The Crush Letter No 83: DEVOUR

. 12 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about friendship, love and sex in midlife.  Because midlife is so much hotter than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

This week - still coming to you from New Zealand - I read in Food52 that the food world sleuthed out the source of Olivia Wilde’s wildly viral “back pocket vinaigrette." It's actually Nora Ephron’s simple & excellent vinaigrette from her wonderful 1983 novel Heartburn.

And it's one of those weird coincidences that I was already going to tell you about how I am on a Nora Ephron kick after reading the recent biography on her by Kristin Marguerite Doidge (which I wish I could recommend, but alas it is much duller than its subject deserves). To recover, I gobbled up Nora’s essays over the last few weeks and just dug into re-reading Heartburn (and its vinaigrette). Uncanny.

I have come across two Ephron quotes that make me feel "so seen," as the kids say:

"I don't think any day is worth living without thinking about what you're going to eat next at all times."

"Summer bachelors, like summer breezes, are never as cool as they pretend to be."

Can you relate?

I will have more to say on Ephron's essays in a future Letter, but since her vinaigrette is in the news (very similar to one I make a couple times a week) I think we can all agree that you need this simple & excellent vinaigrette today. It’s below — and what a perfect addition to our monthly DEVOUR Letter.

DEVOUR is co-edited with the fabulous Lisa Ellex. Enjoy!

If you're new here (welcome!), I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.

In This Letter. +DEVOUR.  What to do, read, watch, listen to & know about this week.   +Our Song of the Week Can't get out of this mood, can't get over this feeling  

DEVOUR {things to do, see & have}

Make. Nora Ephron’s Excellent Vinaigrette from Heartburn

This is the actual recipe from Heartburn. So easy, so reliable, so solid.

"Mix 2 tablespoons Grey Poupon mustard with 2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar. Then, whisking constantly with a fork, slowly add 6 tablespoons olive oil until the vinaigrette is thick and creamy."

Listen. A podcast hosted by three famous guys that’s both an ode to men’s friendship and pure entertainment. Smartless is hosted by friends (and actors) Jason Batemen, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett. Its conceit is that on each episode one of the guys brings on a surprise guest for a group chat. The guests are banner names and the conversation is easy, breezy, clever, and entirely natural. If you ever wondered what a conversation between close guy friends sounds like, this is your shot at dropping in. Of course, it helps that these friends are charming, in-the-know, good-humored guys with the kind of confidence and star power to pull in great guests, but what I really appreciate here is that they are not trying to make the show edifying or political or take on serious issues. They are not even trying to be highly skilled interviewers (though the banter has gotten better as the show has gained momentum.) They have great chemistry and it’s the equivalent of grabbing your drink of choice and hanging out. It’s a good hang.

"Kevin Bacon" episode

‎SmartLess: “Kevin Bacon” on Apple Podcasts
‎Show SmartLess, Ep “Kevin Bacon” - Oct 10, 2022

"Allison Janney" Episode

‎SmartLess: “Allison Janney” on Apple Podcasts
‎Show SmartLess, Ep “Allison Janney” - Sep 26, 2022

"Ethan Hawke" Episode

‎SmartLess: “Ethan Hawke” on Apple Podcasts
‎Show SmartLess, Ep “Ethan Hawke” - Sep 12, 2022

Watch. An unsettling Danish infidelity story that’s a slow sizzle. Queen of Hearts (Prime Video) is a chilling film starring Danish film star Tryne Dyrholm as a successful lawyer with a happy family life who risks it all by coaxing her husband’s estranged teenage son into an affair. (Yes, you read that right.) It is a nuanced, subtle, and disturbing study of power and family dynamics, and it’s mesmerizing. (Hat tip to CRUSH Reader MikeTrap)

Play. 36 Questions. Ask me anything! The New York Times “Modern Love '' column of January 2015 was the inspiration for this app designed to bring friends, lovers, strangers – any two people – closer together. In that column, writer Mandy Len Catron cites a study that examines the idea that intimacy between two people can be accelerated by answering 36 personal questions. See for yourself here

Listen. End-Of-Life Planning Is a 'Lifetime Gift' To Your Loved Ones: Life Kit. Don’t keep your post-demise plan under wraps any longer– give the gift that keeps on giving. They’ll thank you for it… later.

End-Of-Life Planning Is A ‘Lifetime Gift’ To Your Loved Ones : Life Kit
Talking about death makes many of us uncomfortable, so we don’t plan for it. But the reality is that even a small amount of planning ensures our final wishes are honored — and makes it easier on our family and friends. This episode will help you get started on making a will and an advance directive,…

Read. Accept the awkwardness: How to make friends {and keep them). After my recent relocation, my lovely new neighbor told me that when she first moved to our street she was so desperate to meet people that she actually considered knocking on doors and asking, “Will you come out and play with me?” To save yourself the legwork (and having your neighbors call the police), here are some tips to help you make new friends.

Accept the awkwardness: How to make friends (and keep them)
Friendship is hard, but the best way to tackle it is to talk about it. In this episode, you’ll learn from the experts about how to make new friends and deepen your existing relationships.

Listen. Consider these three new vinyl releases. Thinking about holiday gift giving?  Warning: you won’t want to part with them.

Miles Davis: That’s What Happened - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7, 1982-1985 Legacy Records began this series in 2011 and released the latest in June. Each volume examines a different era in the ground-breaking career of Miles Davis. In these recordings that span the period from 1982-85, Davis brings his unmistakable sound to the electronic age that was making its way. The 4 hours of unreleased music include 2 CDs of studio material from 1982 to 1985, plus another CD recording that captured one of Miles’ last bands live at the Festival International De Jazz De Montreal in July 1983. Personnel includes JJ Johnson, John McLaughlin, Al Foster, John Scofield, Mike Stern, Marcus Miller, Daryl Jones, and Vince Wilburn.

Samara Joy: Linger Awhile. We’ve covered the colossal talent of vocalist Samara Joy here
before. Since we last wrote about her, she has made her debut at that music mecca,
Newport Jazz Festival, and has been signed to Verve records where her latest album, Linger Awhile, was released on September 16th. Seasoned beyond her 24 years, Joy’s rendition of the Grand/Boyd classic Guess Who I Saw Today is worth the price of admission. Gut-wrenching in its simplicity, Joy’s execution of the song would undoubtedly get a nod from the greats who have covered it before her. On the standard, I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You) Joy shows us her gift for vocalese (as if anyone would be surprised). The personnel is divine, with Ben Paterson on piano, David Wong on bass, Kenny Washington on drums, and Pasquale Grasso on guitar. Together with these great modern working musicians, young Samara Joy has succeeded in creating an authentic 1950s jazz club vibe for this project. Don’t miss it. Also available on vinyl.

Dr. John: Things Happen That Way
When the inimitable Boss of the Big Easy, Dr. John left us in 2019, he was working on what would become his 58th record release as a leader. After much delay, it finally hit the sound waves on September 23. In addition to three new original compositions, the record offers poignant renditions of Wille Nelson’s, Funny How Time Slips Away and Hank Williams, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, making this work a departure from the funka-voo-doo-creole-rocka-blues the Dr. is best known for. Long-time buddy, Willie Nelson joins the Dr. on Gimme That Old Time Religion, and Aaron Neville lends his angelic voice to duo with him on the Traveling Wilburys’ End of the Line.

Listen. Read Me To Sleep, Ricky Writer, editor, and podcast host, Rick Whitaker, is the brains (and voice) behind this luscious listening library. Catch up on your classics (you know you want to) as Rick and his friends read gems like Melville’s Moby Dick, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Dante’s Inferno, and more. It’s a win-win experience; if you’re not lulled to sleep you can finally cross that classic off your reading list.

Read. Prenups Aren’t Just For Rich People Anymore…When asked how he liked his whisky, film legend (and eight times married) Mickey Rooney replied, “I like my whisky the way I like my divorces – neat!” Be like Mickey.

Prenups Aren’t Just for Rich People Anymore
Younger Americans, especially, have found their own use for prenuptial agreements: protecting their spouses from the worst impulses of the American debt-collection system.

Life Kit. Don’t keep your post-demise plan under wraps any longer– give the gift that keeps on giving. They’ll thank you for it… later.

End-Of-Life Planning Is A ‘Lifetime Gift’ To Your Loved Ones : Life Kit
Talking about death makes many of us uncomfortable, so we don’t plan for it. But the reality is that even a small amount of planning ensures our final wishes are honored — and makes it easier on our family and friends. This episode will help you get started on making a will and an advance directive,…

See. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window.
After the passing of artist Fredi Kahlo, her husband, muralist Diego Rivera locked her belongings inside the bathroom of their home. Fifty years later, the door was opened and Mexican photographer, Graciela Iturbide, captured the first images for the world to see. The exhibit of 28 photographs (see some below) has been making the rounds, most recently in Washington D.C. Stay tuned right here for more locations. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to waiting in line for the restroom, yes?

Frida’s Bathroom - Google Arts & Culture
The photographer Graciela Iturbide documented the moment when, after 50 years, a bathroom was opened in the Blue House where Frida Kahlo had lived, lifting the lid on numerous secrets.

Read. An updated primer on the best approach to passwords now. Lessons from a Professional Password Cracker is the reminder I needed on the importance of creating and storing strong passwords. In this conversation, Julia Angwin, author of the newsletter The Markup, has a conversation with renowned password cracker Jeremiah Gosney. It’s eye- opening. If you need a kick in the butt, consider this yours.

Lessons from a Professional Password Cracker – The Markup
A conversation with Jeremi Gosney

Read. Something else useful: A short article on which medications are effective (or harmful) past their expiration dates. Is It Safe to Take Medication Past Their Expiration Date? By GoodRx provides the straightforward answers we all need. Read here

Go! Eat this up. Nigella Lawson’s November US tour. She had me at How to Eat. I scarfed up tickets to this domestic goddess's upcoming North American tour. Join me there?

FANE | An Evening with Nigella Lawson - US & Canada
Live events, online broadcasts, books and so much more. Book direct now

Listen. End-Of-Life Planning Is a 'Lifetime Gift' To Your Loved Ones: Life Kit. Don’t keep your post-demise plan under wraps any longer– give the gift that keeps on giving. They’ll thank you for it… later.

End-Of-Life Planning Is A ‘Lifetime Gift’ To Your Loved Ones : Life Kit
Talking about death makes many of us uncomfortable, so we don’t plan for it. But the reality is that even a small amount of planning ensures our final wishes are honored — and makes it easier on our family and friends. This episode will help you get started on making a will and an advance directive,…

Song of the Week

Can't Get Out of This Mood by Samara Joy

Remember the friend who I went to the Elton John concert with over the summer? Well she and I had a much easier trek to and from Sculler's Jazz Club in Boston to check out Samara Joy recently. As Lisa Ellex wrote in her vinyl recommendations on Joy's debut album Linger Awhile, she's fab. Here's a single from that, Can't Get Out of This Mood. Already covered by greats Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughan, Joy 's version more than stands up.

Below is Joy's studio version. Sublime.

Can't Get Out of This Mood

Here's to some Joy in your week end.

Dish Stanley XO,

You Won't Want to Miss A Thing. Here Are Links to Some Favorites.

+This Must Be The Place: Bob Guccione, Jr’s Upstate New York Escape ‘This Must Be The Place’ is a new feature where PrimeCrush-ers share the one special place they love to go.

+The Friendship Files. By A.K.A. Darla In this month’s installment—“SHIMRIT: A May-December Friendship”—our series’ author shares a personal story of her own.

+DEVOUR {things to do, watch, see & have} In our monthly DEVOUR column we share all the things we think you should eat up.  Here are some snacks from the last few months, but to get all of us, subscribe.


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