sunday seven

Photo by Maciej Pienczewski on Unsplash

Seven things to read, taste, see, and otherwise fend off the dark this week̂

  • Green Apple Curry – adapted by Simply Recipes from a Trini original, this is one of my cool weather favorites. It’s vegetarian, and can easily be made vegan by substituting vegetable spread for the butter.
  • The Code of Hammurabi – stunner of an essay by Jenny Slate in The Paris Review. Also involves curry.

    Men did it. And they saw the Women having babies out of their bodies. And they saw the babies growing up into what could be a workforce, and they decided to take a crucial and revolting step, which was to make Women and children into property, and to condemn their own spirits and identities to be mostly defined by what happens to their property.
  • For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet – poem by Joy Harjo. Harjo is the current US Poet Laureate and the first Native American poet to be honored.

    Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.
    Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.
    Open the door, then close it behind you.
    Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth gathering essences of plants to clean.
    Give it back with gratitude.
  • Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar – I get two calendars every year; this is the important one. In the US, purchase either from Justseeds Cooperative or Burning Books.

    Now in its 19th year of publication, the Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar is required reading for radicals, leftists, and all who support political prisoners and advocate the end of mass incarceration. The Certain Days calendar is filled with radical historical dates, and 12 thought-provoking articles and beautiful artwork each month throughout the year. All proceeds support prisoners and grassroots organizations.
  • J. Herbin Bleu Nuit ink – the perfect blue-black ink, and my go-to fountain pen refill. I get mine from JetPens, a great independent alternative to Amazon for stationery supplies. And if you do a lot of writing by hand, fountain pens are much more environmentally friendly than one-and-done disposables.
  • Macbeth (2015) – My current favorite version of the Scottish Play, starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, and David Thewlis. Stream from iTunes or Amazon Prime.

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mom’s fish chowder

Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Altered and prepared plate from the NOAA Photo Library.

Here in New Orleans the temperature is below sixty for the first time, and what passes for autumn has arrived. Truly cold weather won’t hit us until January, most likely, but it’s still the type of weather that makes me long for the food of my childhood. This is one of my favorites.

  • 1 ½ lbs cod or haddock filets
  • 1 C chicken stock
  • ½ tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • marjoram, sage, & thyme to taste 
  • ¼ tsp paprika 
  • 1 ½ C diced Yukon Gold potatoes  
  • ¾ C diced carrots
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • ½ C non-fat dry milk

Cut fish into small pieces and put in kettle with stock, seasonings, potatoes, and carrots. Cook covered about 15 minutes. 

In a separate pan, sauté the onion in butter 2-3 minutes. Blend the flour in with the onion & butter, then add the dry milk mixed with 2 C cold water. Bring mixture to a boil, then add to vegetables and fish. 

Simmer gently, uncovered, another 10 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. 

Serve with a good dark ale (or tea) and hot buttered rolls. 


Listen. I don’t know if this night, or this day, really meant something to my ancestors. They didn’t leave us a whole lot to go on. And that’s the thing about traditions—we don’t always form them based on what was but on what we believe to have been.

I was privileged to grow up in a place and time where there were indeed four seasons, and in a way of life that followed those seasons. I believe this time of year is a threshold. It’s midway between the solstices, it’s the time when the harvest is ending and the winter is coming on. It’s a doorway, something that closes and opens again, that flows in both directions.

Are the spirits any closer to us now than they were yesterday? Does the light in the open door really draw them near? I don’t know. Let me light a candle, and I’ll tell you more tomorrow.

Photo by Anjo Antony on Unsplash