“The Edible Woman” Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream

by Cara Nicoletti on November 11, 2014

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It seems like everyone has been talking about feminism lately. Let’s do a quick recap.

There was Beyonce at the VMAs declaring herself a feminist during her set. Then, there was Annie Lennox criticizing that declaration. There was Emma Watson’s “HeForShe” speech for the UN, and then the backlash of that speech. Roxane Gay wrote a New York Times Bestseller called Bad Feminist and expressed her disinterest in making feminism more palatable, and Jenny Slate said “Fuck yeah,” when asked if she was a feminist. Thinking people the world over shed a frustrated tear over the woefully misguided “Women Against Feminism” tumblr, and then tried to forget it existed.

The personal iCloud accounts of dozens of female celebrities got hacked and their private (nude) photos were leaked everywhere on the internet. Rag magazines rejoiced, splashing censored versions of the leaked pictures on every cover next to words like “ruined” and “shame,” despite the fact that these women had done nothing wrong. This lead to lots of discussions about consent and sex crimes and the female body as a commodity. Then Lena Dunham ran a campaign called “Women are Watching” for Planned Parenthood and wrote a memoir called Not That Kind of Girl and was being called things like “the feminist voice of a generation,” until people read the memoir and decided she was no longer worthy of that label (and then some).

Let’s recap this recap:
-Beyonce is a feminist
-Annie Lenox is a feminist and Beyonce is not
-Emma Watson is a feminist and so is Jennifer Lawrence
-unless you talk to Roxane Gay who is one and says they are not
-Tumblr is a terrifying place
-Jenny Slate is queen
-Lena Dunham is a feminist
-Lena Dunham is not a feminist and hates women (and then some)

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“Stacey’s Emergency” Brown Butter Pecan Brownies

by Cara Nicoletti on September 29, 2014

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One morning, about two weeks after September 11, 2001, my mom did something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. My sister and I were eating cereal at the kitchen counter before school, and like every morning, my mom had The Today Show on the tiny kitchen TV. That TV was almost always on when she was in the kitchen, the hum of All My Children in the background while she made lunch, Oprah while she prepared dinner, Jeopardy or Seinfeld right before we sat down to eat. No one, including her, was ever really watching it. Those weeks after 9/11 were the exception, though. We couldn’t peel our eyes away from the TV, despite the fact that we had already seen the same footage over and over and over again.

Finally, one morning, when the plane flew into the tower for the thousandth time, my mom marched over to the TV and said, “Enough.” She switched the channel to PBS, sat down at the counter with my sister and me, and we watched Sesame Street until it was time for school. That became the new tradition. Despite the fact that I was a sophomore in high school, I looked forward to watching Sesame Street every morning with her. It made my world feel calmer, safer.

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“All the Light We Cannot See” Cardamom Peaches

by Cara Nicoletti on September 2, 2014

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It seemed like the peaches were exceptionally sweet this summer—did anyone else notice that? The figs were bland, the tomatoes mealy, the cherries gone before I could make a judgment, but the peaches were perfectly juicy and sweet—a small consolation prize for a summer that was fast and rainy and shrouded in pre-apocalyptic news. There was (is) Israel and Palestine, Russia and Ukraine, Christians being chased from Mosul, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Syria in general, Ebola in Africa, race riots in Ferguson, 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, plane crashes, bombs, volcanoes, floods. Not that you needed any reminding.

There has been a heaviness in my heart these past few months, one that made me feel not-quite-right about posting here, one that nagged at me and said “this does not matter.” But I’m here because this is normalcy, a safe place that I need, a distraction that maybe we all do.
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