#YYF Friendsgiving: Tragic Tangerines & Nuclear Code Cocktails
Good God. I haven't written in so long. The restless energy has piled up, the kind that sits in my bones when I'm hurting to be creative but can't quite put a drum beat against the things I'm feeling and everything's a little out of time. But here I am, back at center, with my carry-on suitcase at the foot of my bed and memories of Chicago waiting to be shaped.
So what's happened since we last chatted? I woke up in an America I didn't recognize or maybe never wanted to know, looked into the face of despair, discovered it was orange, cried 12 times during work, traveled to Pittsburgh for my cousin's wedding shower, kicked my feet up on the way to the Strand, jotted down some recipes I wanted to make but didn't truly have an appetite for, and then said "fuck it" and invited 20+ buddies over for a #Friendsgiving (e.g. a thinly veiled "let's purge ourselves of Election sadness and hopelessness" potluck) at my spot on Sunday, November the 20th.
Yesterday I prepped for the party in Carmela Soprano style: dusting, windexing, lighting and blowing out candles to St. Anthony, flipping through 60s soul tracks, assembling mood boards with "New Yorker" and "Vogue" ads, eating a slice of pie here and there, running to Sahadi's and Paisano's and the delightful lil produce stand on Atlantic, plucking nectarines, mint, and onions, sauce and spoons from various corners of the world into my kitchen.
My menu was largely tangerine in honor of our President Elect; I made Sicilian orange salad (nectarines and navels since blood oranges weren't in season, thinly sliced red onion, mint, red wine vinegar, and olive oil), "Nuclear Code" cocktails (Aperol, Prosecco, club soda, pear slices, and orange rinds), beef + lamb meatballs (Nannu's recipe) and parmesan + parsley potatoes. And my lovely friends brought their various tricks: candied mango slices, bottles of Cabernet and Pinot, strange sharp cheeses, taramasalata from Agata and Valentina uptown (love that joint!), chilis, nachos, their observations, their defeat, their warmth, their gladness.
When all was said and done, we poured into every crevice of my apartment, a lone hiking boot propping my door open to counter balance the heat of my contracting and expanding stove, friends spilling into the oven's depths, onto my couch, into the cupboards, reaching for cups, wine glasses, a window to crack, someone to tease.
I stood on a rickety chair, straining to get a pic in my pork stained apron, smiling at the aromatic chaos bubbling everywhere, at my happiest -- watching as the kindred spirits found each other; Audrey found Margaret and Margaret found Stephen and they all lived in the same district of Shangai and Mare found Kristin and the nostalgia and future sex love sounds were strong.
Two truths: nothing is better than cooking for others, nothing is better than creating community.
Around 11, I was filled with that particular delight which is 30% sticky wine floor, 30% sticky wine friendship and 60% belief that the world can be made whole again and is a positive place to be, and a place I must embrace and work to improve.
And now I'm sitting on my couch in gingham pjs, looking forward to Thanksgiving with my family, more seasons of Botticelli oranges, and figuring out where my wild and melancholy lil life is going to go.
And, of course I'm grateful for my friends who teach me every day that living well is a form of protest. Happy Thanksgiving. Make it a #YYF celebration, please.