1. Fascinating conversation with Wim Drexler about how helicopters work. Terrific guy. Princeton.
2. Is my wife’s hair actually blonde?
3. I can’t tell if I really give a fuck about Greece or it’s just been going on so long I have convinced myself. Wait. If my wife’s hair isn’t actually blonde, is that less hot, or more hot?
4. Is it bad that during the Global Financial Council on the Global Financial System I kept thinking about how many we could just get rid of Cyprus?
I moved to Seattle five years ago, after being laid off from my job in New York at one of those startups where employees rally around the VC-fueled dream until they’re dumped via email and locked out of the office. A job at a larger, more established company like Amazon sounded good. Solid. For my second round of job interviews, I had been called in for meetings at the department’s temporary office in the Columbia Center tower. In a city where executives wear faded jeans and backpacks to work, the Columbia Center is Seattle’s lone totem to conspicuous consumption: seventy-six floors that hover over downtown’s more modest skyscrapers by a good two to three hundred feet, and are wrapped in reflective black glass.
Amazon prides itself on a rigorous hiring process. For a low-level merchandising job in Amazon’s books department, after passing two phone screens that included a logic puzzle—“How many floors are there in the Columbia Center? No, don’t look it up! Pretend there is no Internet”—I was called in for five back-to-back interviews that lasted from morning through lunch. During a break between interviews, the human resources recruiter, Ashley Jones1, came in to tell me more about the company’s benefits. There is something about the fastidious personal grooming of HR recruiters that makes one feel dumpy; gazing at me behind thick, mascara-coated eyelashes that boasted immaculate lash separation, she talked 401(k)s and stock options while I stared longingly at her frizz-less locks. “And when we move to our new offices, you can bring your dog to work,” she said.
Around Christmastime, when you search for recipes with “ginger,” you get exclusively sweet things: gingerbread, gingersnaps, ginger cake, ginger donuts, ginger biscotti, ginger muffins. But ginger is so much more. It’s one of the four or five ingredients that I am never, ever without. I would like to share with you my One Weird Trick for using ginger in a foolproof and easy way.
Nearly everything I cook starts with the same process: Get out a pan, put some oil in it, and saute some combination of chopped plants; on Top Chef this is referred to as “building flavor,” or sometimes as creating a base. Onion is pretty much a given. Garlic, usually. Also common are celery, carrot, and peppers. (Depending on which specific ingredients you use and the various subtleties of how you use them, these base ingredients are sometimes called mirepoix, or soffritto—or, confusingly, sofrito, which is not the same thing; soffritto is Italian, sofrito is Spanish/Latin American, with slightly different ingredients depending on even which Latin American country you’re talking about.) Ginger is a key ingredient in a flavor base for so, so many cuisines—Indian, Chinese, Thai, Jamaican, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Filipino—so it should be as present in your cooking as garlic or onion, and you should have it on hand at all times. This can be difficult, because though it is fairly hardy, it will dry out after a while, and what if you have a stretch where you’re only cooking French or Italian food? Your ginger will go bad.
Except it won’t, because you should freeze your ginger.