Mid-Lenten check in: every day I'm strugglin' but I got glowing skin.

Maskarade NOLA

Yesterday marked the exact 21 day mark of how many days I have been eating raw-ish. It also marks the point when I started dreaming about fried chicken and burritos. It probably doesn't help that the James Beard Nominations came out, and New Orleans is beaten by only New York City in quantity of noms, and only by one. Long story short, it's a great time to eat in New Orleans. But not for me. Well, not at any of the nom's restaurants anyways. 

I can't say I'm sorry. I mean I feel amazing. My skin is better, my attempts at liver cleansing are more effective, I'm generally satisfied and full, and there's a ton of things I can try and learn to cook. I just have to banish the fried chicken thoughts, because even though I am feeling better, my I-don't-wanna-lose-any-weight body still isn't getting the memo. To be fair, I have experienced a lot less inflammation and bloating, but no real gains in the weight loss department (see what I did there?). I'm trying to focus on the whole I can learn to make dope stuff that's raw-ish game. And there are plenty of resources out there. I just haven't quite figured out where I fit in all this. I mean, I can totally make jell-o molds, but hot dog casseroles are out. Truthfully, most of the mid-century, grandma comfort cooking is out. GIANT SIGH. But I promised myself I would just put one foot in front of the other for the 40-odd days of Lent.  Doing my best not to cry about how I wont be able to eat much at my neighb's yearly March Meat Madness party.

On the other side of all this crying altogether, is this article from the New York Times magazine about the food being made by a Korean Buddhist nun. This article literally makes me cry. Everything about her story is so beautiful. It gives me all the feels and makes me want to reorder my entire list of priorities. So, while I feel really good, and hella inspired by her story, I still feel confused about my general career/hobby/interest track where food is concerned. 

File under related/unrelated: I've decided to take part int he "A Year Of" challenge - where you pick a craft and participate in it daily for a year, Now I have to figure out what. Top contenders: macrame, embroidery, raw food cooking (kill me), maybe sewing - as in making stuff. I'm thinking. Wish me luck, 

Yes, that's a mask.

Yes, that's a mask.

Some highlights from the last couple of weeks have been: seeing Irma Thomas play for free in a local New Orleans park, St. Joseph's altars, going to listen to 1950s RnB deejayed by this fine gentleman at a time capsule of a bar on the West Bank, and Super Sunday. Some clarification on what all of that means for everyone else in the world who doesn't live in the tiny and insanely amazing and unique enclave that is New Orleans, here you go:

giant strawberry
  • Irma Thomas is often referred to the New Orleans Queen of Soul. She recorded Time is On My Side before The Rolling Stones, and is generally an amazing soulful singer. She's got a pretty well known, and AMAZING song called It's Raining. Check a mix of her songs on YouTube here.
  • St. Joseph's Day is a big deal here in New Orleans. People/churches make altars celebrating passed on loved ones, and the miracle of St. Joseph (Jesus's dad to you non-Bible types) aiding some starving Sicilians during a famine. (Some history/explanation here). The altars feature breads baked into carpenter's tools, various Christian symbols, and a lot of other ingenious creative stuff.  YOu can see a video of one below, put on by the Italian New Orleanian family that included Sam Butera, of the Louis Prima band fame. Yes, that's my hubs photo-bombing at the end of the video.
  • The West Bank refers to the west bank of the Mississippi river. It's shorthand for a suburban neighborhood across the river from New Orleans. There's a ton of weird awesomeness there. Various cultural enclaves, and some serious time capsule establishments. This bar was 90% old people. It was awesome.
  • Super Sunday is the day many of the Mardi gras Indians parade together.. Generally speaking, Mardi Gras Indians debut their new suits on Mardi Gras Day, but Super Sunday is one more day to see the incredible work they've done, and while not all of them take part, it's a really cool opportunity to see a bunch of them all together at once. My God, the suits! You can't believe it.

Anyway, that's my last 3 weeks of Lent. If you want me , I'll still be  over here trying on awesome masks at my part time mask store job. And eating a lot of strawberries. Because they're in season here and they're the best I've had just about anywhere outside of picking teeny tiny ones in the wild. 

Emily MarshallComment