✓✓ Read Receipts: Cold and Melancholia

Vivian Fu, Picnic, December 2016.

The past week’s Womens’ Marches and the punching of the nazi Richard Spencer say more than any list of political articles could. Instead, here’s a list to help overcome the melancholia that has filled the organs of everything. Galenic humourial theory associated melancholia with the Earth, autumn, the cold and dry, but also with the creative mind. I do tend towards these things, so I guess it makes sense.

The photo above is by Vivian Fu, who was one of the first photographers I started following back in 2009. Her picnic from December 2016 was a joy to see on my timeline, lifting my out of the winter blues and into the heights of summer. As much as I love wearing my heavy wool coat and hats, there’s little better than spending a month or two entirely in shorts, on grass, and warm concrete. I’m planning on having as many picnics as possible in the coming year.

  • The home must be bright, luminous, without pictures, and there should be many fragrant things there, and everyone in the home must be beautiful to behold… and they must say lighthearted things. How to Cure Melancholy, c. 1303 on Ask the Past. I’m sure I post something from Ask the Past at least once a month. I suppose it just shows that you don’t always needs enlightenment rationalism and modernist aesthetics to power clickbait.
  • If I was a well-regarded Philosopher, this is the entry my Wife would copy into my diary after my death, just before handing it over to my biographer. Your Daily Routine on Discotheque Confusion. Just before Christmas I was thinking about those daily plans by authors & artists and why anyone, let alone myself, would want to be in a constant state of comparison & self criticism that really is quite toxic. Stevie’s note of the artifice of these plans was refreshing - still, it sounds ideal.
  • Preserved ginger, pickles, anchovy paste, chutney sauce, extract of meat in small jars, arrowroot, cornstarch, potted ham, tongue, and chicken, French paste for coloring soups and sauces, devilled ham, anchovies in oil and in salt, Russian caviare, sardines, orange marmalade…. The Ideal Kitchen, part of the Sleep Aid series on the Paris Review, devoted to curing insomnia with the dullest, most soporific texts available in the public domain. The description of the kitchen is pure Victoriana, an excess of ingredients and prescision.
  • Suffering from a hot liver due to too much blood? Eat some strawberry jam. Excessive bile? Try chamomile. Flux in the reins (or diarrhoea)? Have a roasted leg of mutton. How to Perfume a Glove in The London Review of Books. Adam Smyth writes on the early modern cookbook as an object of creativity and invention far from the dull monotony of boiled cabbage or endless pottage that it’s often made out to be. But these weren’t just limited to food but crossed the modern day disciplines of chemistry, biology, zoology, and medicine.
  • That’s the thing about shakshouka: anything goes. Traditionally, you have eggs simmered in a base of stewed tomatoes and peppers, which grow year-round in Israel, but from there you can do whatever you want. Sometimes it’s lightly sweetened with sugar; other people like it extremely piquant. Shakshouka on Lucky Peach. I’ve been cutting down the quantity of meat I’m eating, and inevitably ended up eating far more eggs. Shakshuka has become something of a weekly meal for me. Each time I’ve tried a different recipe so that I can try and work out my favourite. There’s also as many ways to spell it as there are recipes.
  • I like the contrast of seared and un-seared bits on each cube of meat. I also strayed from the typical salt and added soy and fish sauce as umami boosters, which isn’t traditional, but adds that extra bit of oomph. Warm Cozy Beef Bourguignon on I am a food blog. When I’ve been eating meat I’ve been making stews. Delia Smith has a recipe similar to this, using pork sausages instead of beef and without the carrots. In spite of the melancholy quality of beef I think I’ll be making this soon.
  • When you pick up Lucky Peach, you should expect to be in for something different visually, says Washburn. There’s a looseness and playfulness that is pretty unique. We’re not afraid of making mistakes. Cutting-Edge Food Magazines in The British Journal of Photography. Lucky Peach, Put A Egg On It, and The Gannet are often featured in these updates. Their approach to food and culture is so amazingly varied and actively against diet fashions. Food for its own sake.
  • The results are gracefully pared-back illustrations, often of minimal colour combinations. A black line is layered with an illuminating colour choice of yellow or pink in a watercolour or pastel like consistency. Georgia Haire’s intuitive and melodic illustrations on It’s Nice That. Bernard de Gordon in Lilium medicinae advises that you remove the pictures from your house to reduce melancholia. I’ve no idea why. The artwork I’ve got hanging on my walls is one of the few things that make my room a little warmer. I’m glad that some of those are pieces by Georgia.
  • Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown’s George Wislocki House, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, USA, 1971 and Carl Tucker III House, Katonah, New York, USA, 1975. Recently, OfHouses has been posting a lot of Venturi Scott Brown. It’s taken me years to come around to the postmodernism of Venturi Scott Brown, but I’m glad I eventually have. I’ve been imagining myself living on beaches and in pine forests instead of suburbs.
  • Still lifes for Oners on Boooooom. Art directed by graphic designer Lilit Asiryan and photographed by Julia Tatarchenko. If anyone fancies buying me a present, these nice things will certainly drive away the melancholia.