Leslie's List: A Parisian Soundtrack, Roasted Vegetables, and an Essay on Love

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
Leslie's List NEW

This to-do list is culled directly from my own calendar and interests. Most everything on the list can be done no matter where you live, but because I live in L.A., my "Do" each week will spotlight a unique L.A.-based event or activity. If you're inspired by any of these tips or have some of your own to add, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Do small

This weekend, it's (finally) the L.A. Marathon! It was cheering for the Boston Marathon in college and later the New York Marathon when I lived there, that inspired me to run the L.A. Marathon, which I'll be doing this Sunday March 19th. There's something so inspiring about watching runners go by and making them smile even after they've run 20+ miles (at Wellesley, we had a tradition of asking runners to kiss us (on the cheek) and keeping a tally). If you plan to cheer on runners at the finish line in Santa Monica, just plan to get there early, and download the official app to track specific runners. If you see me hobbling by, say hi and give me a high-five! I might look like death (a torn ligament in my foot has kept me from training for the past month), but I promise it'll make my day. Good luck to all the C&C runners this weekend!

Eat small

After going to the farmers' market on Sunday, I made a mini French feast starring Vegetable Tian (which you may have seen on my Instagram story on Sunday). The provencal French dish is what I imagined ratatouille looked like before I ever actually ate ratatouille (thanks to this). The primary difference is that classic ratatouille is more of a stove-top vegetable stew, with roughly chopped vegetables that simmer in a tomato sauce, while Vegetable Tian is a gratin that usually involves beautifully arranged vegetables sliced into rounds, baked with olive oil and herbs, and sometimes Parmesan on top. Since I bought fancy farmers' market vegetables, I wanted to use the simplest version possible to be able to really taste them, so I used Mimi Thorisson's from her wonderful cookbook A Kitchen in France (the recipe is also available on her blog here). I added her basil pistou on top and sopped up the sauce and olive oil with a baguette, before falling asleep at 6 PM (thank you, jet lag). It was the perfect Sunday meal.

Read small 2

A few days ago, the children's book author Amy Krouse Rosenthal passed away after a battle with ovarian cancer. While I didn't know her from her books, I fell in love with her writing last month after reading her piece in The New York Times' Modern Love column, "You May Want to Marry My Husband." Her writing is beautiful, but her message is even more so. Over the course of the short piece, she makes a compelling argument for truly living in the presence, creates a Tinder-like dating profile for her husband, and gives the reader a front-row, intimate look at their marriage. I particularly loved this line, which is such a simple anecdote but paints such a vivid picture:

"This is a man who, because he is always up early, surprises me every Sunday morning by making some kind of oddball smiley face out of items near the coffeepot: a spoon, a mug, a banana."

P.S., Last "Leslie's List," I wrote about my plans to read the book Dark Matter on the flight to Paris, and it did not disappoint. From the moment I started it, I literally didn't look up until I'd finished it roughly five hours later—it's that engrossing, especially if you enjoy sci-fi.

watch

I’ve never been one to love scary movies (just ask Emily and Alina—I was basically curled up into a ball the entire time we watched Halloween as a team), but I knew I had to see Jordan Peele’s movie, Get Out as soon as I heard him interviewed on the podcast Still Processing (episode 27, if you want to listen!). In the episode, they explained that this movie is important in a way that goes beyond classic thrillers. In the episode, Peele described it as a “social thriller,” drawing inspiration from other movie of the same genre like Rosemary’s Baby and Stepford Wives, where the movie is even scarier because the thing to fear isn’t just a Boogey Man-like monster, but an extreme representation of very real social norms, which in this case is racism. The basic plot is that a girl (played by Allison Williams) is bringing home her boyfriend (Daniel Kaluuya) to meet her parents, who live in a very cookie-cutter white suburban neighborhood. She hasn’t told them that he’s black—her logic being: Why should she? It doesn’t matter to her so why should it to them?—but the reality of her family's inherent prejudice is much darker and mysterious than they could have imagined.

Listen

The entire time I was in Paris, I kept my phone somewhere I could easily access it so I could whip it out at any time for one of two things: To take a photo of whatever spur-of-the-moment, magical thing was happening, or to Shazam the song playing at the café or bar we were sitting in. By the end of the trip, I'd created a small playlist of my favorite overheard songs. It's such an international city that several of the songs aren't in French—it includes a Seattle-based rapper I overheard at the homeware store Fleux' and a Brazilian singer/songwriter at the coffee shop 10 Bells—but that's what makes it so special. Here it is if you'd like a random sampling of international songs, by way of France.

P.S., If you're running the Marathon this weekend, here's the playlist I'll be listening to during the race, which I'll be adding to through Sunday morning. Have a great race!