Category Archives: Blog

A chocolatey story for Valentine’s Day

Chocolate bars and flowers

Undone Chocolate bars with Himalayan sea salt get dressed up for the holiday. Courtesy of Undone Chocolate.

 

My story on DC’s own Undone Chocolate appeared on The Jewish Daily Forward this weekend.

Check it out:

Sweet Momentum — Valentine’s Day at Undone Chocolate

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Loaves and enchiladas

Challah cooling after baking

Challah made by experienced and novice conference participants, December 2015. Photo by Rhea.

Last Friday, I joined a crowd of around 500 for MLK Shabbat at Sixth and I Synagogue. The service brought together members of Jewish community and the Turner Memorial AME Church. On Sunday and Monday, many celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the fight for civil rights at church and interfaith services.

These events remind me how a yearning for social justice can bind communities of faith, as well as the centrality of the sabbath.

Leading up to that weekend, I was honored to publish a piece about challah, the bread central to Jewish Shabbat tables:

A Thoughtful Loaf From ‘Yeast of Eden’

Earlier in the week, the Forward also posted a story featuring a recipe by local cookbook author and healthy eating guru Natasha Rosenstock Nadel:

Vegan Enchilada Casserole

I’ll end with a plug for another event. If you live in DC, check out Why Ethics?: Blacks, Jews and the Crisis of Political Solidarity in an Age of Terror tomorrow.

Happy eating, and may 2016 bring us closer together.

 

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Publication: Oils for Hanukkah

Think Before You Fry: Latkes frying in a pan

Tablet Magazine just published my piece on cooking oils for Hanukkah. Check it out:

Think Before You Fry

 

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Thankful for NaNoWriMo

Rhea at the laptop

Working off Thanksgiving dinner in New York. Thinking burns a ton of calories, you know. Photo credit: Marji Yablon.

As I write this, it is Thanksgiving. It’s also Day 26 of NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month. Like many others, I’m grateful for both the family and food I’ve enjoyed today. Like a hefty helping of my fellow writers, I’m also thankful for an opportunity to write (mostly) fiction (almost) every day this month.

I want to take a moment to reflect on what I’ve been doing for the past three-plus weeks. My arrangement is a network binding myself and three other scribes into a daily writing practice. We haven’t pledged to write a novel from whole cloth during this month (though one of us has, indeed, put the final stitches in her book-in-progress. Congratulations, Celeste!) We haven’t even committed to 30 days of fiction. It’s just about writing creatively–for any amount of time–every single day.

What has this meant for me? Let’s see. I’ve written:

  • Nine flash fiction stories
  • Five zygotes of additional stories
  • One pitch for an article (which was accepted!)
  • The article (link coming by Hanukkah)
  • Another pitch for an article (awaiting review)
  • A mysterious file that is blank except for the title “Maybe we thaw and gel”

Great thanks to Celeste, Dottye, and Cheryl for making this happen over daily emails. I’ll miss those one- and two-sentence check-ins. Looking forward to four more days, at the least.

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Publication: Shmita comes home

photo of an overgrown field with weeds and flowers, overlaid with the words

This past week, I was thrilled to publish my first piece for Tablet Magazine. It appeared on Wednesday, 9/15, right after Rosh Hashanah.

Check it out:

Giving It a Rest: What I learned by observing ‘shmita’—a sabbatical year—in my community garden

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Publication: Experimenting with urban rice

Alternating rows of green and brown in a field

A field at the University of DC’s Muirkirk Research Farm sprouts clover between rows of last year’s rice crop during a visit in April. Photo by Rhea.

I’ve been talking about my rice article for The Washington Post since…. well, April! And my interest in small-scale grain growing dates back to at least 2012. No, make that 2009!

I’m excited to share that at last, “Rice” is up. You can read it here:

How researchers are trying to grow an unusual urban crop: Rice

I so appreciate the people who you see quoted in the story. They were generous with their time and ideas.

Some of my geekier and historical references didn’t make the final cut. If you’re interested in the history of rice in the U.S., check out Black Rice by Judith A. Carney. Che Axum recommended it to me, and I will pass that along to you.

Here’s another story, by garden columnist Adrian Higgins, about UDC growing food: Can container gardening wipe out urban food deserts? These folks think so.

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Ben’s free flights and journalism ethics

Bomb--Arvin61r58

Bomb clip art by Arvin61r58

Interviews are minefields for sources. And the resulting articles? Almost too fickle and frightening to contemplate. At least that’s the view taken by the subject of a Rolling Stone feature who I’ve been reading about lately.

Ben Schlappig’s reaction to major media attention shows the one-two punch of trepidation and surprise that only a savvy source can experience. He describes being cautious taking part in the reporting process for Ben Wofford’s piece, and expecting to emerge either more flattered than he expected or woefully disappointed at the portrayal. The maelstrom of coverage—most of it piggybacking on the RS coverage (see here, here, here, and here)—also got me thinking about journalism ethics.

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