Investigate the power of habit, make delicious Chicano food or ponder a new approach to your lawn with this month’s trio of lifestyle reads.
★ The Power of Ritual
The “sacred” may seem conceptually distant from our increasingly secular lives, but it shouldn’t, says Casper ter Kuile in The Power of Ritual. He argues that any habit or practice can become sacred through ritual, allowing us to develop our own modern versions of spiritual life. Here he explores how reframing habits as rituals can help us build connection on four interweaving levels: with ourselves, other people, the natural world and the transcendent. “What I propose is this: by composting old rituals to meet our real-world needs, we can regrow deeper relationships and speak to our hunger for meaning and depth,” he writes. In a world that can frequently feel upside-down and precarious, this well-researched book may provide vital ballast.
Esteban Castillo grew up near Los Angeles, making frequent trips to his parents’ homeland of Colima, Mexico. When he later moved to Northern California, he found Humboldt County seriously lacking in the cuisine of his family, so he started a blog to celebrate that food culture. Chicano Eats brings his work to print in festive color, highlighting the ingredients, kitchen tools and playful hybridity of Chicano cooking—Mexican cuisine shaped by immigrants to America over generations, reflecting a community “who’s neither from there or here.” The perfect pot of beans, arroz rojo and salsa molcajete will get you started, and then it’s off to botanas (snacks) such as carnitas poutine, lots of tacos, several versions of pozole (a stew made with hominy and pork) and much more.
Lawns Into Meadows
Americans love lush, green lawns. But the truth is, all those manicured yards are hard on the environment. They guzzle water, chemicals and fossil fuels and do nothing to encourage a biodiverse ecosystem of pollinators, wildlife and microbe-rich soil. In Lawns Into Meadows, Owen Wormser shows us how to forgo grass in favor of native plant meadows, a more climate-friendly option for your green space. Wormser suggests 21 hardy, easy-to-grow perennials that will fill out in no time, like black-eyed Susan, goldenrod and purple coneflower, along with meadow-making designs to suit a variety of yard sizes. If this is a topic that interests you, there are many more guides in the nifty Citizen Gardening series from Stone Pier Press.