The week started with blazing heat, or at least 80s and 90s feels hot relative to what we’ve had so far this summer, though by the end of the week, temperatures had retreated into the 60s. It’s always a little interesting to plan dinners ahead of time in weeks like this because you’re grilling and avoiding turning the oven on at all costs one day and then relishing the warmth a heartier meal brings to the kitchen the next. We took advantage of the hot weather to explore some of the fountains in the parks in the neighborhood (Charlotte is definitely a fan).
Here’s what I’m eating and reading this week:
Weekly menu plan (in case you need ideas or inspiration for what to cook for dinner):
Sunday: Grilled pineapple, pork, and chipotle tacos with sautéed green beans
Monday: Tuna melts
Tuesday: Summer squash & basil pasta from Bon Appetit magazine
Thursday: Chickpea tikka masala with green rice (from Cookie & Kate)
Saturday: Scallops and shrimp scampi over fettuccine with peas
Here’s what I’m reading (that’s worth sharing) this week:
One of the big stories in my world as both a reader and a dietitian specializing in eating disorders and body image concerns was about Roxanne Gay and the fat shaming on Mamamia.
Another fantastic writer and woman in a larger body, Lindy West, talks about the experience of surveillance when eating as a woman.
Although this article is over a year old, I was still interested in what it’s really like to be a cookbook editor.
And what our Google searches can tell researchers about the private thoughts and anxieties we might not share with others.
This was an entertaining and what felt like a timely novel, and it translated well to the audiobook format. Webster is a fictional college in rural Massachusetts that struggles with several issues of race, class, and collegiate identity through the course of an academic year.
We see the events unfold through the eyes of the college president who tries to handle the escalating tension after an African American professor is denied tenure and students, led by a charismatic Palestinian student, stage a months-long protest camping out on the campus green.
The different angles of student identity were well executed and interesting. Self-identification and the role of the college campus as a safe space to explore these themes can feel like a charged topic right now. The book’s central narrative includes space for students exploring gender identity (and pioneering the challenges faced institutionally and administratively), racial identity for both professors and students, class and privilege, and ultimately, the sense of belonging and having your voice heard. This is sometimes played out on very high-stakes stages, like the experiences of students coming as refugees without a solid home to which they can return, as is the case with the Palestinian student. But the book also uses lighter examples, like the what-feels-like-high-stakes college admissions process, to add dimension to both its characters and narrative.
One of the aspects I liked best was the way the reader aligns with the college president, seeing arguments and events through her perspective, understanding the reasons and limitations of her actions and responses. She (the college’s first female president) identifies as liberal and has her own history of collegiate activism, but in reality, she represents the institution and is the authority against which the students are protesting. I think it would be quite a bit easier to write a compelling, riled-up story from the perspective of the students, but as the book moved along, I found myself appreciating more and more the approach the author took (and pulled off quite well).
Also, while the book’s pace starts out on the slower side, the ending is worthing sticking around for.