If you were subscribed to Comfort for the Apocalypse you might be wondering three things:
Where the hell have you been? It’s been months!
Why is this showing up on a Sunday? I thought it was a Friday affair.
Where is the rest of it? I remember it being much longer.
Also, you might notice it’s coming from a different email address (though who pays that much attention, really).
Short answer: Comfort for the Apocalypse is returning to life as a bi-monthly mailing: a “small comforts” version on the second Sunday, followed by a longer version on the last Friday. I’ve switched platforms to get more services (such as my own domain), and to help me reach different audiences.
I hope you’ll stick around, but if not you can unsubscribe at the bottom of this post.
Sunday recipe: Morning Glory Muffins
I’m kicking off the new year and the Sunday newsletter with a favourite small comfort. This recipe came from a friend a few months ago, and now I make a batch every couple of weeks. These muffins are nutrient-dense, super-tasty, keep for several days without getting stale, and freeze/thaw well. If only I could make them for you on this chill winter morning!
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon or allspice
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 large apple, grated (dice the apple for more texture)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit, diced
3 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use a canola/olive blend)
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 and prepare muffin tin with liners or greasing/spraying the cups.
Combine first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then add carrot, apple, coconut, raisins - and mix well by hand.
Whisk eggs, honey, oil, and vanilla together in another bowl.
Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and stir until fully incorporated.
Fill muffin cups (batter is very thick) - and bake at 350 for 50 minutes.
Note: Nut flours are ridiculously expensive. I make my own by grinding raw almonds in the blender until they become a fine meal (stopping before they turn into butter).
In these Sunday editions, we’ll focus on novels with themes close to my heart.
Primeval and Other Times - Olga Tokarczuk
Olga Tokarczuk won the Nobel prize in 2018 and she became part of my pandemic reading list last year. This and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead were two of my favourite 2020 reads.
God sees, time escapes, death pursues, eternity waits.
Primeval and Other Times reads like a dark fairytale. It is a mythic history of Poland from 1914 to the near-present as experienced in the fictional hamlet of Primeval. Through one lens it is the story of three generations of the miller’s family raised at the confluence of the Black and White Rivers. Through another it is the story of forest witches and lovers, a mysterious board game, bootleggers and soldiers, and a passive creator-god with love but no agency. We hear from all of these characters and others, as lives emerge, rise, and disappear over the 200-page span of Tokarczuk’s tale. This is not straight-ahead narrative, but rather told through an interconnected cosmology of humans, animals, and objects. Though characters attempt to control their own trajectory, the events of the world move unceasingly through and around them in surprising and sometimes cruel ways.
Man harnesses his suffering to time. He suffers as a result of the past and extends his suffering into the future. In this way he creates despair.
Admittedly, this isn’t a “cheerful” read for the start of the year, but it’s a good snuggle-under-the-covers winter read. Beautiful in its language and imagery, attuned to the cycles of nature and life. Tokarczuk captures the intimacy of the animals, plants, soil and humans who emerge from and work within this web. To view the precariousness of life in Primeval is to meditate on the time and place we inhabit as 2021 begins. Her prose is spare, stripped down and steeped in a kind of Taoist philosophy that I find deeply calming even at the raw edges of her tales.
People tread new paths. They fell forests and plant young trees. They build weirs on rivers and buy land. They dig the foundations for new houses. They think about journeys. Men betray their women, and women their men. Children suddenly become adults and leave to lead their own lives. People cannot sleep. They drink too much. They take important decisions and start doing whatever they have not done until now. New ideologies arise. Governments change. Stock markets are unstable, and from one day to the next you can become a millionaire or lose everything. Revolutions break out that change regimes. People daydream, and confuse their dreams with what they regard as reality.
If you haven’t read Tokarczuk yet, I am envious of the discovery you are about to make. Her work is truly a gift to those who love good literature.
As I return to writing
I vow with all beings
That I will do so as service
Rather than to seek praise
See you at the end of the month with the full issue of Comfort for the Apocalypse. Share if you enjoyed this, unsubscribe if you didn’t. Both down below!