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Happy New Year, dear readers and friends! [she says–borderline aggressively–while giving 2016 a final boot into its nameless grave] I spent New Year’s Eve with an at-home hotpot session: six of us bumping elbows around the coffee table in our living room (the dining table had been taken over by what appeared to be the entire produce section of our nearest Chinese supermarket) while tong ho, napa cabbage, tofu, crescents of kabocha squash, vermicelli, and various meats bubbled away over our old camp stove.

As my brother and I have gotten older and become–at least in years–Proper Adults, my parents have mostly done away with the sense of ceremony around the holidays. Maybe we’re all a bit tired; maybe it isn’t as necessary now to curate the sort of experiences that they thought children in this country ought to have. I am grateful, grateful, grateful for our years of ornament hanging (who remembers making salt dough ornaments in elementary school? Lumpy “J-O-Y”s with a little portrait in the middle and plastic holly on the ends?) and rosemary-spiked turkeys; I’m not going to lie though–seeing the endless parade of festivity and seasonal baked goods on my social media feeds the past few weeks had me feeling a wistful sort of way, but these chill, unexceptional nights? They’re alright! I stayed up long enough to watch 2016 die and then flopped into bed.

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On figs and not forgetting

There was death in Fes. And figs. It was the summer of 2013 and one moment I was sidestepping a mule moving crates of soda down another of Fes al Bali’s innumerable labyrinthine streets (one of Fes’ medinas–the typically walled “old city” characteristic to many North African cities–and thought… Read More