Happy Monday (30th November 2020)

December is ALMOST here! Are you excited? I am, big time. Not just because of Christmas and the prospect of saying bye to 2020, but also because the end of this year is marking a new beginning for me professionally too. We’ll get into it below. Onward, friend!

What I’ve been reading – I now have 4 books on the go. I know, this is not ‘normal’, whatever normal might mean to you. I’m still reading ‘Babel’, mentioned in the last ‘Happy Monday’ post. I also got started on ‘Cieśniny’ by Wojciech Nowicki (the title translates to ‘Straits’ in English, it’s a book about madness – not just the common mental health or the lack of as we think of it today, but an actual deep madness), ‘A year in Provence’ by Peter Mayle (so far very entertaining, it has my recommendation if you are after a fun read) and ‘How not to die’ by Michael Greger, MD and Gene Stone (I’m not far enough in to have an opinion). Safe to say, my aim is to read through all of these by end of the year. And all but the Mayle one are chonkers.

Best thing I discovered recently – A ‘lifechanging’ tofu recipe. I don’t eat meat so tofu is a staple in my kitchen. Except…tofu is such a boring piece of protein on it’s own. So this is what you do – get yourself cotton tofu, the extra firm kind. Squeeze out the excess moisture with a clean kitchen towel (or a paper one if you use them), cut your tofu into bite sized chunks. Coat your chunks with cornstarch – I throw 1 tbsp of cornstarch per 100g of tofu into a large ziploc bar, add the tofu and mix it well. Then, you will fry your coated tofu until golden. Use a big pan and enough sesame oil to coat the bottom of it – it won’t be a greasy dish, I promise! next, you’ll want to make the sauce – it’s equal parts of soya sauce and agave syrup (1tbsp per 100g tofu), garlic and ginger powder (1/4 tsp per 100g tofu) and water – 2tbsp per 100g tofu. Add the sauce to your frying pan once your tofu is crispy and let it reduce. Garnish with spring onions. The original recipe is in Polish (anybody actually surprised?) and you can find it here.

What’s been on my mind – new beginnings. Here’s the thing I mentioned at the start. I am actually, really and definitely getting a new beginning, because I’ve quit my job for good this time. As in, I am keeping my career, but I am leaving the company which I have been with for almost three years, year and a half of which I have hated with a special sort of hate. One day I will tell you about the reasons I am so not into them right now, but today celebrate the departure with me! I’ll be there until Christmas and afterwards I intend on being an unemployed and very picky jobseeker for a couple of months, or however long it takes to find the next interesting thing.

What I’ve been watching – there are two specific shows I have been really into. Not obsessed with, but just really into. The first one, ‘Ludzie i Bogowie’ (men and gods) is a Polish TV series set in the WWII and about a specific unit of resistance. Think Inglorious Bastards only a series, even better aesthetic of the set and a solid plot. There is drama, tragedy, happiness, laughter, action and whatever else you might want from a good action series. The other thing I am watching, a little more accessible to non-Polish speakers is ‘The Crown’. I’m about halfway through season 4 and while I enjoy it greatly, there is some merit in the calls to include a disclaimer label – while set around some historic events it definitely is a work of fiction, a great work, but not to be confused with a history lesson.

Quote of the week – or rather a paraphrase: I don’t have mental health problems, I’m just poor. This is from a fictionised conversation between The Queen and Michael Fagan in episode 5 of Season 4 of the Crown. And with it, I have an interesting question for you. Does poverty cause the problems in people’s lives like substance abuse, perpetual debt and so much worry that it can result in mental illness, or is it substance abuse, inability to control finances and an actual misdiagnosed or untreated mental illness which push people into poverty? Of course the question of circumstantial or self-made poverty is a significantly more complex, but in the run up to the year’s biggest holiday I wonder what ways are there to really help those stuck in the circle out of it.

And now onto the really important question – have you decorated early this year?

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