Hello, my psychic cohorts in this and every astral week. (Please press play on the album at that link before we continue; it’s immaculate.)
As you can feel, it’s Virgo season, which is a lovely back-to-schoolish time of organization, astuteness, and meticulous care. Mercury, the planet of brainy, quick-footed problem-solving, rules Virgo, meaning that this season, every sign will try, in some way, to further civilize themselves.
I’ve got some Virgo-ishly bossy ideas about how you should eat through your fortunes this month. I hope they help you get things in order. And: All signs are encouraged to donate to relief funds that support people affected by Hurricane Harvey.
This month and every, you can transmit pictures of what you make and eat with the hashtag #f52horoscopes.
Virgo, you are my heart and cool spirit, and this is partly because of your sense of details-as-provision: You are in romantic love with getting the things you contribute to the world right, so that other people may enjoy them. For your birthday, I just want to tell you good job. If you would like others to do the same (hee, “if”): IT’S HELLA TIME TO THROW A BIRTHDAY PICNIC. Make a tightly focused-on spread and put it on a freshly laundered blanket in whatever idyllic spot. A beach, a park, a backyard, a roof—somewhere where the sun can light your people well as they appreciate your handiwork. Make sure to fix that image in your brain to sustain you for the rest of the year, when you see it.
You should make/bring:
- Fried chicken, obviously—brine it the morning before (with pickle juice, if you believe in love), make it that night, and, of course, eat it cold at the main event.
- Mad cans of Sofia rosé, which mix just so well with gin and strawberries, and are already perfect on their own. (Ask other people to come with the seltzer—unlike teeny sparkling wines, it’s cumbersome to carry, and you’re on a mission; your freakishly arranged cooler cannot be upended by this.)
- A sriracha-lime corn salad, good LORD.
- Coconut-almond-chocolate–graham cracker bars, have MERCY.
- Cantaloupes, which are so underappreciated, plus in season.
Skip coleslaw—it’s dumb and mostly everyone ignores it. (Sorry to all the slaw-heads out there. Just can’t with a cabbage/mayo combo-zone.)
Happy birthday, Virgo, you well-oriented star. Enjoy your picnic and your year.
Libra, you’ll be drawn to social concerns this season—not in the sense of swanning around at parties, quite. Your methods of feeling kinship with the exterior of your head will likely be more concerned with the welfare of people in larger groups than those you hang out with. How should you serve them? There are so many means, but Houston and the surrounding areas of South Texas particularly could use your help in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Food banks are working valiantly to feed this region’s uprooted people, of which there are wrenchingly, awfully many. Houston is the most diverse city in America, did you know? It’s also its fourth-largest. If you are moved to help others this season, this is a clear choice for where to do so.
In these troubled times, Scorpio, making any effort at enjoying yourself might seem impossible, frivolous, and beside the point. I don’t agree with that, but even so...why make an effort at it? Why not just hew closely to eating what you know, and have long known, to be good without needing much mediation on your part? I am thinking, as is probably clear by now, of cheese.
Maybe you’re vegan (and party on, if you are! Here is a cashew queso recipe for you if you wanna transcend the Daiya lifestyle), but in the state of this world as it stands, I am not inclined to argue with the tastes of cheese-loving intellectual/spiritual leaders like T.S. Eliot and Lil Yachty. Scorpio, get your goodness where you know you can find it; it’ll strengthen your resolve within the less certain aspects of Virgo season. What I’m saying is: have gorgonzola, have Gouda, have Brie and manchego. Ask your cheese counter to show you what is up. Enjoy some stability by way of pasteurization.
Man, I tried to do a good, virtuous thing and make "lentil bolognese" last week, and eat it on pasta. It SUCKED out loud. I hated the compromise I made in the name of my digestive tract; I got a little mad at myself for being corny and “healthin’ up a classic.” I was unduly self-excoriating in that particular way where you try out a recipe and it blows—like, This is all my fault. Why did I not just grill a pita on the stove and eat it with Sabra, as that is inarguably all I am capable of cooking? Virtuous Virgo season is tough for wild Sagittarians like us. We want to be “good,” but have no idea what that might actually mean or taste like.
Here’s the trick, though. When I am 3:30 a.m.–ing it on a novel (most recently, this was the case with Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi), and I can’t bring myself to stop or sleep, I like to glide into the kitchen, talking to my cat as I rationalize my “midnight” snack. (“Hey, little guy. I’ll make one for me and one for you.”) The other night, I poured her her Iams and, rummaging around for myself in the fridge, found only the wack and ersatz Bolognese. Well, I spread those lentils on a Thomas’s English muffin and tore apart some nice mozzarella, dressed all that with basil, olive oil, and Cholula Chili Garlic (literal ichor), and felt great about my fiber. It put me to bed, too—I passed out face-down on the next chapter of Homecoming, against all odds.
Here’s what I’m getting at with all these late-breaking lentils: What if, instead of bridling when it comes to the unruly things you are drawn to doing—like staying up all night reading when you have work or kids in the morning; like discussing snacks with your cat—no matter how unusual they are supposed to be, you just do them, and try to feel whole anyway? You’re not wrong in this world, archerino. You don’t have to constantly refine yourself in order to feel like you aren’t misshapen or at fault for not, like, eating a beet and hewing to a People magazine–ass plan for diet-ass success. Look, it’s been a whale of a summer. Don’t flagellate yourself, or your at-first-unpalatably-healthful Bolognese. Just make it work around you, and eventually, you will fall asleep. It’s fine. See you tomorrow morning; if you’re tired, have a coffee and make yourself laugh in the bathroom mirror and understand that you’re fine. You are! Apply your vitriol outward, to matters that deserve them, like fighting to defend DACA and supporting trans rights, and be kind to your bizarro self.
Don’t get mad at me, but: This month is going to be tougher than usual, money-wise, for you. However, this will ultimately work in your favor, because (a) you’ll save guap in the long run, even if times are hard right now, and (b) you’ll invent new ways to eat beautifully.
One idea: I've been experimenting with garlicky, nutty hummus of the Skippy variety recently, meaning, using peanut butter instead of often-more-expensive tahini. There’s something so nice about using the most shelf-stable of pantry stalwarts to make something that feels unusual to that particular ingredient. This is mad thrifty on the whole, too—a can of chickpeas, peanut butter, and mad cloves of garlic can probably all be had where you live for under a five-spot. I like putting regularities together to make irregularities—which is more or less your credo in all matters, anyway. Empty out your piggy bank and make some spread and you won’t mind tightening up your budget this month, promise.
Given the presences of Mars and Pluto this season, there will be so many routes by which you can interpret the world, Aquarius, and instead of feeling overwhelmed by that, you can choose to be calmed and excited by the variety. You’ll need to pay equally divided attention to your relationships and career, but that doesn’t mean spreading yourself thin. You’ve got options, always.
I recommend simplifying your food-routine in order to make room for the abundance of energy and action springing forward in your life this season, Aquarius. Would it kill ya to roast a chicken, or make a really good vegetarian chili, at the top of the week, then interpret it into different meals as you go along your day-to-day life? It’ll benefit you to regiment your time well—a few hours when you can find them outside of work/dates are all you’ll need in order to keep yourself well-fed, so plan for the planets accordingly—you’ll find appropriate aid to this effect our very own founders’ cookbook, A New Way to Dinner, or right on this here w’bsite in the series Halfway to Dinner, which determines interesting, non-dull methods for making mad meals out of one ingredient without demanding too much of your attention or time. Go forth!
A New Way to Dinner, by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
Shop A New Way to Dinner, by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs Now
This season is about advancing yourself professionally, Pisces, thanks to looming Jupiter. Perhaps you have a backlog of colleagues or others in your field who’ve asked to go for a coffee or a drink with you, and you’ve been into the idea, but unable or slow to actually execute? Now’s the time: Your social goings-on will also be tipped in the direction of the generation and galvanization of all kinds of life-pursuits, so it’s intelligent and kind of obvious that you’d connect that to your career right now. It’s not slimy to network! It’s how work works, and it makes perfect sense to me that you should try to like your peers, rather than quietly seethe about co-workers over Gchat to your meanest, funniest friend all the livelong day. (Or at least do both—you’re a Pisces, after all, so let’s be realistic here.)
Since the planets are also implying that your intake-based habits might benefit from some extra care right now, make sure to drink hella water, even if it annoys you to constantly get up from your desk to procure more/pee it out. Reconsider it this way: It’s not an interruption of your work, but a way to support it, if you take the time to make sure you’re running well. Okay, fish, get to it! You have lots to do.
Jupiter and Venus are tailgating you right now, which is tight news, because it means lots of sex and lots of money. My favorite way to bring those things together, when I have them at the same time, is to secretly dip out of my house early in the morning, leaving whatever sleeping paramour behind, to go to the super-tony “bodega” (read: it’s a market that sells farm-to-table bacon-and-egg biscuits instead of normal breakfast sandwiches, plus expensive vegetable-based juices). I go IN. Two kinds of bagel–cream cheese combinations! Upscale cookies! Fruit! San Pellegrino, doyeeeee! Oceans of sparkling Martinelli’s! Flowers, if they/my date are looking especially good! I take it all back to my fort and make a colossal spread before the other person wakes up and finds me casually sitting with the newspaper and fresh mascara like, “Yo. Oh, this? You hungry?” I love making people feel cared for like that—when it’s absolutely not a big deal that everything feels nice/considerate.
Look, I know and agree that this is a highly irresponsible way to spend $30. But you do what you want when you’re poppin’, as you will find out this season. Whether you’re single and louche, partnered up, happily celibate: How can you eat in a way appropriate to your sexual and financial fortitude this month? A date at a “hot spot,” whatever that means in your area? Kids in bed early and nicer-than-usual delivery? Figure out what feels poppin’, and do what you want.
You are a very empirical and sensory sign, so let’s focus, this Virgo season, on foods that smell and taste most like, or benefit from, this sign of the times. Some autumnal-cusp foods to this effect:
- Sesame oil. It makes your house smell like early fall— all lightly toasty—and is the very best, I think, with fresh, barely-sauteed vegetables, ground pork, and scallions diced on an angle.
- In-season berries. Blackberries are sour heaven at this time of year. I've been eating a bowl of them for breakfast with fat-free Reddi Whip. It’s heaven, like a customized morning dessert. It feels both lavish and virtuous—elusive qualities alone, and even more so when they’re true together.
- HEIRLOOM TOMATOES! These, which are at their peak at this time of year, are one of the most explicitly Taurean ingredients: Like you, they benefit enormously from straightforward naturalism, without artificial mediation of any kind. Put them in a galette, or, hell, eat them like apples. Actually, come to think of it…
- FRESHLY PICKED APPLES! Get all wholesome at an orchard, if you can, preferably with beloved family members—Virgo season will help you to feel closer to your kin, and why not feel that warmth while eating ripe fruit?
Gemini, you better than anyone know about the value of multiplicity within a single entity. Especially when a “new” identity for something previously thought to be familiar/known is a good surprise to those who are exposed to it. So: Of course poor-quality boxed white wine has a place in your fridge, my G. Sure, you can drink it—why not? Just take an aspirin before or after. The purpose you’d better intend for it, though, is to have a means for constantly deglazing meat and making pan sauce. If you get a not too-too-sweet one, you can make waaaaay better chicken and, hell, pan vegetables; many, like asparagus, are so good when you treat them like steak. (The Brussels sprouts I made to this effect recently were the ones that got away, even though that was because I ate them.)
Add the wine to the pan and scrape the contents together, remove the meat, then continue to simmer down the gross wine until, in beautiful congress, it becomes an un-gross sauce. Take that all off of the heat, throw fresh herbs all over it, and serve it on whatever weeknight friends happen to come by looking hungry. This is why having chicken thighs on hand for the always is more or less God’s plan for most of us. (The vegetarians among us are wise enough to go with my Brussels sprouts option—pan-basting vegetables like asparagus, which I have done and can vouch for wholeheartedly, will result in near-to-pornographically good dinners).
In any event: Think quantity over quality, and deglaze everything. If bad white wine can add polish to what you consume, be assured that many aspects of your own and others’ personalities can be applied to the world in unexpected, rad ways, as well.
When nothing feels new or good within yourself (synonyms to you sometimes, Cancer), there’s a lot of pleasure in discovering another person’s brain that you find wonky, cool, and true in ways you didn’t previously account for. Whatever ails you, people are always the antidote. One example, art-wise, is Jon Bois’s “17776.” Another is SZA’s recent debut album. The latest and greatest when it comes to food-related intake is this person A.A. Newton. At the risk of giving A.A., a person who has published just six articles on Skillet, mad gas mad early: I really like each of their pieces of work. The voice within them is substantive and pleasure-pleasure-pleasure, like a fast-food dinner if it was also a “mindful and joyful” (BLECK) vegetarian “feast” (BLECK IT ALL TO HECK). Okay, to wit: This piece goes through the top five kitchen accouterments that you should cop at restaurant-supply stores, aka miniaturized Valhallas on Earth; and this piece is about plain old rice, aka plain old rice!
If you couldn’t tell, all of these informed, truthful, funny, actually useful to life, and “thank god SOMEBODY’S still a real writer”–style pieces invigorate a sometimes-limp system. Look at what other people think is ordinary! Or reorder the ordinary! Let it confound you. That is the TRUE definition of living “mindfully and joyfully.” Forget a chia seed.
In this season, when we prioritize the truest/clearest versions of ourselves, you are well meant to nail the most tried-and-true of “good food” stereotypes. What this means: At the very outset of this Virgo-time, I observed a current favorite New York City Leo, on a Saturday walk, eat a hot dog for breakfast in the Diamond District bustle and sun. Because he’s beautiful (as you can relate), the man at the stand endeavored to find him the very coldest drink in the fridge. That’s just right: busy New York weekend + early-afternoon light striated through New York buildings + New York hot dog + New York stranger-kindness = a stereotype for a very good reason. It looked like he was on a movie set, which is so often true of Leos, and even better when the setting actually meets them at their handsome level.
Other food-based backdrops to Leo’s exceptional aesthetics: Eating a friend’s parent’s most famous recipe around their table on a rainy night, followed by boardgames; shortbreads and tea served on/in china; popsicles on a stoop or near the town pool, enjoyed in cutoffs; Budweiser at a tailgate; a Snickers bar straight out the freezer door; s’mores, for camping or an indoor blanket-fort sleepover; toast triangles soaked with melted butter at a diner. You have this world-ease, where things that are picturesque without your trying much at it—you might as well take advantage of that blessing by filling your surroundings (and plate) with beauty worthy of your own.
This month and every, you can transmit pictures of what you make and eat with the hashtag #f52horoscopes.
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