I just can’t this week: After losing power for four days, we lost water. And then … Afghanistan.
So for our cocktail this week, I’m taking myself back to a happier time: Summer 2018.
I spent that summer teaching and eating my way through Rome with my friend Joanne. My great discovery? The joy of an Aperol Spritz in the late afternoon. It’s bright orange hues and fizzy bitter-sweetness make it the perfect drink for sipping while reading a book in the piazza. It’s light and refreshing and won’t leave you too happy-hour drunk to enjoy a perfect late dinner of cacio e pepe and melon with prosciutto. (2)
The Aperol Spritz is also a fave of our neighbors, Noah and Annemarie. I think it’s time to mix up a pitcher and call them over for a drink by the bonfire in our backyard. It’s not Rome, but it’s delightfully Detroit.
Note: As always, garbage in, garbage out. Prosecco is the base of this drink, so you want a good one. That doesn't have to mean pricey. Here’s a list, which starts at $12 a bottle.
WEEKLY BOOK RECCO: ¡Hola Papi! How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer
This week’s recommendation comes from Bar\Heart editor Caitlin Cruz: Where do I even start with ¡Hola Papi!? JP is such a gift! Is that too cliche? Ugh, probably. But I know so few people who could take a Grindr opening and build probably the most empathetic-yet-wacky, outlandish-yet-firm advice column. This book is filled with stories about growing up very much in the closet in Oklahoma and what it’s like to be Mexican-American and grapple with a biracial identity. But JP is also answering universal questions like “How gay can I be?” and “How do I become a good person?” It’s a tall order, but JP delivers.
If you're still down to travel, a vacation house with loved ones definitely beats busy airports and hotels. But you've got to cook — and you know the house is never going to have a sharp knife.
So what all do you bring? Your whole kitchen? The hilarious Dan Pelosi — self-described “mom” and chef behind GrossyPelosi — has three packing levels, depending on your ambition: Doing The Least, Pretty Standard, and Doing the Most.
Here's what's in his “Doing the Least” kit, which I'm definitely packing for my upcoming birthday trip to Wisconsin.
Wooden smiley spoon
Quarter sheet pan
Maldon sea salt
Red pepper flakes
Stainless steel measuring cups and spoons
Wine and bottle opener
3 knives: chef's knife; serrated bread knife & paring knife
Your favorite coffee
The next levels include things like enamelware, tablecloths and rainbow sprinkles. You know, for when you're feeling extra.
Got some good advice? Leave it in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 THINGS WE’RE READING ON THE INTERWEBZ
— The recollections of a woman who covered the fall of the Taliban for NPR and then stayed in Kandahar as a civilian.
This week’s recommendation comes from Bar\Heart editor Caitlin Cruz: Well, this really comes from my girlfriend, but I will take the credit. Seattle’s Mars Hill Church was founded in 1996 by the charismatic preacher Mark Driscoll. Over the next 18 years, as churches and evangelical pastors built brands online and in person, Mars Hill became a force to be reckoned with. Then, suddenly in 2014, Mars Hill closed its doors. What happened?
As someone who grew up Catholic (I do not care about the pope!) but went to a nondenominational Christian wilderness camp (I’m taking no questions at this time), I’m fascinated by how these churches become such power centers.
The podcast is hosted by Mike Cosper of Christianity Today so there’s definitely a point of view, but I think his history as a pastor at a similar church helps ground the story of Mars Hill’s decline.
Welcome to an occasional feature from Friend of Bar\Heart, Shana, she of the amazing “oh shit kit.” It’s for when someone in popular culture annoys us enough that she just can’t keep quiet. The person isn't necessarily “canceled” — mostly because we’re really tired of that debate — but they DO need to shut their pie hole.
Matt Damon: Previously, my opinion on Matt Damon was that I didn't have one. Then he decided to tell us all about using an anti-gay slur and getting schooled by his daughter. And then made things worse when he tried to explain his original comments. Matt, honey, no. I'm glad you've learned a thing; your kid seems great. But you didn't need to tell us this story in the first place. Shut your pie hole, Matt Damon.
Jeopardy and your new White Dude Host: You made a big (apparently performative) show of auditioning new people for Alex's job. They were (does a quick Google search) sort of diverse? There were women and people of color and people from the LQBTQ+ community! There were some actually interesting options! Instead, you went with a white dude none of us had ever heard of. A white dude who turns out to have a not great track record with his treatment of a diverse group of people. Fantastic. LeVar Burton was right there. He comes with a built-in audience of nerds who love him from Star Trek and actual generations of kids who know him from Reading Rainbow. He's smart and funny. It does not appear that he has regularly been kind of an ass.
Since this is a newsletter about belonging, inclusivity goes a long way. When people see themselves represented, they feel like they belong. Jeopardy had a huge opportunity to include a lot more people in their audience. They opted not to.
Shut your pie hole, Jeopardy and your new White Dude Host.
Note from Amy: Apparently Jeopardy listens to Shana. Just as we prepared to email this newsletter, they sacked the White Dude Host for his comments. But he’ll stay on as an executive producer.
We'll give the Dictionary the last word.
When your cat brother sits on your head.
That's it for this week, folks. Be sure to share with a friend and comment below! I want to hear what you're reading, drinking and thinking.
See you next week for Cocktail Hour.
This recipe makes a full pitcher for a party. For one glass, use a 3-2-1 ratio: 3 oz. Prosecco, 2 oz. Aperol, 1 oz. fizzy water. Pour over ice; add orange wedge. Of course, you can adjust to your booze-bitterness preferences.
Ok, sure, that was a #humblebrag or maybe just a brag-brag; either way, 10-year-old Amy living in Fruita, Colorado, is impressed with 40-year-old Amy.