A Beautiful Weekend

Good morning, everyone. A really good morning! Where were you when you heard the news? We were walking back from the farmer’s market, when the phones in our pockets started buzzing like crazy. We FaceTimed Phoebe in college, then called Abby, who was driving home from practice. We instructed her to lay on the horn the whole way home. It was 70 degrees, the blue, cloudless sky presenting a dramatic backdrop for all the golden and red-leaf November trees. We cracked open that Pappy! We donated to Stacy Abrams’s Fair Fight. We checked in with everyone we knew, like we had just had a baby. That is actually what it felt like. My brother texted back “It really feels like someone pulled a nail out of my brain.”

Later, my oldest friend Jeni and her husband, Ben, drove up from the city for champagne and chili around our fire pit, and they showed us videos of New York losing its collective mind. We ate cheese, guacamole, and two roasted vegetable dips (sweet potato-tahini, beet-yogurt-horseradish) and served with baguette slices. They brought iconic, absurdly indulgent Levain cookies up from the city, and we spent a solid ten minutes debating whether the chocolate peanut butter was better than the oatmeal raisin. We drank a lot of champagne and completely forgot to watch Biden and Harris (KAMALA!!!!) deliver their victory speeches.

I know that nothing is over, and that this country faces an uphill battle, given how divided we are right now. I know there are people reading this swearing they will never come back to my dinner table again. But for one weekend, it felt hopeful that a big piece of the puzzle, the person whose instinct was to stoke hatred and divisiveness, would be rendered powerless. Wow does that feel good.

This week, in the interest of realigning everyone’s equilibrium (I still can’t get a good night’s sleep) I’m going to post a bunch of my favorite easy dinners, some familiar — like this chicken that Bon Appetit’s instagram reminded me of yesterday — and some new. I’ll probably get back to the Project-Pantry-Purpose series, too, because the winter promises to be hard, and I feel like we’re going to have to pull together again in a big way. I hope you’ll come to the table as always.

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48 Comments

awads

We did it, Jenny!!!! It feels so, so good! We spent the beautiful Saturday afternoon at Black Lives Matter Plaza here in D.C., where everyone whooped it up (i think the party is still going on!). We then sipped champagne on the sidewalk with the entire block! Finished the night with kabobs from our favorite middle eastern takeout (immigrants!!!). We still have work to do (if you can, consider giving to FairFight.com to keep it going in Georgia). For now, though, it feels incredible!

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Kelly Belden Fisher

Jenny,
I applaud this post, especially your brother’s comment. I was so prepared for he-who-must-not-be-named to win that I spent most of Saturday in shock. Ultimately, it was essential that decency win if only for the future of our children.

Thank you!
Kelly Belden Fisher

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Casey B Daniels

God, please have mercy on this nation. We need you now more than ever. Darkness is upon this nation I love.

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Jennifer Kendall

I was coping with the stress by folding laundry and watching “The Queen’s Gambit.” My 9-year-old son raced downstairs and told me Biden won and we both cried happy tears! That evening I enjoyed wine by the firepit and FaceTimed all of my friends. Cheers, America! I slept like a baby that night.

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Kathy R

Sitting in my living room and my husband was in the other room and called out to tell me. I put on the television and immediately started crying! I was able to celebrate with my immediate family (husband and kids), and a few select family members. But not the rest. Living on Long Island – Biden voters are in the minority – at least here in Nassau County the difference wasn’t as great between the two as in Suffolk County. And I will keep coming back to your table!

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Susan M Noble

Oh I will not be leaving! Happy to support your efforts and generosity. The bright spot in this pandemic was Pantry Project. I am sticking around ; there is so much to celebrate!

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brook

It totally felt like we just had a baby, except we were shouting to everybody in the streets as well to rejoice in the news.

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Amy In MN

I love your blog and appreciate how vocal you have been about your political views. It feels like a treaty was signed to end WW3, but there is so much work to be done to get this country back on track.

Thanks for your recipes and your inspirations. Looking forward to more PPP as we hunker down for a long, dark winter.

Still celebrating!! Woo hoo!

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Anna

A nail pulled out of the brain… yes! I have felt so much BETTER since Saturday. Double redemption: on Saturday night I re-made a chocolate lava cake recipe that didn’t turn out the first time. This time they were delicious. I know our country won’t be so easy to fix, but it’s a start!

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Trudi Cherry

We’re in the UK & have been glued to the election coverage all week, I think the whole world has heaved a sigh of relief. Congratulations to the US for making the right choice, it’s a shame you can’t come over here & sort out our shambles of a government!! X

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Tina

Thank you for your voice & your family’s engagement in our country & its politics! Much celebrating here in MN too! My eyes make ‘leak’ every time I watch Kamala speak for quite some time! Now how to better unite this country behind decency & progress…

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Mom of Boys

We drank champagne and I cried with joy listening to Kamala. A big, snotty, weeping cry. I surprised myself. I had been waiting for that moment for longer than I knew. Cheers from the other coast!

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Coco

I was on my way to the grocery store. As I was checking out, the cashier asked how I was, and I told her that I was great! Then, I broke down crying as I explained that the networks had called the election and that my tears were tears of joy and relief.

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joy

I emailed, but I want to write this publicly as well–thank you for being vocal about your political engagement over this year, and thank you for encouraging your readers to engage as well. We were at the playground on Saturday when suddenly we heard clapping and cheering, and then honking, and then bells and drums and more cheering and clapping and honking. I am so incredibly grateful I was WITH PEOPLE for that moment, especially in a year when we haven’t been able to be in physical community very much. After the initial joyous shouting, I started crying. I practice immigration law, and these past four years have been truly awful. Then in the evening my immigrant mother-in-law brought champagne over for dinner, and I made her favorite American apple pie, and we let the kids stay up late to watch the speeches. My 2-year-old daughter kept saying, whenever the cameras cut away to honking cars or cheering crowds, “They are all glad! They are all glad!” We were all glad, too.

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Kristin

We were running errands, and my phone was in the middle of an update, so I left it at home. I asked my husband for his phone, checked CNN and saw the news! I had to wear my sunglasses while we did our errands, because I kept on crying, and I didn’t want anyone to think I was upset instead of happy!

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Jennifer

Love this post, love the comments above, and just want to add a little report from Utah, where there were 8th graders celebrating via texts, fireworks set off in the middle of the day, and hooting and hollering all around my particular neighborhood. Jenny, thanks for inspiring me to get more actively involved — I don’t know that it helped (letters to Texas, texts to uncommitted voters here?!?) but it felt important to *do* something and it feels even more important to continue to be engaged. Thank you!

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joy

@Jennifer, thank you for your letters and texts. It helped! Being engaged, being involved, encouraging other folks to engage and vote….this is the essential work! Your actions in this election (and hopefully continually going forward) help to build a culture of active democracy.

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James Edgerton

I was so happy. I cried and cried. I just would never have survived the next four (4) years. I’m so afraid of what could happen in the next election. I’m going to start cooking and drinking and live happily in my little bubble while I can.

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John

Please just stick to food and avoid adding in your political affiliations. Cooking is something many of us due to relax. I look to this site for food only, and won’t be clicking it again if I see anymore political lamenting. Thanks in advance.

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Kate

Guess what? Food, like all of life, is political. If you don’t like it, no one will miss you here.

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Kam

John wants to speak to the manager of this blog because he’s sad that the views of the writer don’t align with his! He would like a refund for the zero dollars he spent on the well-written and researched content that the author provides. Kick rocks, John

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Shelley

Guess what? You’re not paying her and this is her site so she can write about what is meaningful to her and her family. Quit bullying and threatening! Buh bye!

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Deb

Dear John: It truly does make sense that you should read and comment about the recipes and food related posts and avoid commenting about your displeasure relating to the blogger’s political commentary. If you note a post relates to a non-food post, you merely need to refrain from reading that post. Sincerely, A reader who enjoys food and ancillary commentary posts

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Kathy Fish

Thank you I could not agree more! We celebrated with a fine rib-eye and shrimp scampi! It was a huge sigh of relief and gotta say I am sleeping much better knowing that there will be two people who deeply care about the people of these United States…
Cheers!

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sallyt

Jenny, I agree with you 1000%, but even if I didn’t – it’s your blog, your voice, and if people aren’t happy with the messaging, they can go elsewhere.

THANK G-D for the results. Still SO MUCH WORK to be done, but thank goodness.

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Traci

Thank you for writing this!! I can guarantee that the two guys having a problem with this post are likely white men who haven’t had a challenge with this administration. I truly appreciate your words.

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Emma

Such a joyous post for such a joyous time! I saw the news – 7 months pregnant with my first child (a daughter, due just after inauguration day!) – jumped up from the couch and switched to Fox just to make sure it was called across the board. Cue the tears! I can’t scroll through instagram without crying, can’t see a post from Kamala without crying, am just a weepy, happy mess. I hadn’t slept in weeks and chalked it up to pregnancy nerves, aches and pains, but Saturday night I slept for 10 straight hours. What relief!

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catie detullio

What a great post and clearly embodies what the mood was this entire weekend! I cannot tell you the last time that I felt the level of joy and hope that I felt on Saturday and it was like the entire landscape of everything felt differently instantly. We did this!!!

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Molly

What a wonderful weekend, indeed!! Jenny, I appreciate that you’ve shared your views this election cycle. In normal times, I don’t think the way someone votes would influence whether or not I continue to visit their site and engage with them. However, these are not normal times and Trump is not a normal candidate. Thank you for being vocal in your support of integrity and equity. Among the millions of reasons I’m overjoyed this week is that I can continue in good conscience to keep Todd’s minty pea dip, the pork ragu, and your avgolemono in our rotation!!

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Melissa@Julia's Bookbag

Oh Jenny! I felt a weightlessness in my back that hasn’t been there in years, I kid you not. It was SUCH a wonderful weekend! Sharing the joy with my daughter was incredible. I am thrilled to hear you might come back with more pantry meal posts this winter. I LOVED them the first go round!

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Sana

Jenny, you’re the best, always nailing it. I was just thinking how I’ll always remember “where I was” when I found out – it was that epic and cathartic. So glad you’re going to stick with PPP, it was one of my favourite things to read when the pandemic was getting me down and I’ll continue to come back to it with a cup of tea in hand. Stay safe.

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Staci Smelley

I really love love your book. I love all the traditions around food. It hurts my heart to read your political post. I’ve tried to ignore them and not let them get to me because we do all have a right to our opinions and beliefs. but, why do it? Who does it help? You? Your readers? Remember others who are just as sad at this outcome. So today, my heart doesn’t feel warm and fuzzy about dinner! It feels sad that I have to even think of politics tonight while I cook. Remember half of America has very conservative values. From one cooking mama to another.

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Jen

I wonder how you would feel if she were posting about the opposite? Whether it was celebrating a Trump victory or lamenting his loss. Then would you still be posting that she should keep politics off of her blog? Or applauding her for sharing her feelings?

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Jenny

Staci – Thank you for your respectful comment. There have been a few along the same lines that I couldn’t approve because they didn’t meet the normal standard of “Is this how you would speak to me if you were next to me at my family dinner table?” So truly, thank you. I have a few things to say. For starters, I think the “stay-in-your-lane” accusation became irrelevant as soon as this country elected a reality TV star to be head of the free world. (I know you didn’t specifically suggest that I “stick to writing about dinner,” but many MANY people have.) Next, as you pointed out, it’s my personal blog, I’m entitled to my personal beliefs, and since 2010 the DALS mission has been devoted not just to the food on the dinner table, but everything that happens around the dinner table, and what we talk about at the dinner table. (Because of this mission, I suspect maybe even you have gotten a book or podcast recommendation or a holiday gift idea from me? Or at the very least come back the next day because you want more than just a recipe?) Much to my dismay, the conversation at my dinner table, almost every night for the past four years, has revolved around an administration that has been systematically destroying the institutions of democracy, disrespecting women and marginalized communities, discrediting public health officials and science in general, recklessly lying to its electorate, stoking hate and division between an already polarized nation, and setting what I think is a very damaging, very un-empathetic example for how to treat and speak to people. Believe me, I VERY MUCH WISH we could focus only on the deliciousness of the baked chicken and the latest George Saunders novel and who sat next to who at the lunch table. But the reality is, I feed two very engaged teenage daughters who care about the world beyond the four walls of the kitchen, and at a certain point, it felt irresponsible and dishonest to pretend that we were only talking about who scored in the game and how caramelized onions make everything taste better, and other “warm and fuzzy” things. Lastly, I think you can look back at some of the reader comments over the past few months and find at least a dozen who have mentioned that this blog has inspired them to donate and get involved in their own phone banking, text banking and GOTV initiatives. So when you ask me “Why do it?” During what I thought of as an all-hands-on-deck election, that is my favorite justification, and the one I’m most proud of.
Again, thank you for commenting. Even though you (and many others reading this) disagree with me, I very much appreciate that you’re here.

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Stephanie Zercher

So well said, Jenny. I admire the fact that you took a stand. My family is very divided politically and I find it very difficult to speak up to those who disagree with my views. I’m tired of keeping quiet but also don’t know how not to get shouted down. I have a long way to go, but you and others have inspired me to try to figure it out.

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Laura

While my political views do tend to lean left, I have many family members and friends who hold traditionally conservative views. I respect their views, but the current POTUS represents so much more than traditional conservative views. I find myself pining for the republican party of John McCain and Mitt Romney, and both Bushes. While I didn’t always agree with them, I did believe them to be decent human beings who truly wanted what was best for this country and for our world.

In contrast, the current administration is full of self-aggrandizing and self- enriching people who are looking out for themselves, seek to attack the norms of our democracy with a wrecking ball and do not care about the plight of every day Americans (threatening to cut the ACA during a pandemic, with record high-unemployment, or refusing to take up an economic stimulus package until after the election, to name a few examples).

If a traditional conservative republican is elected in 2024, yes, I’ll be disappointed, but I won’t fear for my country.

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Nicole

Yes!!! Thank you for this post, and for the work you have done throughout the election season to keep people sane and motivated to vote/participate. It truly feels like we may be able to take a deep breath and not exactly start over, but maybe reset our course a bit here as a country. PHEW!

I was just coming back from a (masked and distanced) hike with my two best girl friends when we heard the news. A leader who shows empathy and dignity! A woman VP! No more Trump! We jumped up and down, cheered, and promptly opened a bottle of champagne (sparking grape for my kiddos and my pregnant self). It was a glorious day, for sure.

Second, those dips look sooooo good.

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Diane M Southworth

I love your website and your politics. I am phone banking Georgia to get democratic senators to win in the run offs and then I will turn my attention to making Texas blue. Never give up.

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Allison

Thank you, Jenny! This picture of you two is amazing. I appreciate every podcast, recipe, book recommendation, travel review and political engagement idea you provide. I’m late to this post, but still happy. I was driving alone and started whooping with joy. The car really is an amazing place to let any emotion flow. And your brother’s nail out of brain analogy is dead on.
I am so looking forward to the project, pantry, purpose. It was a sanity saver last spring.
Yay!!

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Margo

Just a comment on the panko-crusted chicken you linked to above. I tried it last night and the whole family thought it was DELICIOUS! So thanks for linking to it. Just a note that I think there is a typo or missing word in this sentence of step one: “Arrange skin side up a rimmed baking sheet and smear all over skin side of thighs”. It threw me for a loop for a few minutes. Thought you might like to know!

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Sherri Hulcher

Hi! Any insider tips on the Rip Van Winkle bourbon? I’d love to surprise my bourbon loving husband (and several friends) with this for the holidays. I’m in PA and only see bottles in the $1000’s from the website. Thoughts?
Thanks! Sherri

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B

My son and I were driving to the outlets from Atlanta when we heard it and our phones started blowing up. I could barely see the road from the tears streaming down my face…..It was in North GA, very red, so for the rest of the day we were the only ones with a smile on our faces. We turned GA blue and switched the light on these dark times

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