products at better prices.
    They evaluate every product they sell to see if they can make the same thing themselves (or contract the name brand producer to make it under the Kirkland label) at a lower cost. For a product to be sold under the Kirkland brand, it must match or exceed the quality of the brand name product. Instead of selling it at an inflated price due to high demand, they only mark it up enough to make a reasonable profit. Thus, whenever you see Kirkland products selling for WAY less than the name brand, you can immediately see how much markup you were paying. Its also nice knowing that youre not getting a poor quality product made by the lowest bidder.

  • Lana

    Our oldest white daughter's best friend is black. Oh the things we have learned. And things we take for granted are just not even on her radar.

  • katie

    I'm in the middle of this one right now: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. It came highly recommended from a very trusted source. It isn't FUN reading, but it is interesting.

    And this one is sitting in another tab waiting for me to decide to buy it and read it (and wish we had good libraries in the area so I could just rent it.) Survival Math – Notes on an All-American Family by Mitchell S. Jackson

  • Kelly Y.

    Hi Jennifer!

    I am a first time commenter but long time reader. I have always wanted to comment but it was hard for me to find the right words to express that I am an fan, not stalker.

    I love the way you cook and write recipes. So much enthusiasm and emotion. Best of all, I love your food. I have made several of your recipes and they turned out excellent. This summer, I am looking to make your grape pie with in season concord Grapes.

    When I read your post recommending Dianxi Xiaoge, I was like cool! I just discovered her on the same day! It was that final gentle shove that was telling me to let you know how much I love reading your blog, your family life and adventures.

    Thank you Jennifer for always writing from the heart.

    Have a lovely day!

  • farm buddy

    I am currently reading this book, Farming While Black, by Leah Penniman. Very interesting. She and her partner started a farm kind of close to me in Upstate NY, where they raise vegetables and sell them in a CSA using a sliding scale method. They mainly sell to people in food deserts in the city of Albany. The book has a lot of information on racism, much of it terribly shocking to me. I think you and your Sunday School might find this book to be very worthwhile. They are doing some great things on their farm, Soul Fire Farm, especially with at-risk youth.

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