The Ten-Year Anniversary of the Time My Wedding Announcement Was Not Accepted by the Paper of Record

Margery Miller and Dan Shanoff

Margery Ilana Miller and Daniel Shanoff are to be married this evening1 at The Plantation at Amelia Island, Florida. Rabbi David Kaiman is to officiate.2

1. Ten years ago today. You see: This notice was submitted to the New York Times for inclusion in its Sunday Styles “Weddings” sub-section for October 3, 2004. After not hearing anything for weeks/months leading up to the scheduled day, I opened the paper that morning earnestly hoping for the best, but instead receiving a wedding present of inexplicable rejection, which is clearly an off-registry gift.

2. So nice!

Mrs. Shanoff, 30, is a third-year law student at Fordham, where she is a Senior Notes and Articles Editor of the Law Review. She will begin working next fall as an associate at the law firm of Davis, Polk and Wardwell3 in New York.4 She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard.

3. After clerking for a judge (a NYT Wedding staple detail), she eventually left the firm for a smaller one, then left that firm for a quasi-governmental regulatory group. Still a lawyer, though.

4. If we didn’t live in New York at the time we were getting married, I wouldn’t have even bothered submitting the announcement. We eventually moved out, as so many couples who make the Weddings cut inevitably do, because of kids, exhaustion or a combination.

The Anthem of the Working Stiff

I don’t know what men are made of, though a song I love begins: “Some people say a man is made out of mud.” Perhaps the dust of Eden got wet with the kiss of the Lord and made mud, and from that Adam was made, but that’s not what Tennessee Ernie Ford meant when he sang “a poor man’s made out of muscle and blood.”

“Sixteen Tons” is the anthem of the working stiff. Ford didn’t write the song and he wasn’t the first to record it, but his version from 1955 has worked its way into the assembly-line-addled ears and labor-worn hearts of workers ever since. Whatever a man is actually made of, saying he’s made of “muscle and blood and skin and bones, a mind that’s weak a back that’s strong” is acknowledging that’s what the world has made him into, and that righteous lament is why the song’s still so popular.

I thought of “Sixteen Tons” the other day while listening to Lorde’s “Royals.”

How to Freeze Summer and Use It to Make Things Taste Fresh All Winter

“Pesto is the quiche of the eighties.” Haha, that’s a line from a movie I just saw for the first time. The pesto of this decade is…other kinds of pesto.

Pesto originally comes from Genoa, in northern Italy, where the specific ingredients and preparation were codified sometime in the sixteenth century. That kind of pesto—made with basil leaves, garlic cloves, pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino sardo, along with a fair amount of olive oil—is still by far the most popular, though its proper name now, in a world of many types of pesto, would be pesto alla genovese.

Most Italian dishes have, like, four ingredients max, but if one of them is even the tiniest bit different from the way Caesar liked his, it is no longer correct. For example, the Pecorino sardo in pesto alla genovese is not the same as Pecorino Romano, and only a fool would use Romano in place of sardo *shakes fingers as if trying to fling drops of water onto whoever is in front of me*. Anyway, pesto is made in a mortar and pestle, traditionally. (“Pesto” comes from the same root as pestle, as does the word “paste.”) The Italian mortar and pestle, like the French, is typically marble, and the ingredients are crushed in a circular grinding pattern, unlike, say, the “pok pok” smashing method of Thailand.

Now that you’re up to date on the true history of authentic pesto, let’s cheerfully cast that all aside. Pesto, to my modern, non-Italian mind, means nothing more than a paste of herbs and oil, sometimes with other things added, and I always have at least three or four kinds in my freezer; I rarely cook anything without some form of it. Right now, as the summer turns to fall, we are in the dying throes of herb season. Herbs are summer to me, and their aromatic compounds are most potent when they are fresh—not grown in a greenhouse in Argentina, not after a few days of wilting in your fridge. Raw leaves do not normally freeze well (they become soggy and gross when defrosted). But, when mashed into a pesto, they freeze SPECTACULARLY. So now is the time to get out the food processor (or mortar and pestle if you want, but I certainly don’t) and make enormous batches of several kinds of pesto, which you can use to add a hit of summer freshness to food all through the shitty awful nigh-endless winter we’re sure to have, again.

A Complete Guide to Today’s Apple Event

The Saddest Thing You Can Buy in a Grocery Store Is Salad Dressing

The most outrageous area of the grocery store is not the frozen section, nor the canned section, nor even the gross pre-made foods section. I am happy to partake of certain kinds of frozen or canned produce in the wintertime (they are usually better than fresh, when out of season), and I have been known to buy whole rotisserie chickens, theoretically to turn the carcass into stock, but really to gorge on heavily salted flesh for two days straight. No, the most frustrating and worthless aisle, the one from which no self-respecting adult should ever purchase anything, under absolutely any circumstances, is the salad dressing aisle.

There is no greater substantiation of the international reputation of American home cooking than pre-bottled salad dressing. A simple vinaigrette, like a classic balsamic, has like three ingredients—not one of which goes bad—and a superior version can be made at home for a small fraction of the price in about fifteen seconds. To save those fifteen seconds, Americans will sacrifice money, flavor, and, frankly, our dignity, and buy pre-made garbage. This is not always our fault! Sometimes we have been raised on these dressings, and sometimes the tv chefs can make them seem difficult. Whisking? Drizzling a thin stream of oil to emulsify? Lightly macerating shallots? This seems complicated, and unwelcome, given that this dressing is usually going to go on a salad, a dish many of us only grudgingly eat. But no, friends: Salad dressing can be extraordinary.

The Useless Crap You Find When You Move

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, BuzzFeeᴅ Executive Editor Doree Shafrir tells us more about the pitfalls of packing and unpacking and constantly moving from one apartment to the next.

Just found a stuffed manila envelope labeled "2006 crap." Moving is so fun.

— Doree Shafrir (@doreeshafrir) September 20, 2014

Doree! So what happened here?

When I moved out of the apartment I shared with my then-boyfriend in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, in 2009, I got rid of my huge file cabinet and threw everything that had been in there into two storage boxes. They sat in the back of the closet TB and I shared in Carroll Gardens; when TB and I broke up, they moved into a closet in a different apartment in Fort Greene; when New York and I broke up, they found a home in the back of a closet in my new apartment in Los Angeles. It wasn’t until last week, when I was packing up my apartment to move in with my current boyfriend, that I decided it was time to excavate whatever was in those boxes.

Objects Uncovered During the Excavation of Your Childhood Bedroom

The Problem With Relying on a Machine to Eat All Your Garbage

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, New York Times technology writer Farhad Manjoo tells us more about what happens when you have a hi-tech electronic garbage can that keeps breaking.

Almost everything in my house is automatic/electronic in some way. But after three infrared-enabled automatic kitchen trash cans I’m done.

— Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) August 25, 2014

Farhad! So what happened here?

I use machines for everything. I’m that kind of guy. I cook sous vide, I’ve got a Japanese bidet toilet with heated seats, my soap dispenser is automatic, and my plants are watered on a very precise timer. So when I have some garbage to throw away, you can bet I’m not going to bother with jamming on a pedal to open up some dirty, germ-laden trash vessel, like the way they used to do in medieval times. Nope, no manual labor for me, no sir. When I get home after a long day of typing words, my hands laden with trash, I want a machine to react to my very proximate presence, to open up like Ali Baba’s cave, a gaping, infrared-enabled maw just begging for my trash.

Eight Voicemails from My Grandmother, Who Is Very Upset About the Apparent Death of My Career

This weekend marked the end of the the New York Times Magazine’s Meh List, a feature for which I have been the chief columnist for the last two years. Writing The Meh List takes up approximately five minutes of my week. (My real job is as the magazine’s digital editor.) But The Meh List is in print. The Meh List has my byline. Therefore, for the purposes of my ninety-year-old grandmother, The Meh List was my job. When I told her last week during our family’s Rosh Hashanah gathering that the Meh List was about to end, she waited until we had parted ways to unload her concern onto my mother. “No more Meh List?” Grammy asked her. “Then how will her bosses be able to be judge how well Sam is doing her job?”

As a farewell to The Meh List, here are eight voicemails from my grandmother about my Big Important Job that is no more, to be published on a medium that she does not understand and does not care to.

March 30, 2013, when I handed over the reins to someone who cares about the Mets for our annual Mehts List Hi Sam, it’s your Grammy. The magazine has meh, but it doesn’t have Sam. I’m sure you know that. But you didn’t tell me. So tell me what it means. That’s it. Bye. Anything connected with my Sam I need to know. Bye. Love.

Live Sketches from the Big Climate March

How One of America’s Best Colleges Is Destroying Itself

Whitman College, the gem of a small private liberal arts school in Walla Walla, Washington, has long been a mainstay of the Colleges That Change Lives lineup, along with schools like Antioch, Cornell and Marlboro. Whitman is an excellent, beautiful, and fairly safe college that students are lucky to attend. If you are applying there now, it just might be the right fit for you.

The school is also now in the middle of a search for a new president. At the same time, the college is being strangled by a long-serving, insular and controlling board of trustees, a weak and poorly rated president who inspired a faculty revolt, and an intentionally toothless board of overseers, mostly alumni. The school has turned its back on needs-blind admissions and on any reasonable commitment to diversity. Because of this, the school has gotten its comeuppance in a New York Times analysis of private schools that places the college absolutely dead last in terms of economic diversity.

This ranking was no accident. This was Whitman’s goal. An analysis of the school’s common data set from 2001 to 2013 shows how they did it.

You can see two things here. In blue is the number of incoming freshmen that applied for need-based financial aid and were also judged to be in need each year. Back in the previous decade, the school was attempting to join the club of colleges that practiced “need-blind” admissions. In 2010, the school moved to describe itself as “need-sensitive.” The number of students who required financial aid was, on the whole, steadily growing. In 2011 and 2012, the school admitted fewer students who needed financial aid to attend college—and increased aid to students without need.

In red is the number of those students who had their need met at 100 percent. (The other students had their need met partially—often substantially.) In 2007, 81 percent of students with financial need had their need fully met. In 2013, only 53 percent did.