Leisurely reads. Quirky tips. Meet your weekend BFF with the lowdown on the coolest art, culture, food, travel, TV shows, music and more.
Aug 21, 2021
One of my cooler friends, an octogenarian former neighbor with a painter’s brush moustache and a wealth of World War II trivia, has an interesting take on weekends. Years ago, watching me leave for work one Sunday — such is the life of a rookie journalist — he handed me a box of consolatoryguava cheese, and some wisdom. “On Sunday you have to do Tuesday things, ya? Then do Sunday things on a Tuesday!” he laughed, his Santa-belly shaking.
While meant as a joke, it reminded me to imbue all days of the week with some of the levity that we usually reserve for the weekend. The weekend, according to my friend, is but a state of mind and you can briefly dip into it anytime you choose. I don’t work Sundays anymore, but I do take time out on workdays to listen to a Tom Pettyclassic or whip up a quick dessert. So, for this weekend, and the days that follow, we’ve put together some smashing good tunes, reads and recipes, peppered with some celebrity hot faves. Ever wanted to know what Lenny Kravitz’s favorite fruit is? Read on.
While K-pop, dance and R&B might be the cool kids right now, the grounding force of country music held its own through the pandemic last year. With its rustic roots and heartfelt nature, a bit of country is a relaxing way to break up your day,and what better place to start thanJon Pardi’s 2019 hit album,Heartache Medication? A new age messiah for the genre, California-based Pardi is known for classic country lyrics that even the most ardent city-slicker can dig. Dive bars, young love, jukebox jangles and freight trains . . . Pardi is a master exorcist and his songs are full of ghosts. “Head Over Boots” will make you think back to a very special night, or hatch plans for one, while “Beer Can’t Fix,” a Thomas Rhett number featuring Pardi, has a near-tropical vibe. Don your cowboy hat, bust open a cold one and keep it real.
The perception of country as a white music genre has been challenged in recent years, perhaps most famously by Lil Nas X and his mega hit “Old Town Road.” New Orleans-based trio Chapel Hart have faced their own set ofchallenges as Black women in the genre. But that’s not stopping sisters Danica and Devynn and their cousin Trea, who have been harmonizing their hearts out ever since they were toddlers growing up in Poplarville, Mississippi. The verve shines through in songs like“Country Paradise” and “Jesus & Alcohol,” the chorus of which goes: “So pass the Bible, bourbon, and brace for a breakup . . . ’cause nothing heals a broken heart like Jesus and alcohol.” The band also recorded a savage, feminist response to the Parton classic called “You Can Have Him, Jolene.”
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I can steer any conversation about food — make that any conversation at all —to the beauty of fish. True to my Bengali genes, I lovebhetki paturi, glorious parcels of mustard-marinated barramundi steamed in banana leaves. Or evengaad nadur, a fish curry with lotus stems from Kashmir. But there’s no need to limit yourself while plating up this protein when there’s a whole world of simple, delicious recipes to explore. Take, for instance,yum pla duk foo, a Thai dish of crispy-fried catfish with a green mango salad — a side dish vegan Lenny Kravitz would no doubt enjoy, given his love of the fruit. Yum pla duk foo is traditionally prepared with charcoal-grilled catfish, but you could easily swap in a white fish like tilapia or even shrimp. Seasoned with fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar, the flavors are fresh and zingy — and just wait for the golden crunch of the fish and the tartness of the mango.
2 - From Lebanon, With Spices
I have limited knowledge of Middle Eastern flavors, but boy, do I like the sound of the Lebanese sayadiyeh, a pan-fried fish and rice dish served with pine nuts or toasted almonds! For me, warm spices, caramelized onions, parsley and the nutty topping conjure an image of a long, slow lunch, savored with friends. Codfish and basmati rice should be easy to find, but if you don’t stock turmeric, cinnamon, cilantro, cumin and black pepper in your pantry, opt for a pre-mixed baharatblend from a trusted Middle Eastern grocer. Serve with a parsley, tomato and tahini salad, plus a hearty squeeze of lemon. Want a dose of politics with your plate? Familiarize yourself and your lunch buddies with Lebanon’s ongoing economic crisis, one way to ensure you engage with the country and its people beyond the food.
3 - Senegal Central
Heads up: Thieboudienne is not a dish for a lazy Saturday. Save Senegal’s national dish of rice and fish stew for a weekend when friends or family are set to gather around, and pamper your loved ones with this soulful flavor medley. You’ll need to plan in advance, not only for the elaborate nature of the dish, but also the sheer volume of ingredients. We are talking sweet cassava, bay leaves, okra, habanero chile, tamarind and yété, or sea-snail. The good news: Some of the elements can be subbed or skipped entirely. With the right mix of patience and hungry tummies, the labor you put in will be rewarded with an awed silence at the table, punctuated by the sound of munching and requests for seconds.
Fans of western fiction, stories set in 19th-century frontier America and the Old West, this one’s for you. Set against the backdrop of the gold rush, Vengeance Roadtakes you on a ride along the mountains of Arizona in the company of spunky teenager Kate Thompson. The heroine has disguised herself as a boy to seek justice for her father, who was murdered for a journal containing the location of a gold mine. Can you think of a more dramatic premise? Me neither. If you like revenge, pistols and badass dialogue, or if you just want to bask in the glow of the friendships Kate finds along the way, join her on the dusty journey. And then thank Erin Bowman’s vivid imagination for the suspense, secrets and memorable read she delivers.
3 - ‘Up to This Pointe’
When was the last time you read a coming-of-age novel set in Antarctica that combined ballet, penguins, romance and wonderful friendships?Well, Jennifer Longo takes care of that for you.Up to This Pointe is the story of Harper Scott, whose life plan was etched out and in no way involved the icy darkness of Antarctica that claimed the life of her famous explorer ancestor. Still, that’s where she finds herself: Life happens, hearts break and sometimes your well-laid plan goes south ... all the way to the South Pole. But the kindness of family and friendships that survive the cold are enough to keep her warm. The novel serves as a reminderthat when dreams are derailed and sadness clings to you like frost, there is still hope.
A cowboy hat may not be on the top of your shopping list, but what reasonable human can resist a great pair of boots? You don’t have to be invited to a costume party or working on a ranch to rock this pair of super cute, leather cowgirl boots replete with turquoise beads and stars. Any Brooklyn hipster worth their salt would love these! Think of them as a secret wink to your newly acquired country playlist, without quite going yee haw.
2 - Fish Dish
Want fresh fish but the market ran out? You can still dish it up, if only as the pattern on this gorgeous blue-and-white Santorini plate. That it is hand-painted in Portugal will make up for the rumbles in your tummy, so pile it full of whatever it is you do have in the fridge — and keep it at the ready for your grilled seafood feast.
3 - Fish on a Hook
No need to fish for compliments with these bespeckled earrings painted the prettiest deep-sea blue. Add some quirk to your casual with statement jewelry that’s bound to catch some attention.
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Ever look down at your plate of food and wonder where the ingredients came from? OZY’s hit podcast franchise The Future of X is back, and this season we’re investigating The Future of Farming with our friends at Vital Farms. Each episode will take a look at the all-important field of farming, from how data will revolutionize farming to the impact of Big Agriculture. Plus, explore the possible solutions to food insecurity and climate change, such as regenerative agriculture. Ready to dig in? Binge the series now on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts!
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