A Few Favorite Things: April 1

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Read: I’ve been in a philosophic mood lately. Last week I pulled a copy of Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on The Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels of my book shelf and tucked it in my bag to carry along and read in those in-between moments. It’s edited by my good friend Cathleen Falsani and her friend Jennifer Grant, and contains essays by other friends — Karen Walrond, Alice Currah so I may be biased, but it has been a lovely addition to my day. The essays don’t need to be read chronologically and they vary in length, so it’s perfect for jumping around and fitting a little reflective reading in when you only a few minutes of down time here and there.

Watch: I can honestly say I had no idea how competitive the world of wine could be. And though it absolutely makes sense, and had you asked me about it before watching this documentary I would have accurately predicted the gender ratio of Master Sommeliers, I can’t say that I ever really gave the fact that it would be a glorified boys’ club much thought. The gender gap isn’t what Somm is about — it’s about the grueling studying process of becoming a Master and follows four men as they work towards that goal — but you can’t watch it without noticing the lack of women. Also, I would be lying if I didn’t admit the competitive side of me wanted to run out and start learning about wine immediately after watching this. It takes a topic you might otherwise expect to be boring and makes it engaging. I’ve linked to the iTunes page here, but it’s also available on Netflix if you have a subscription there.

BONUS WATCH: A packed Irish Pub paying tribute to their friend who died of Cystic Fibrosis by singing Mr. Brightside. At least one middle-aged Irishman removes his shirt and trust-falls off the bar.

Eat: We have been stuck in a nothing-sounds-great dinner loop lately. “What do you want for dinner? / I don’t know, what do you want for dinner? / I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?” Has become the nightly song of our people. Eventually, we give up and eat whatever is easiest. I think it’s the time of year. We’re ready for fresh spring and summer food, but fresh spring and summer food isn’t available yet. We’re tired of hearty winter fare, yet on the cold and rainy days it’s what’s most appropriate. The New York Times’ version of Mississippi Roast is bridging the gap. Paired with coleslaw, rather than the roasted or mashed root vegetables we’d choose if it were January. A hunk of sourdough and tall iced tea on the side doesn’t hurt either.

Listen: Billy Strings is a Michigan Bluegrass artist who has been a marvel from a young age. I was not a Bluegrass fan, but he converted me. More specifically, his Bluegrass rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man converted me. This one below isn’t too shabby either. Billy travels all over the U.S. and you can often catch him in small, local venues like craft breweries. You can check out his schedule and a full, free playlist recorded from one of his live sets on his site.