Spectacular Appetites & Animal Dreams

tips for snacking, caregiving, and grieving in captivity

ROCK PAPER RADIO is a dispatch for misfits & unlikely optimists by your favorite hapa haole, beet-pickling, public radio nerd. It’s a weekly email newsletter that shares three curiosities every Thursday - something to hold on to, something to read, and something to listen to. Themes include but are not limited to: rebel violinists, immortal jellyfish, revolution. Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word.
I stirred together pureed beets with kale pesto and then my wife stuffed the mixture between wonton wrappers with goat cheese and the result was the queer “ravioli” of my bicultural hippie dreams. To see more pic of weird food we’ve made to stave off pandemic panic, click here. Seattle, September 2020.


In case the reading into the Senate record(!) of Lauren Hough’s astute assessment of the Supreme Court confirmation circus this week was not enough to soothe your urge to stress-snack your way to November 3rd, perhaps this glorious food diary by New Yorker staff writer Jiayang Fan is just what you need to assure you that abandonment of all forms of meal planning is A-OK for these Uncertain Times.

In Jiayang Fan Misses Chinatown’s Muscadines, Fan takes us through an inspiring week of nonstop grazing arranged over a chaotic timeline that will make your midnight Twitter scrolling seem perfectly reasonable.

She eats eggplant for “dinner” at 5 AM. She snacks on dried squid out of a drawer which is also filled will mini-Heath bars and plums. She pours fifty (50) packets of hot sauce over five Taco Bell tacos.

In other words, she eats exactly like we’ll all be eating every day until Election Day and probably after. Enjoy.


I strongly recommend listening to everything Ear Hustle produces, but if you have space for just one show right now, this 27-minute Looking Out episode is one of my favorites.

Produced in California’s San Quentin State Prison, the show offers listeners a human glimpse into life without freedom. For those of us temped to complain about being “locked down” in our homes for the past seven+ months, this episode is a good reminder to pause and be grateful—especially if our homes include a sock-stealing rescue doodle or even a goldfish.

This episode is about keeping pets in prison, but it’s also about unconditional love and finding connection in the most unlikely, socially distant places.

At the end of the show, hosts Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods go out for some “yard talk” where they ask the incarcerated men what animal they’d choose be. Their responses are radio gold.


On the ten year anniversary of her father’s death, Katie Diez was finally ready to take out his out shirts and make a quilt. She ended up creating a garden and planting the seeds of a healing movement instead.

While ironing her father’s shirts in preparation for the quilt, Diez found two seeds stuck to the fabric. Her dad had been a gardener.

She planted those seeds, and to her astonishment, they grew into flourishing tomato plants in her laundry room. She moved the plants to her yard, and then saved the seeds from those tomatoes too.

When Diez encountered someone who was also grieving a loved one, she’d share her story about her dad and his tomatoes, and then she’d give them a packet of the seeds. Comfort Seeds, which is now included in Denmark’s Happiness Museum, was sprouted.



That’s it for issue 12, friends. Thanks for reading, listening, holding on. If you liked this issue, consider forwarding it to a friend and inviting them to join our misfit crew by subscribing. We only have a little over two weeks until Election Day. Let’s stick together and cultivate any unlikely optimism that’s still out there in the meantime.

See you next Thursday.


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