“Mixed Media-Pastels-Drawings-Photos” by Julia outside her apartment

Tuesday July 10, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
http://www.johnmcalpineart.com

Tells me he can’t decide what kind of artist he wants to be
I wonder if he really has a choice
Not to say you can’t do more than one kind of art
That’s like saying you can’t ever cut your mushrooms tail first
There’s no one way to do art but I want him to know
the kind of artist he is
What he stands for
What he looks at
What he sees
What he wants to say
Or fuck
What he must
He can paint and take photos and write
He can dance and sing and sew
He can sculpt and build and carve
He can dream and drink and draw
He can also be true to himself
He can cut the mushrooms lengthwise
Down the middle
In slices
In quarters
In bits
Regardless
Mushrooms are a part of this
The dish called for them
It wasn’t really up to him

“Response rate: 100%” by Sasha on the 17

Thursday April 26, 2018
9:52pm
5 minutes
poparide.com

Our third Thanksgiving all together, Babs teaches Simon and me how to make a mirepoix – two parts onion, to one part celery, and one part carrot. Babs peels her carrots, but when Simon and I make it later, and she isn’t around, we don’t, almost like we’re honouring Mom.

Mom was a lover of peasant food, or at least that’s what she’d call it. Nothing fancy. As few pots as possible. She made a great Dahl. She used to pack it in our lunches and the other kids would wrinkle their noses when we opened our thermoses, steaming lentils and curry. We weren’t embarrassed. Maybe it’s because we always had eachother, Simon and I. Being a twin is weird. But you do always have someone, and that’s nice.

Babs never asks us to call her anything but “Babs”, not like Dad’s second wife who insisted we call her “Maman”.

“all these obsessions we’ve believed” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 26, 2018
10:24pm
5 minutes
Wake The Dead
Julia Pileggi

They told me they like the way they could see the room that we were in,
the kitchen, to be exact (and isn’t it always)
I told them it was a true story and some of them nodded along, grateful

I plan to one day have a kitchen of my own that my kids will want
to write about
When they think of me, maybe they’ll place me by the toaster oven or
the built in cutting board, raw from the busy family of serated edges
I have not yet held my mother in my own kitchen
I have never cooked dinner for my father
They have no idea what I know and what I know from them

The other day my mother was surprised when she heard that
I don’t skip breakfast
I was surprised that she would think I was the type that did
In her own way, she is complimenting me, thinking me independent,
autonomous and wise enough to know
In my own way, I am insulted, thinking she thinks I am too irresponsible
to make sure that I properly feed myself
Some of these are stories that I tell myself, maybe as a reminder
to write them down later in case I happen to forget

“the amniotic brine of tears” by Sasha at Lewis St.

Tuesday January 16, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
Memo to a Self
Steven Heighton

“Soak the fish in salty water”, Gramma says, dropping the cut up chunks of cod into the brine. “It should taste like the sea, or tears”. She laughs. She wheezes. She inhales her cigarette. “Add chopped shallots and garlic. Maybe a pinch of cayenne pepper. Put it in the fridge for hours, not a second more or less…” Her eyes twinkle.

“Really? It matters down to the second?” I ask.

“Absolutely!” She says.

I add the shallots, garlic and pepper. We cover the bowl and put it in the fridge.

“lick your thumb and go to town.” By Sasha on her balcony


Sunday July 23, 2017
8:01pm
5 minutes
The Four Hour Chef
Timothy Ferriss


I spend Sunday in the kitchen. Chopping and grating carrots and beets, roasting zucchini, washing lettuce. I make tahini dressing and pesto. I toast pumpkin seeds and almonds. I listen to NPR podcasts and learn about a disorder I never knew I had and suddenly everything comes into startling bright colour. The cabbage is luminous. The chickpeas buzz. I am more understood by these disembodied voices coming out of this box of sound than I’ve ever been understood before. I sink to the tile, the seat of my cut-offs most certainly stained by droplets of beet juice, and I listen, drinking deep.

“lick your thumb and go to town.” by Julia in Amanda’s bed


Sunday July 23, 2017
1:03am
5 minutes
The Four Hour Chef
Timothy Ferriss


He puts the Sunday sauce on the table and dunks his forefinger into the bubbling red without a second thought. He tastes it, likes it, gives it a stir. His mother would be proud. His ribs slide off the bone like melted butter. He did well to remember how she did that. Sunday sauce growing up was what they’d call it when they actually had time to prepare a meal with as much love as they’d like to put in. Sundays are for dinner and for church on the little television and for home made bread. Now he Sundays on Thursdays or Tuesdays depending on the week. He makes a Sunday sauce and thinks of when he was a boy. When he came to Canada in January and saw snow for the first time. When his whole family liked being together before the sickness and the problems and the open wounds began to fester.

“For twenty-five years my father” by Julia on the 99


Thursday January 26, 2017
5:21pm
5 minutes
In Recognition Of A Quarter Century Of Contribution To UMA
Curtis LeBlanc


Spaghetti is his favourite dish
Doesn’t matter how many new things he’s tried, he’ll tell you, if you ask him, that it’s spaghetti
Me too, I would chime in, loving very much the idea of having the same favourite food as my father’s
Me too, I would say, when he’d crack open a chile pepper with his teeth
He cooks the way I do
My mother says I cook like him
Not sure these days if it’s Can’t Follow A Recipe or Won’t
We both like inventing
Never making the exact same thing twice
We didn’t grow up with Daddy’s Girl in my house
Maybe because there were two girls
Maybe because my older sister was Daddy’s Girl until I was born
and then there were two of us so they had to give their thing up before I could figure it out
Maybe because it took 25 years
for me to realize that
he was mine
and I was his but
in my own way and
so was she and
so was my brother after me and
so was everything everything

“Semi-bush vines, very sweet,” by Julia on her parents’couch


Monday December 26, 2016
2:02am
5 minutes
from an old tag

I was waiting for the perfect lull of eventual inhale that my mother would have to take before continuing on in her way about the planters and the balcony hangers. She always got so excited about the possibility of me becoming more self-sufficient in a way that no one would have thought twice about when she was my age. I didn’t exactly have the heart to tell her hat I didn’t have a green thumb or possibly any thumb and this would all be a moot point. She was too busy telling me I could do basil and parsley or tomatoes even, because then I could “at least make a proper sugo.” What I really wanted was for her to stop talking long enough for me to tell her about the poem that had just gotten accepted into a Canadian anthology. Maybe she would be excited that I managed to make some kind of art..or maybe she would think it didn’t matter if it couldn’t be added to an eggplant parmigiana.

“I still honoured my vows” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday November 29, 2016
8:38pm
5 minutes
Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert


I lick my finger and it tastes of a chicken bouillon cube.
It’s salty.
I love it.
I used to eat pieces of those by themselves when I was younger. Along with anchovies from the jar, and mayonnaise.
I had no vehicle carrying condiments to my mouth.
I wasted no such time.
I always cut out the middle spoon.
I think of big pots simmering on the stove.
I believe I could stay with someone if they knew how to make something out of nothing.
If they knew about sauces and simmering.
I would marry that.
I am very extreme about bouillon cubes.
I am tethered.
Some memories stick like sugar to a strawberry.

“It was really a labor of love” by Sasha at Studio 1965


Saturday November 5, 2016
1:53pm
5 minutes
An interview in Room Magazine with Deni Loubert

Making the home together. It’s a labor of love. I think about the beauty in the mundanity of dishwashing, of picking up socks, of picking up glasses off the floor, of picking up your acu-ball. I try to find the meditation, the sacred in hanging shirts on hangers on the drying rack. Motown helps. Dharma talks help. I found it yesterday, that unnamable sweet spot, stirring cayenne into the tomato sauce, chopping carrots and celery. I found it, and then it was gone – the creep of resentment in my gut, the spread of “what the fuck” up my teeth. It is a labor of love, this gorgeous, strange, domesticity. Pema Chodron telling me to breathe, breathe, breathe. Your keys in the lock and it’s present tense dinner-time, the daily dance.

“provide reasonable protection” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, September 1, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
From an external hard drive warranty

Margie adds a scoop of cumin to the chilli and watches a cardinal land on the big old maple that has seen it all. Craig putters in the basement. Jazz plays on the radio. She hasn’t been cooking much this winter, what with the tragedy at the school, and so many long hours. It feels good to have soaked the beans, stewed the tomatoes, chopped the garlic, onions, peppers and sweet potato, and toasted the spices, just the way her mother taught her. There won’t be cornbread, but there will be a thick nest of old cheddar on top. “Almost ready?” Craig calls up. He’s hungry, having met with a struggling student through his lunch break, causing him to forget to eat. Margie often finds sandwiches in Craig’s briefcase from days before. She shakes her head. He cares so much, she thinks, putting turkey and swiss, ham and cucumber, rye with almond butter and banana, right into the compost pail on the counter.

“It’s a little big now” by Julia on the 84


Thursday May 19, 2016
8:14pm
5 minutes
overheard at Kafka’s

he was cooking dinner on the island
he liked to call it his ‘cutting station’
where he did most of his cutting
not me
i liked to use the counters by the fridge
i don’t really like the feeling
of floating in the middle of something
just dangling out there
alone
he asked me what my favourite thing to eat was
when i told him i said but it has to be the way
my dad used to make it
he said not to worry
he said he would take care of me
when i looked at his ‘cutting station’
i couldn’t see one ingredient that matched
the items i told him
all the things necessary to make
my favourite thing to eat
i tried not to be bothered by it
or to worry
he said he would take care of me and
i had to
trust him
but i could smell the veggies cooking
and i could tell that he wasn’t
getting
it
right
and so i was bothered by it
and i did worry
and i missed my dad
in that moment more than ever
nothing is the same after your favourite loves die
not life
not dinner

“Get just the right pick-me-up” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday March 15, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
pulpliterature.com

You go to sleep early because you’ve been up since 6:27am and you say that the mountains have made you tired again. I can hear you breathing from behind the living room wall. You sound like you’re trying to send me tiny signals as I stay up to paint my nails. I don’t like to go to sleep after you but it’s been happening more and more these days. I am racing against daylight and I can’t afford to take short cuts right now. I know your body’s heat by this time. I know that there’s a softness there in the curve of your back that fits most of my organs perfectly. I picture that spot while I think simultaneously about chicken thighs with preserved lemon or that surprise weekend getaway golden ticket you gave me for my birthday last June. You told me to pick wherever I wanted to go. I told you we could close our eyes, point on the map and go where our fingers land.

“ideal cooking oil” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, October 24, 2015
9:44pm
5 minutes
from the coconut oil jar

Mama sticks her finger into the jar and pulls out white silk that turns her skin glossy.
Doesn’t that smell like heaven? She hums, lifting her hand to my nose.
I nod my head. I want to eat the melting silk off of mama’s warm forefinger. She smiles at me, glad that I like what she likes. She dabs both of my cheeks with it and rubs it in. Feels nice, doesn’t it? I nod again, this time voraciously.
I want mama to let me bathe in this stuff. I want mama to let me alone with it so I can put it everywhere.
This is what you use for baking and cooking, she tells me, grabbing a spoon out of the drawer. She hands it to me. But it’s good for anything you can think of. She winks. I smile. I feel lucky to be let in to this place. She has given me her secret to the universe.

“what he learned about fire” by Julia at her desk


Monday, October 19, 2015
10:01pm
5 minutes
from dramaturgical notes

The rads in our new place don’t work. Red has been trying to get them to function for the last two weeks. Every 5 minutes he checks to see if heat is coming, adjusting the only two knobs on the thing when it doesn’t. “Can you feel anything now?” He’d shout at me, a painful hope stinging the air. “Still nothing.” I’d say back as I wrap a blanket around my feet and another one around my shoulders. “Stupid fucking thing.” I’d hear Red mumble. “stupid stupid fucking thing.” The only way we find some warmth is when we’re using the stove. It’s hard to get it started but I’ve never looked so forward to roasted potatoes in my life. We dragged the little kitchen bench over to the sink so we can sit next to the stove and stop tensing our muscles for once. We can’t leave the thing on all day cause we can’t afford it. We find solace there, holding our hands out to the stove door like two little kids warming their frozen limbs by the fireplace after a long day of riding on a float in the Santa Claus Parade.

“it brings out the deliciousness” by Julia at her desk


Sunday, October 18, 2015
10:09pm
5 minutes
The Ayurvedic Cookbook
Amadea Morningstar & Urmila Desai


Mia is close to tears. She is cooking mac and cheese while PJ dances around the living room. His pants are down below his bottom. He looks ridiculous.

“Ooh girl, shake it, shake it, let me take you to the PROM, you so perfect I want you to meet my MOM. BAM. Now tell me that’s not a good rhyme! BAM!”
“It’s nice PJ. It’s a nice rhyme.”
“You’re fucking joking, right? That shit was so tight, don’t act like you’re not impressed right now! ‘Nice’. Seriously!”
“Sorry, PJ, I forgot that there were more important things for me to be thinking about at this very moment. It was fucking awesome. Okay?”
“You’re mad, then? Like what the fuck did I do?”
“See it’s just that you keep thinking it’s about you and it’s not about you but I don’t know how to send that signal any clearer. You’re a rapping genius. You should have your own show.”
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Mia packs up her bag. She takes off PJ’s sweater and throws it at him. She leaves the mac and cheese on the stove, element on high.

“open 7 days” by Julia at Souzan’s apartment


Saturday, September 5, 2015
6:59pm
5 minutes
from the sign at the liquor store

When she begged me to forgive her there were tears in her eyes and I was wearing a red and green apron that made me look very Italian and very comical. I couldn’t take myself seriously, let alone take her, so instead of being an adult, I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I’ve always dreamed about these kind of moments where the lighting is just right, there’s the perfect amount of rain, maybe a bit of wind, and an underscoring of building music that sounds like it’s just far enough away to be acceptable. But instead we were both covered in gnocchi flour and our bangs were plastered to our foreheads cause in real life there are no perfect forgiveness temperatures. I laughed and she got very angry. I didn’t mean to offend her but I was angry too…that she couldn’t have picked a better moment for all of her guilt to add up. Instead, right as the tester gnocchi were rising to the top, she fell to her knees and buried her face in my Italian flag.

“and I’ve begun to name things.” By Julia at Valens Restaurant


Wednesday, July 15, 2015
10:55am
5 minutes
Admittance
Shane Michalik


I have a box for all my heartache
I put it on the shelf and I let it marinate
In the flesh of the oak
In the smoothness of the varnish
It sits there until it is ready
Then I take it out of its hiding place
I smell inside and breathe in the pain
Seeped into the wood
Crept into the grooves
Still remnants of yesterday’s decisions
When it’s time I light the stove
And I name all the moments that have crippled me
One by one I throw them into the oil
And I watch as they grow crispy and small
I burn each heartache into smoke

“that’d be a mess” By Julia on her patio


Monday, July 13, 2015
7:10pm
5 minutes
In The Boom Boom Room
David Rabe


I’m thinking about what I’ll make you for dinner when I see you again.
See, I’m debating between ribs and chicken cause you really liked them both the last time. Maybe I’ll make you both with the special sauce and the arugula salad. You went crazy for the arugula salad. Or the chili shrimp. I could make you the chili shrimp. I want it to be special. Seeing you again after all this time, I mean, It has to be special right? It can’t just be thrown together. It has to be thought out. What a mess it’d be if I made all the dishes you liked but not well because there was a lack of focus. I tend to focus poorly when there’s more than one thing to focus on. I’m thinking about seeing you again, and kissing you again, and cooking for you again, and that’s very hard for me. It’s very hard not to let my mind wander. My mind’s a mess. You know it feels especially cluttered these days. Need someone to go in and do a spring cleaning, get all the cobwebs down, reorganize all the big issues so I don’t have to trip over them just to get to the good ideas.

“Our backyard garden plot” by Sasha in the passenger seat of a Car2Go


Saturday, June 26, 2015
11:32pm
5 minutes
From the back of a photo from Sarah

Dear Jemima,
I put in the garden this weekend and I can’t thank you enough for sending over those seeds. I can already feel them growing. It’s amazing to look over the raised beds and think of the cuttings from Babs and the seeds from you… You’re both growing so close! I like that a lot. I bought a huge bunch of garlic scapes at the market and I’m going to make them into pesto. They’re so pungent! Do you think I should roast them first or something? Garlic and parm and stuff? Whenever I’m in the kitchen I think about you and how easily all that stuff seems to be when you’re doing it. You effortless beauty. I’m always second guessing every move. I’ve got to try to be more confident, I think. Have you got a garden this year? I know it’s a commitment, but I don’t think you’ll regret it.

“You steal the water from the valley” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday September 16 2014
11:35am
5 minutes
Screenplay
Sid Field


I would pickle you if it didn’t mean you’d have to be dead. I would pickle you, just as you are, and you’d keep your shape like the best cucumber does. I’d leave out the garlic and the dill. I’d want you just as you are. I would pickle you if it didn’t mean I’d have to stop hearing your songs. See, those songs are the key to my unfolding. When you play that banjo my heart breaks and is whole and breaks and is the most whole she has ever been. I’d pickle you with your hat on, because I love that hat, I bought you that hat at that stand in Brooklyn.

“that they might have life” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday April 17, 2014
4:02pm
5 minutes
John 10:10

This is the time of year for fiddleheads
Or it should be
If winter would finally melt away once and for all
This is the time that the fiddleheads grow on the banks of the river
Peeking through the moist ground
I’ve heard that if you close your eyes and listen
You can hear the earth opening
They can grow four inches in a day
Fiddleheads taste like asparagus’ illusive cousin
Related distantly to mushrooms
And broccoli
They are my mother’s favourite
She used to steam them
Half an inch of water in the bottom of the pot
Just a few minutes
They should still crunch
She’d spoon a bit of butter
A sprinkle of salt
Fiddleheads are coming
There are no fiddlehead farms
Really
Just foragers who find them
And sell them
Who can make a pretty penny
On those early spring days
When we so crave something from the earth
Close by to where we life

“kind of contrary” by Sasha on her bed


Sunday January 26, 2014
1:31am
5 minutes
NOW Magazine, January 23-29, 2014

In the woods, I forage for mushrooms. Chanterelle, oyster, porcini and portobello. You try to tell me that we can’t find all of those varietals here but we can. And I do. I clean them with a cut-up sheet, covered in lilies of the valley. I chop them up all together, finely, dicing and mincing until the cutting board is blacked. I warm a skillet with a slab of butter and a sliced clove of garlic. I add the mushrooms. I stir, rhythmically. I close my eyes and I breath in the smell of this place. I eat a bowl of this with nothing else but a curl of parmesan cheese. I use a fork that used to belong to my sister. I watch the sun fall behind the trees and I listen to the owl reminding me of night. You’ve been by the water, trying to catch a trout. You come home once it’s dark, empty handed. But not for long… Soon you, too, have a bowl of mushrooms and a glass of elderflower wine.

“Real slow. Real good.” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday, December 31, 2013
5:16pm
5 minutes
from Phil’s Original BBQ storefront

I’d been craving baked beans for a whole week. I couldn’t bring myself to buy the crappy, canned kind that we used to take camping and heat up over the fire. “I’m going to make baked beans from scratch!” I proclaimed to no one other than myself. Ben was reading about weather patterns on the sofa, a cup of miso broth steaming on the window ledge behind him. He’d gotten a cold playing ultimate frisbee in the snow. “I’m going to make baked beans from SCRATCH!” I say again, this time for him. “Hm,” he grunts, sipping his broth and turning the page. It’s a long process. First, I soak the pinto beans overnight. Then, I simmer them on the stove for an hour. Then I prepare the mixture of tomato paste, molasses, caramelized onions, maple syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper. Next, I stir the sauce into the beans and pour the mixture into a casserole dish. Finally, I bake it for six hours, stirring it all only once, after hour three. Around seven, Ben emerges from his cumulous clouds and hail storms, and asks what’s for dinner. “Another two hours til the beans are ready, honey,” I say, “have a snack.” “The what?” Says Ben, perturbed that I’m not his mother. “The baked beans! I’m making baked beans from scratch.” “Wow…” he replies. “Why would anybody do that?”

“Perhaps she will spend the morning” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, November 23, 2013
8:26pm
5 minutes
The Days You’ve Spent
Suzanne Bowness


Perhaps she will spend the morning writing love letters for every day that he will be gone this winter. She will write them in different colours, each one for a day of the week. “Thursday” will be green. “Monday” will be purple. Perhaps she will spend as much time as it takes to find the perfect brownie recipe, one with just enough butter and melted chocolate, one that encourages the cook to lick the bowl and top the brownies with Maldon salt. Perhaps she will make one pot of coffee and then another, when the first one goes down too easy and craves an encore. Perhaps she will do the laundry, but slowly, not rushing, smelling and folding and letting her hands keep warm in the soft downy. Perhaps she will make just enough noise to wake him and when he comes into the kitchen she will surprise him with kisses that taste like dreams.

“Harmony Organic Dairy” by Julia at her desk


Monday, August 26, 2013
1:49am
5 minutes
from the milk jar holding the purple flower

we got one of those flyers in our mailbox (and by our mailbox, I mean the communal one that’s hanging outside the communal entrance to our shared, communal house), and without thinking twice, took that bad boy inside and starting making plans with it. We didn’t think that maybe one of the other 5 tenants might want to take hold of the opportunity to use this flyer, and the services it provides, nor did we think of them at all. At all. AT ALL. We took it inside, read it, shelved it, refound it, re-read it, re-read it aloud, together, and with gusto, then decided we wanted to partake, posted it on our fridge, then never talked about it again. Now, we did and still do want the organic bounty delivered to our door weekly because we thought/think it would help us expand our normal “non-cook” attitude and actually make something different (AKA something that does not or will not include/feature bulgogi meat and broccoli). We were serious about it for maybe one hour, and then we made sure it had a good magnet to keep it company on the front of our fridge (or should I say, freezer, as the part we view less frequently because we only have ice cubes and bulgogi meat inside it).

“only the sound of the wind” by Julia at Saving Gigi


Friday, April 5, 2013
11:20a at Saving Gigi
5 minutes
Misery
Stephen King


Caught in a dizzy haze, I was waiting for you to come home all day. Kept running to the front window every time I heard footsteps-I thought it was you, you know. Thought you’d be back and we could make lunch together-or watch a show. But then my mind started spinning and I was caught in a dizzy haze. It made me feel almost sick but not enough to lay down. Maybe it was the missing of you–the absence of you that made me feel turned upside down. That or that I forgot to eat because I kept waiting to cook the cauliflower with you. I would have started without you, I suppose. It wouldn’t be too bad if I had tried to prepare some key ingredients. But I didn’t know if you wanted soup or if you wanted to roast it. I didn’t want to call just in case you were busy. So I was quiet for a long time – left alone in this rickety house with only the sound of wind to keep me company. You didn’t tell me where you were. Or when you’d be back. I panicked for a minute thinking you’d never return because you liked wherever you ended up better than being with me. I know, I know, that’s crazy. But I told you. I was caught there. In a dizzy haze.