Time to Take a Break

I want to revisit a time that made me happy. I invite you to look back to a moment that brought you joy, too. Find what you can to feed your soul and rejuvenate your body so you can participate in finding the solutions to our current troubles. Take a break in this time of the Pandemic and Black Lives Matter to temporarily distance yourself from the daily bombardment of negative news.

It is a time that I truly hope is not a moment but a movement. May we all keep the movement alive until we have made lasting changes.

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I remember how I felt on a lovely June day in 2017 when I visited the North Carolina Museum of Art and joined the “Ladies in Sequined Dresses and Sneakers” from New York that led us through the art galleries marching and stepping up to the music of the Bee Gees: Staying Alive. Ironic title, isn’t it?

I hope that the video at the end of this post lifts your spirits.

A Little Music and Movement Can Make You See Things Differently

Originally published June 6, 2016

Yesterday, I went to the North Carolina Art Museum at 10 a.m. to move to music.

Two women led, followed by a man in a suit holding an open laptop channeling the songs that were mostly by the Bee Gees. The women, in sequined dresses and sneakers, stomped, marched, trotted in time with the music. Thirteen women and two men, ranging in age from 20 to 70 plus, followed behind, mimicking the women’s movements. We didn’t talk.

I felt exhilarated racing through the empty museum with music bouncing off the walls surrounded by other exuberant people. The moves were not stressful. I did most of them except balancing on one leg and I stopped halfway through the jumping jacks.

The group stopped intermittently in front of a piece of art: statue, still life, portrait, and continued to move/exercise in place. Short inspirational narratives, previously taped by Maira Kalman, punctuated the music. Normally, when I visit a museum, I would gaze at the art in quiet contemplation. This time my mind and body seemed as one, absorbing the stimuli transmitted from the environment, my thoughts suspended.

When the two women dropped to the floor, I felt as if someone turned off the lights. Lying among my fellow participants with arms and legs outstretched, I realized that fifty minutes had flown by.

Now the day after, the residual glow from yesterday remains with me.

My new goal is to have more days where I step out of the ordinary.

Thanks Monica Bill Barnes & Company!

Anna Bass,me,Monica Bell Barnes, Robbie Saenz de Viteri

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The first performance The Museum Workout appeared at the NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Check out the video of the performance. 

photograph by loulex for the New Yorker

Madame X, meet Ladies in Sequined Dresses and Sneakers. For “The Museum Workout,” which starts a four-week run on Jan. 19, Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, Everywoman dancers of deadpan zaniness, guide tours of the Metropolitan Museum of Art before public hours, leading light stretching and group exercises as they go. Recorded commentary by the illustrator Maira Kalman, who planned the route, mixes with Motown and disco tunes. Might raised heart rates and squeaking soles heighten perception?

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Beans

I don’t make New Year resolutions anymore. I have given up losing and gaining the same ten pounds over and over my whole adult life. However, I do want to eat more healthy: less red meat, more veggies, omit sugar, and reduce my reliance on processed food.

In an effort to meet my goals, I am expanding my cooking repertoire. Melissa Clark who writes for the New York Times has tips for eating less meat. Her first suggestion is to eat more beans and the second is to use high protein grains, and, she adds that pasta counts. Who doesn’t love giving pasta a thumbs up!

I made her Indian Butter Chickpea recipe the other day. If you’re interested, try making it. It’s easy and the ingredients are not exotic. See below.

 

Note: Melissa Clark writes beautifully about her interface with food. I always enjoy her columns in the NYTs.

 

Happy New Year and healthy eating!

 

David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

EASY

Indian Butter Chickpeas

MELISSA CLARK

  • YIELD 4 to 6 servings
  • TIME 1 hour 10 minutes

 

A vegetarian riff on Indian butter chicken, this fragrant stew is spiced with cinnamon, garam masala and fresh ginger, and is rich and creamy from the coconut milk. You could add cubed tofu here for a soft textural contrast, or cubed seitan for a chewy one. Or serve it as it is, over rice to catch every last drop of the glorious sauce. You won’t want to leave any behind.

Featured in: The Meat Lover’s Guide To Eating Less Meat.
Indian
BeansCurriesButterChickpeaCoconut MilkGaram MasalaGarlicGingerTomatoEasyWeekdayMain CourseVegetarian

INGREDIENTS

  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1large onion, minced
  • 1 ½teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 4garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 1tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2teaspoons garam masala
  • 1small cinnamon stick
  • 1(28-ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1(15-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2(15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
  • Ground cayenne (optional)
  • Cooked white rice, for serving
  • ½cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, for serving

PREPARATION

  1. Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until golden and browned around the edges, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. (Don’t be tempted to turn the heat up to medium-high; keeping the heat on medium ensures even browning without burning the butter.)

  2. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook another 1 minute. Stir in cumin, paprika, garam masala and cinnamon stick, and cook another 30 seconds.

  3. Add tomatoes with their juices. Using a large spoon or flat spatula, break up and smash the tomatoes in the pot (or you can use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the tomatoes while they are still in the can). Stir in coconut milk and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and continuing to mash up the tomatoes if necessary, to help them break down.

  4. Stir in chickpeas and a pinch of cayenne if you like. Bring the pot back up to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

  5. Serve spooned over white rice and topped with cilantro.