Last Wednesday, I gathered with 2,000 meditators in Central Park for ir collective evening of silence. After weeks of feeling like the world was on fire—a feeling that seemed unlikely to dissipate then, and has indeed in the last 24 hours, only gotten worse—it was a welcome reminder that the best way to fight fear is through unity and love, a sentiment that The Big Quiet calls “radical inclusiveness.”
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what this means around my table. In times of radical pain and ugliness it’s easy to retreat. To feel helpless, and then eventually, desensitized. It’s easy to feel that what you do in the world is trite. And as someone who feels barely qualified to solve the complex issues of gluten-free donuts, let alone world peace, I’ll admit to grappling with all of the above.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve sat on my hands or buried them in a bowl of shortbread dough. I’ve carried on business as usual, all the while feeling like a phony. It’s so central to my mission here—on this site, through the wellness project, and beyond—that a better self leads to a better world. Yet, the world remains steeped in injustice, violence, and rage.
For my cynical side, these events put a pin in that mission, and reveal the hemp seed hacks, hydration tips and quests for the perfect gluten-free pasta, for what they are: a privilege. But my less cynical side still believes in the power of personal wellness for good. I just recognize that when it comes to solving the big ticket problems, a better self is not enough. To effect change, we have to come together.
I love this line from Brene Brown’s talk on empathy: “rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.”
I’ve been trying to remind myself, and hope to remind you, that there is power in gathering together—even if our home doesn’t allow for something as large and radical as a 2,000-person meditation. Each day allows us to put our own special brand of love on the plate, and it allows us to be as inclusive with it as we want to be.
Though we all need to eat three times a day, getting dinner on the table—sharing a homemade meal—is often so much easier said than done. This is true for people of any means, but certainly for those who have so few. But I encourage you this week to make it a priority. Gather your tribe, nourish those who are hurting, and encourage empathy in those who are not.
The power of a meal may seem like small potatoes compared to more overt demands– signing a petition, mounting a sign, or shouting in the streets. But I promise you that these gestures, these conversations, do also matter.
To make the task of a dinner shared a little easier, today’s recipe errs on the comfort side of comfort food. It comes together in less than thirty minutes, using fresh sweet corn and a modest amount of whole milk ricotta to create a creamy sauce, with a hit of cayenne for spice and chives for brightness. It’s a simple, seasonal dinner that will stick to your ribs, and hopefully, insulate your hearts.
Thank you for taking the time to read this deviation from normal FMP programming, and a bigger thank you to those brave bloggers (Lily, Joy, Grace, and Jessica, to name a few), who inspired me to speak up, even when I didn’t know what to say.
If any of my recipes find their way to your table this week, I hope that each bite can be a small reminder of all the ties that bind us together. Food can be an amazing olive branch and unifier. And I hope that mine makes you feel loved and happy and full.
Now, back to the matter of those donuts…
Sweet and Spicy Corn Pasta with Ricotta and Chives (Gluten-Free)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups yellow or bicolor corn kernels from 3 to 4 cobs
- 1 small yellow onion finely diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh ricotta
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
- 8 ounces fresh gluten-free fettucine
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil. Sauté the corn and onion over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until beginning to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt and cayenne. Cook for one minute more, until very fragrant. Remove from the heat.
- In a small food processor, puree half of the corn mixture with the ricotta and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup cook water. Drain and toss immediately with the ricotta mixture, remaining corn and 1 tablespoon of chives. Add some of the cooking liquid to loosen the sauce if necessary. Garnish with the remaining chives and enjoy immediately!
Gluten-free flours have different densities, which means each pasta brand might vary on weight. If you don't use one of the brands I recommend above, the best rule of thumb for knowing how much to use is to go by the servings on the back of the package. For this recipe, you'll want to make sure you have enough pasta for 2 generous servings. For more tips on gluten-free pasta, click here. For more recommended brands, click here.