Newsbites + Other Bits: A Weekly Roundup (vol. 5)

A still life painting featuring a bowl with pineapple slices, a mango to the right and in the back, a full bottle of home made wine.

Bodegón de Vino, Piña y Mangó by Francisco Oller y Cestero (1870)

A weekly edition of content I think you'd like to read, listen to, and watch

Hey there! 👋 It’s been a while. Thank you for your messages wondering about what happened to this weekly roundup. It’s nice to know there are people out there reading this space.

After 14 months of living by and through a screen – marathon video calls, regular online orders, reading social media posts about people believing the pandemic is a hoax and equating wearing masks with oppression – spending time online is increasingly becoming a mental and physical endurance exercise.

The kitchen is where I’ve found a respite from the pandemic. It’s one of the few spaces where I feel comfort and joy.

Eating, drinking, and reading about food and wine have been my saviours and consolations thus far.

Therefore, this week’s roundup is dedicated to gastronomic delights and interests.

❤️ Be kind to yourself and others.

📖 To Read

  • The French women warriors who served wine on the battlefield. Besides selling wine and cooking for French troops, Kari Elgin writes in Messy Nessy that these fearless women “were key to maintaining a successful army by managing supplies and providing logistical support to those at war, therefore ensuring the livelihood of French soldiers. They served as prominent members of the French Army from the early 1700s up to World War I." Like the article points out, echoes of les Vivandières resonate in other armies. I'm reminded of Las Soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution.

  • How lesbian luminaries put together a groundbreaking cookbook. This fun and insightful historical account by Rachel Hopes Cleves for GastroObscura on how The Whoever Said Dykes Can’t Cook? Cookbook, “ushered in a new genre of fundraising cookbooks for queer organizations.” The recipes featured in this cookbook were selected on their suitability to be served up at “sensual, magnificent feasts: lesbian potlucks.”

  • Indulge in West African cuisine recipes and history. Feast Afrique is a digital library of West African gastronomy. It includes cookbooks dating back as far as 1828. Its creator, Ozoz Sokoh, talked to Sahelien’s Kay Ugwuede about this remarkable historical archive. For Sokoh it was important “to remove this narrative that enslaved West Africans were on the farm and in the kitchen. It was beyond physical labor. They weren’t just toiling and cooking and sweating. They brought knowledge systems, they brought techniques, skills, toolkits, and these books were a reminder of that.”

  • 👂 To Listen

    Cook or drink along Marcos Valle’s full boogie funk. If colours could dance, they’d do it to the beat of the song Strelar. It’s one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite musicians. It’s the perfect soundtrack to pour yourself a glass of (your choice of poison) or chop some veggies.

    👁️ To Watch

    Enjoy cocktails with a curator. The Frick Museum in New York City every first Friday of the month used to hold in-person sessions where curators would give mini lectures on the significance and historical context of certain paintings in the museum’s collection.

    Not wanting to lose this tradition during the pandemic, the museum adapted and created online weekly episodes where curators match each selection with recipes for make-at-home themed drinks (with or without alcohol).

    As much as I miss going out, I also love experiencing these entertaining and educational videos in full kalsarikännit from the comfort of my couch.

    🎇 Other Bits

    A happy thought.

    Wine gives brilliance to the countryside, exalts the hearts, ignites the pupils, and teaches dancing to the feet.
    — José Ortega y Gasset, Spanish philosopher

    👀 Did I miss anything? Make a mistake? Let me know. Share with me your thoughts, suggestions, or critiques. Follow me on Twitter: @e_sarin. Or email me at: