(cured) MEAT + 3 From Charlito's Cocina - TALKING IT OUT, REFLECTION, and SAUSAGE TO HIDE YOUR IDENTITY

“Everyone gives what he has.”

-       From Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse

 

My starter won’t start this mornin’ / 

boy and my motor won’t even turn.”  

-     Lightnin’ Hopkins

I’m just going to put it out there.  I've been feeling a little overwhelmed lately.   So bear with me while I try to talk this one out a little.   There’s only so much time in the day.  With all the responsibilities of business and life, the days feel even shorter still.  Factor in, oh say, any news publication’s homepage, and it’s enough to make you want to turn the volume knob all the way to the left.  We live in a culture of “more.”  Businesses are pressured to sell more.  Consumers to buy more.  Individuals to do more and “make” more.   And so on and so on.  The notion that each individual is responsible for themselves, that you’re “on your own,”  is one that often feels underlying in our culture, and one that has been laid bare even more during the COVID-19 pandemic, as much of what we considered our “safety nets,” have fizzled away.  But the rent is still due.  Food still costs money.  Bills still pile up.  It’s hard to resist an ultra-individualistic way of thinking when the pressure to earn is so high and when people are depending on you, and you don’t want to let them down.  I can tell you that I have experienced my fair share of days this year that are simply paralyzing to no end.  The pressure is higher and the bandwidth is lower. Try to work, can’t think, get up, try to reset, sit down again, repeat, repeat, until the day is over.  You try to start the engine and it just doesn’t ignite.  Feeling like the pressure is too much, like the world is broken beyond repair, and if it is repairable, I can’t find the tools.  “It’s ok to feel that way,” I keep reminding myself.  “Give your feelings the space they deserve,” as a friend once told me.  “You have to persist, persist, persist, and continue to get up in the morning, no matter,” I can hear my Father’s voice in my head.   While these things do work, and things will be ok, that doesn’t always mean that the volume of the moment is not excruciatingly high.  One of the silver linings to feeling like the world is crumbling around you is that it gives you more seemingly existential moments to ask yourself, “What the heck is going on here, and what does it all really mean?”  One thing I’ve been trying to digest, and that I’ve found very helpful, is to let go of the notion that anything is going to perfect, that anything is ever going to be enough.  It’s never perfect, and it’s never enough.  Easier said than done, but if I can embrace that truth at least 2 or 3 times out of 10, it is immensely liberating and leads to significantly higher productivity.  Give what you can, if you have it, to who you think could use it.  A virtual hug, a phone call, a text message saying “I’ve got your back, and it’s going to be ok. I’m here for you,” “sending love,” a salami, some muffins, a few beers, a ride somewhere, a book recommendation, a verbal, emotional, or physical token - with a mask, a deep breath, an open heart, and some hand sanitizer in tow.  
THE MEAT
Alheira:  I’m so excited to share this week’s MEAT.  It is certainly a reflective one.  I first came across Alheira on a trip to Portugal a few years ago.  The first time I tasted it, I was really moved.  Never had I had a sausage of this texture, with such an enticing flavor profile.  As satisfying as the eating experience was though, it is the history of this culinary gem that really rocked my world.  The Wikipedia entry sums up its storied beginnings in a small nutshell. “The type of sausage that became known as "alheira" was invented by the Jews of Portugal, who in 1497 were given the choice of either being expelled from the country or converting to Christianity. Those conversos who remained and secretly retained their beliefs avoided eating pork, forbidden in Judaism; this put them at risk of being noticed not to hang sausages, traditionally made of pork, in their fumeiros (smokehouses).  As a way to avoid attracting the attention of the Portuguese Inquisition or in rural areas the Portuguese Christians, they began to make sausages from other meats such as poultry and game, mixed with bread for texture.” 
 
If you are a retailer or a food service establishment interested in selling or serving Alheira, email me at charles@charlitoscocina.com
 
 
 
 
THE 3

1) A place to help:  saverestaurants.com  If you’re in the food service industry, or if you’ve just been alive in recent months, you’ll know that many restaurants and food service establishments are in trouble and need help.  Many times folks can come out of a crisis on their own.  But sometimes, we all need a hand.  This is undoubtedly one of those times for restaurants.  If you’re willing and able, check out this link and support the RESTAURANTS Act.  You can make a donation, but you don’t have to!  A note to your local congress person (easily sent using this link is a big help.  )
 
 
2) Staying quiet and being loud:   A great piece of advice I received this week: When asking my sister in-law her opinion on what is the most effective way for white people to confront systematic racism, she said, (and I’m paraphrasing), “There are a lot of loud voices coming from different places, and those are the ones that are trying to be heard, that are trying to communicate a message.  But it begins with internal reflection. What part have I played in this?  What part do I continue to play in it?  How have I benefited? How might I change to stop playing into the status quo?”  In a world of so many voices, and so much noise, the power of internal conversation is often overlooked.  This is perhaps because honest conversations with ourselves are often the most difficult.  As Wilbert Rideau, a journalist who spent 44 years in prison in  Louisiana (12 of them on death row) once said in an interview, “The worst company you can ask for is yourself.”   Reflection: It’s that easy and it’s that hard.   No internet required.  Just a clean mirror that works.  Thanks Jinexa! @youngnex
 

3. “To Do” Vs “I Did” lists - An aspiring habit:  Steve Jobs once said in a famous graduation speech, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect the dots looking backwards.”  This is a habit I’m trying to get into.  Connecting dots.  And trying to have the patience to do remember that this is best done in retrospect.  “To do lists,” when I write them with a clear mind, are huge helps to me.  They are the prep lists that guide me through the day, and help keep me on track.  I also know that most items are usually not checked, or even close.  So, using them as a guide for the day is a big help in trying to keep focused.  BUT, I love leaving room the spontaneous and the unknown.  After all, maybe "on track" is not always the best place to be.  Judging a day by how much of the “to do” list I accomplished can be useful.  But, more often than not, I use it as a tool to beat myself up with and remind of all that I *didn’t do,* which is usually a downer.   So, I’m starting “I did” lists.  These are the living, and often extremely satisfying testaments to how I used the day.  It’s the real thing, in retrospect, not the hypothetical in anticipation.  It's the connecting of the dots looking backwards.  

Thanks so much for reading!  Hope you're having, and continue to have, the week you wish for.


PS Charlito’s referral program!  We just started a referral program for ouronline shop .  Want to get discounts on your meats, while helping to spread the Charlito's Cocina salami love?  Get $10 off every order if you refer someone to us. Go to the shop, and click the blue  “REWARDS” button on the bottom right of the screen to learn how.
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