2020年4月3日 星期五

Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’

And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
Afternoon reading with Carter.Jamelle Bouie
Author Headshot

By Jamelle Bouie

Opinion Columnist

By my wife’s count we are on Day 20 of “shelter in place,” leaving the house only to get groceries and take the dog on long walks, for her sanity — and ours. Given that most of you are almost certainly experiencing a similar existence, I thought you might be interested to know what life looks like over here these days.

Our mornings are very different from what they were a month ago. Schools are closed, so my wife does not need to wake up as early to head to work. The gyms are closed, so I’m also up a little later, 7 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. Even Carter is sleeping more, waking up at 6:30 or 6:45 rather than 6:00.

Now that we’re not in a rush every morning, we have time to relax. I’ve been making proper breakfasts for everyone: waffles for the boy, grain and vegetable gratin for my wife and me, and oven-baked steel cut oatmeal for everyone when we’re up for something warm. Like a lot of people, we’ve been baking bread and using that for sandwiches and other meals. And dinners have tended toward the simple and comforting versus the complex and time-consuming.

When we’re not working, and when Carter is napping, we’re reading or exercising or doing things around the house, like cleaning and tending the garden. And like everyone else we’re also utilizing technology to stay in touch with friends and family.

Life is fairly pleasant, all things considered. And I’m also very aware that we are very lucky to have flexible jobs and financial security, as well as to live in a place where authorities and officials are taking the coronavirus very seriously. If you’re inclined, I’d love to know how you all are faring. Feel free to write me about your routines, your workouts or whatever you’re doing to stay sane at jamelle-newsletter@nytimes.com. I’ll share some in next week’s newsletter, in addition to more updates from here in Charlottesville, Va.

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What I Wrote

In Friday’s column, I argued for placing Donald Trump in the pantheon of Worst Presidents for his disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The list of presidential failures is long and varied. But when it comes to failure in the face of an external force — a natural disaster or an economic meltdown — it is difficult to find anything as catastrophic as President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, even at this early stage of the crisis.

I also did a live Twitter chat with readers and followers. You can watch the whole thing here.

Now Reading

Vann Newkirk II on the coronavirus crisis in the American South, for The Atlantic.

Ulka Anjaria on Bollywood for Public Books.

Lila Shapiro on the author and novelist Lawrence Wright for New York magazine.

Amy Hoffman looks back at the AIDS crisis in Boston Review.

Truman Capote in 1957 on Marlon Brando, for The New Yorker.

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Feedback

If you’re enjoying what you’re reading, please consider recommending it to friends. They can sign up here. If you want to share your thoughts on an item in this week’s newsletter or on the newsletter in general, please email me at jamelle-newsletter@nytimes.com.

Photo of the Week

Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, Va.Jamelle Bouie

One of the things I’ve been doing is taking long midnight walks around town with my digital Leica range finder and a tripod, to document the quiet. I’ve taken hundreds of images so far, but only a few are keepers. Here is one of them, of a synagogue in the historic downtown, taken at about 12:30 a.m. There was one other person around — someone on a bike ride, who waved and said hi when he saw me.

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Now Eating: Martha Rose Shulman’s Chard and Sweet Corn Gratin

I make this all the time during the warmer months, and it will be on the menu for breakfast next week, to serve with buttery scrambled eggs and hot coffee. No adjustments necessary, unless you are vegan. Recipe is from The New York Times Cooking section.

Ingredients

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 generous bunch (¾ to 1 pound) Swiss or rainbow chard, stemmed and washed
  • Salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 to 3 ounces Gruyère, grated (1/2 to ¾ cup), to taste
  • Kernels from 2 cooked ears sweet corn (1½ to 2 cups)
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, grated (¼ cup)

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin.

Blanch chard: Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem and wash the chard leaves. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add chard. (Set aside stems for another use or discard.) Blanch 1 to 2 minutes, until tender but still bright. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, then drain thoroughly and squeeze out excess water; chop medium-fine.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet and add garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, then stir in rosemary, thyme and chopped blanched chard. Season with salt and pepper, and stir over medium heat until chard is nicely coated with oil, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir in chard mixture and Gruyère. Stir in corn and mix well. Scrape into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan over top and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned on the top and sides. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

IN THE TIMES

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