“An indicator has value when it’s indicating something. But if it’s not indicating something it shouldn’t be there, it’s one of those funny things, you spend so much more time to make it less conspicuous… And if you think about it, so many of the products we’re surrounded by, they want you to be very aware of just how clever the solution was. When the indicator comes on, I wouldn’t expect anyone to point to that as a feature, but at some level I think you’re aware of a calm and considered solution that speaks about how you’re going to use it, and not the terrible struggles that we as designers and engineers had in trying to solve some of the problems.”—Jonathan Ives
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern.”—Annie Dillard
“There’s something in the way time moves through and around a novel, and through us and around us when we are reading it, that is singular to books, that is transcendent, that causes us to rise above the highway, to contemplate time’s passage and its meaning, and to feel its wistful power and wrenching distortions. I think this is truer and more pronounced with novels than with any other form.”—Jess Walters, author of Beautiful Ruins
“An increasingly mechanistic, fragmented, decontextualised world, marked by unwarranted optimism mixed with paranoia and a feeling of emptiness, has come about, reﬂecting, I believe, the unopposed action of a dysfunctional left [brain] hemisphere.”—Iain McGilchrist
“In the early 1950s, the Betty Crocker Company introduced a cake mix so that people could readily make excellent tasting cakes at home. No muss, no fuss: just add water, mix, and bake. The product failed. “The cake mix was a little too simple. The consumer felt no sense of accomplishment, no involvement with the product. It made her feel useless.” Betty Crocker solved the problem by requiring the cook to add an egg to the mix, thereby putting pride back into the activity. Adding the egg gave the act of baking a sense of accomplishment, whereas just mixing water into the cake mix seemed too little, too artificial.”—
Donald A. Norman, Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things
“I’m super-fascinated by how texting and modern technology have made the early stages of our romantic interactions frustrating—that roller coaster of emotions you go through when you text some girl you are into, asking about dinner. You don’t hear back for hours, and you are going crazy . Then you look on Instagram, and she’s, like, posting a photo of her dog and you’re like, What the fuck? Why are you Instagramming photos of your puppy, you rude piece of shit? Respond to my text!”—Aziz Ansari interviews Aziz Ansari [via annie]. (via librarysciences)
“We reinvent a fake history for ourselves that doesn’t deal with the complexities. That kind of self congratulatory history that passes for heritage keeps us from seeing ourselves and doing better.”—Paraphrased from Little War on the Prairie | This American Life
“I never approve, or disapprove, of anything now. It is an absurd attitude to take towards life. We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices.”— Lord Henry Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
It’s complicated being a lady in business with mostly men.
To what I imagine is the dismay of my alma matter, Wellesley College, I’m not very vocal about the role of women in business. Not because I don’t believe in gender equality, I do, but because it’s just so complicated to iron out all my own misgivings on the topic let alone communicate my position in a concise, thoughtful and convincing way.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself nodding along with Gabrielle Hamilton in Blood Bones & Butter where she describes working with men and the love-hate relationship she has (and I have) with other women doing the same.
It was not until I opened my own place that I realized how present and ongoing the struggle to be female in a professional kitchen had been. It’s like the hood during service. Everybody talks about the heat in a kitchen, and the heat, without doubt, is formidable. It’s a powerful opponent. But for me the real punisher is the exhaust hood, with the suction so powerful that it sucks up all the metal bound filters from their spots and bangs them against the lip of the hood. The big mechanic kick of the fan belt starting up, the unified clank of the filters rising — like a Rockettes kick, all in unison — then followed by eighteen draining hours of heavy-duty vacuum hum, over which orders are barked, dishes are clanked, pots are slammed around, and the stereo blasts. Then finally at midnight or one, after the disher has turned off the fryer, someone turns off the hood and a profound silence descends. I never realize how much space the noise of the hood takes up in my mind and head — that heavy vacuum sound — until I shut it off, and total bliss and relief set in.
In the same way, when I opened my own restaurant, I enjoyed such an absence of boy-girl jostling that I only then understood that, all through my entire work life, I had been working a double shift. I had been working the same shift as my peers, with all of its heat and heft and long hours on your feet. But I had been doing a second job all along, as well —that of constantly, vigilantly figuring out and calibrating my place in that kitchen with those guys to make a space for myself that was bearable and viable. Should I wear pink clogs or black steel-toe work shoes? Lipstick or Chapstick? Work double hard, double fast, double strong, or keep pace with the average Joe? Swear like a line cook or giggle like a girl?
Meanwhile, the parsley needs to be chopped, and the veal chops seared off. There is, still, the work itself to do.