Dear Julie: Where is the Love? America Broken - No. 119
The words of Abraham Lincoln, Deepak Chopra, the Black Eyed Peas & The Judds. Plus some links to hopeful things to bake and cook in June.
“Action without love is irrelevant.” - Deepak Chopra
Thank you for writing and asking if everything is alright here…From your beautiful village in the English countryside, the news must look especially dark.
Are we alright? No, and especially not parents.
The days when I was pushed to make a work deadline in order to get to school pick-up on time was inconvenient for sure, and the summers at camp, not to mention the risks in college, maybe it’s better I didn’t know. Worrying is something I’ve always been good at.
But today, dropping off your child at school and wondering if the goodbye will be your last exchange? It’s just too much.
We are a broken country. As polarized since the Civil War. It’s constitutional rights of gun ownership versus laws to tighten background checks and ban assault rifles. It’s your view versus mine. It’s mistrust of government. And of the media. It’s people broken from Covid isolation, mental stress, and poverty.
I’m still proud of America in spite of its many flaws.
I place my hand over my heart and stand at attention anytime I hear The Star-Spangled Banner. Tears well up in my eyes. But America’s being torn right up the middle now, and the Buffalo supermarket slaughter and the Uvalde school tragedy that eerily reminds us of Sandy Hook have become the newest tragedies in our history book.
I went into a social media exchange with good intentions last week and a heated, polarized debate ensued. I then realized this is why I avoid the anger than spews from Twitter and lately from Instagram.
So I went back to the garden, my small contribution to the world. And I weeded the squash and planted some okra. I said I was keeping the garden simple this year, but what’s the harm in just a few more plants, right? Each year I try to squeeze in more plants after the season begins. Depending on Mother Nature, temps, critters, and rainfall, a few flourish and others are just too young to survive the heat.
They haven’t set roots. Like the departed children who hadn’t set their roots but were already bringing life and love to everyone around them. And now they’re gone.
A benefit of gardening is that it connects you with the earth and removes you from the present. And yet, I have the privilege of walking outdoors and escaping. I am not the parent or grandparent of a child who has been gunned down in the classroom. I am not crying my heart out seeing their small sneakers sitting by the back door.
And I don’t ever want to be. Ever.
Americans should be crying but pointing fewer fingers. And we should listen to the better angels of our nature.
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” - Abraham Lincoln in his first inauguration speech, March 4, 1861.
Memorial Day has just passed, Julie, and it is when we remember all who have died in America’s wars. It was first observed to commemorate fallen soldiers of the Civil War, a war that broke apart America, a nation divided by slavery. And while slavery was clearly wrong, I still have love of my home, the South.
Abraham Lincoln was born in rural central Kentucky and was a man of moderation, in his habits and words. His favorite meal was corn cakes and hot coffee, and even though he was introduced to finer foods through his wife, Mary Todd, who was originally from Lexington, KY, and her almond cake is one of my favorite pound cakes, Lincoln never gave up his simple tastes.
He had the weight of a broken country on his shoulders after the Civil War. And yet his brief words, and the poignancy of them, guided America:
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” - Abraham Lincoln in his second inauguration speech, March 4, 1865.
Lincoln was shot by an assassin six weeks later.
Guns, hatred, and brokenness sadly have been undercurrents of the American story. But if we could remember how to love, hold our tongues, and bind the wounds, could the unfathomable be possible? Could the clouds break?
What to Cook, Bake & Share this Summer! Links Below…
Back in September, as another wave of Covid hit, I wrote about war cake in lieu of back-to-school lunchbox suggestions. In March I wrote about the WWII chocolate loaf cake when Russia invaded Ukraine. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of hard times baking.
So if you keep scrolling you will find more uplifting recipes to make now and all summer. They come from my Archive of recipes, and a few were originally sent just to Paid Subscribers, but I have removed those paywalls for this week.
To be honest, Paid Subscribers do get more. They are nearly as close to me as family (!) and hear from me on Thursday, too. And I rely on their generosity to keep this newsletter going. So join us if you can!
Coming Thursday for Paid Subscribers
Salmon Madness! Five easy, irresistible ways to cook salmon this summer (and all year long). And I’ll announce May’s cookbook giveaway winner (!!!) who receives a beautiful autographed copy of Leah Koenig’s The Jewish Cookbook.
- xo, Anne
A Perfect 3-Step Tomato Pie: No. 22. Bake it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. Anytime!
Homemade Ranch is the White Shirt of Summer: No. 29. Why I am obsessed with the homemade version of the bottled salad dressing, and what to serve it with all summer.
Homemade Pesto is a Friend and a Condiment: No. 38. Make it while fresh basil is growing and in season and while you hum the theme to the Golden Girls.
A Perfectly Easy Peach Pie: No. 19. Here’s how to pile those lovely peaches onto crust in a skillet or a pie pan. And make people happy.
Baking a Chocolate Meringue Pie: No. 25. This recipe is a family-favorite and especially loved in the summer for some reason. Must be the meringue!
Pecan Tassies: No. 33. Little bites of pecan pie goodness from Nathalie Dupree. Perfect to bake for picnics and parties, or stash in the freezer.