My current Netflix obsession is the BBC mystery show Father Brown. The series takes place in the 1950s, in a fictional English village where everyone gathers at the local church to share gossip and strawberry scones. I want to live there. Every episode follows the same, three-part formula: 1) Someone gets murdered; 2) no one is particularly sad about the murder; 3) the protagonist, a shrewd-but-empathetic priest, solves the crime. It’s simple and silly and relaxing enough to rid my body of bad feelings, even after I decide to forgo my 30-minute treadmill session to make Yorkshire Pudding.
But in an impressive feat of time management, I’ve been able to go down a Father Brown rabbit hole without neglecting my other escape: reading the internet for hours on end. Here are this week’s links, midnight readers. Please enjoy them with a large mug of Horlicks.
How The Sausage Is (Home)made
When I tell people that I’m “not a meat-eater,” they often assume I’m a vegetarian. But I’m not that either. I’m more like a bear: I mostly subsist on berries, fish, and trash (like stale vanilla wafers), but will seek out a chicken when I feel malnourished. I have complicated feelings about being a carnivore, but they melt away whenever I read something by the outstanding food writer Samin Nosrat. In this new piece, Nosrat celebrates breakfast sausage, which, like everything other than puff pastry and ketchup, is apparently better when it’s homemade. (Look out for her use of the phrase “a passion for wieners.” Perfect.) [New York Times Magazine]
A Final Goodbye Party
In the age of wellness, we spend a lot of time seeking out better ways to live. This exquisite piece by Esquire’s Libby Copeland emphasizes the importance of considering better and more natural ways to die. The crux of the story is this: North Carolina native Deloy Oberlin didn’t want to send his soulmate and partner of 48 years, Kate Oberlin, off into the “industrialized death process.” So, together, they decided to transform her funeral into a party — at which her corpse was a guest.
Copeland spent months interviewing and shadowing the Oberlins in an effort to demystify both the end of Kate’s life and the (unconventional) beginning of her after-life. The result is a stunning work of narrative journalism that made me tear up (okay, sob). Do: Read this for its cathartic and perspective-shifting power. Don’t: Pair it with wine. [Esquire]
Breakfast Of Champions
If you’re a person who lives in the world in 2017, then you probably know that cereal is no longer considered a healthy breakfast. People who care about what goes into their bodies start their mornings by mashing up avocados and cold-pressing non-GMO superfruits. Yes, I’m being a little snarky. It’s not that I don’t acknowledge the benefits of the nutritious-breakfast trend. (I do!) I just, on occasion, miss the days when waking up and pouring a bowl of glutinous goodness wasn’t a guilt-inducing act.
So I was happy to find this article on Honey Nut Cheerios — even though reading it only strengthened the case for our cultural shift away from cereal. Those honey-glazed O’s, as reporter Danny Hakim found out, are far from nutritious. If you’re feeling nostalgic for the golden era of breakfast, you might as well just splurge on, say, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a cereal that doesn’t pretend to be anything other than the sweet, crunchy, fructose-laden trash it is. Don’t mind if I do! [New York Times]
Time For A Sit
Courtesy of the men’s magazine Mel, I present you with an ode to “House Pants.” House Pants — capitalized, to show respect — don’t need to be pants at all, but rather any physically and emotionally supportive in-home garment. The writer’s House Pants are gray Nike joggers. Yours could be Lululemon leggings that lost their shape. Or they could be a dirt-colored, no-brand leg sack that had no discernible shape to begin with. Anything goes when it comes to House Pants, as long as they’re kind of gross, kind of wonderful, and glued to your body whenever you’re glued to the couch. [MEL]
Silence In The City
Earlier this year, author and adventurist Erling Kagge set out to find a sliver of quiet in New York City. After spending three years in Manhattan trying to escape the sounds of rumbling garbage trucks and humming generators, I was not surprised to learn that Kagge’s mission proved to be challenging — but not impossible.
Coincidentally, I spent yesterday afternoon in the “quietest place on earth,” which is an anechoic (anti-echo) chamber at Orfield Labs in Minneapolis. As promised, it was very, very quiet. But, as Kagge points out in this article — which is an introduction to his new book, Silence in the Age of Noise — there’s no reason to get extreme in your search for silence. A tucked-away corner in a museum is good enough. [The New York Times]
A Man, A Plan,
A Canal, Panama, A Cancellation
You cancel, I cancel, we all cancel plans. We’ve become a nation of cancelers. The New Yorker published a spot-on parody of two friends rescheduling on each other in 2015. All in all, canceling plans is a subject that gets a lot of coverage. But this piece is a good overview of the issue—why we do it (we’re tired, we’re socially anxious, we text too much), what we can do to stop it, and what to keep in mind when we make plans in the first place. After reading the article, I still chose a new episode of Shark Tank and a pint of cottage cheese over my friend’s art show. But — but! — I made that choice with new insight into my own behavior. I think that’s called progress. [Science of Us]