A few random thoughts
Well, dry January is off the table.
I drank a bit of white wine as I putzed around the house yesterday, listening to music, picking up detritus from the evening prior.
I made black eyed peas and collards, rendering a bit of salt pork in each. Some onion, a bit of carrot lobbed into the peas as they simmered on the stovetop.
The whole affair had me thinking about traditions, and how these kinds of things are passed down. I remember watching my own mother make this meal - “for luck and money” - but I never noted the recipes. I wish I had.
In my house I tried to rope my sons into the production. They showed as much interest as one could reasonably expect a 3-year old or 14-year old to show a pot of simmering greens. It’s the sort of thing you’re likely to dismiss until you’re grown, making traditions for your own brood.
Today I crept back to life, starting the day with a breakdown of Christmas. Out went the garland, the magnolia leaves, the holiday cards from friends and family. The tree was stripped of its ornaments and lights; they were packed away and stowed in the attic for next years festivities. Now all that greenery is piled up on the street, waiting to be carted away. What a depressing sight, all those trees.
The house feels empty, even a bit cavernous. My wife says it feels fresh, crisp - like a blank canvas. Lots of opportunity, in keeping with the spirit of the new year ahead. I can get on board with that approach.
I started this newsletter in January of 2020 - that’s two years of relatively consistent writing, save for a break here or there. When I did take a break, it was because I was either too busy, or didn’t have anything to say. I really appreciate you following along.
My intention from the beginning was to share a bit of the things that interested me - food, mostly. There’s no shortage of food “content” out there in the world but most of it feels a bit precious for me. Too many steps, too many ingredients, too fanciful. I’ve always believed that real, normal people with families and jobs and other shit going on just want a few decent tips or a couple of ideas to get some food on the table. That’s what I’ve tried to provide.
I will return to our regularly scheduled programming next week - but today I needed a moment to exhale, clean up, get a good sweat in, and take stock of what lies ahead.
Happy New Year,
A Small and Simple Thing is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Simple is good. Keep it up and Happy New Year from down the coast a bit.
Collard greens and red beans and rice over here. Changing up the tradition a bit.