#5SmartReads - April 1, 2022
Hitha on oil prices, Korean celebrity culture, and the United States' obsession with protein
This week’s #5SmartReads is sponsored by Blue Apron.
This story is as much about the administration’s plan to help ease oil costs as it is adjusting to how we hear from the President of the United States.
The chaotic strategy of ‘tweet-first, deal with the fallout later’ of the previous administration conditioned us to live with that chaos, and the more methodical pace of this one has taken some getting used to - myself included.
Now, on the topic of this article, this is one of the largest drawdowns from our oil reserves in the 45-year history of the SPR (strategic petroleum reserve). But the President also announced that the Defense Production Act will also be invoked for the “production and processing of minerals and materials used for large capacity batteries–such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese—and the Department of Defense will implement this authority using strong environmental, labor, community, and tribal consultation standards.”
First - if you haven’t seen Crash Landing On You, PLEASE START.
Watched? Good. Are you deeply in love with Hyun Bin and Son YeJin? Us too.
This very smart piece unpacks Korean celebrity culture (and the differences between actors and K-pop stars), and compares it with the similar fervor that Bollywood stars deal with as well.
It’s a very smart read, and I’m sending the newlyweds all my best wishes.
There are over 2 million Ukrainians with a developmental disability. Most of them have been unable to evacuate, struggle to find refills of their life-saving prescriptions, and the power shortages threaten their health if they require respirators or refrigerated medicines.
And that’s just the start.
War is horrific, but the abandonment of those with disabilities is a heartbreaking and common expectation in these times.
I try to wrap up work an hour or two early on Fridays to give myself a bit of decompression time before the kids dominate all our attention. Some Fridays, I catch up on a show or two. Other days, I go for a walk or go get reflexology from my favorite neighborhood spot.
But most days, I meal prep while listening to an audiobook. And the meals I’m prepping? They’re almost always Blue Apron.
Some meals (like their pasta dishes), I fully cook and let the flavors meld together for a day or so. Others, I chop and marinate (highly recommend with any tofu or paneer meals) so it’s a quick cook right before we eat. And if we have a pizza in our delivery that week, I have the pie prepped and ready to bake for all of us to enjoy.
Something I loved about season 2 of Bridgerton was how so many elements of South Asian culture were included with no explanation or rationalization.
How the Sharmas referred to each other and other family members with Indian terms (taken from ALL over India), Kate sprinkling her own chai spices in the tea strainer, the oil head massage - these are all such small, normal moments for us that were included so organically and respectfully.
This line, in particular, sums up how I feel about this:
“Many will claim this a win for representation, but it’s not the idea that Indianness can be desirable that I find worth celebrating — being desired by white people isn’t the win we’re socialized to believe it is — but rather the ways Kate, Edwina, and their mother embody forms of intimacy beyond the romantic through acts of cultural tradition.”
Also, season 2 of Bridgerton was a fully Bollywood with regards to the drama and the family relationships, but I will tackle that in this weekend’s newsletter.
Why are people in the United States so obsessed with protein?
One food historian sets out to find out, and some of her takeaways shocked me (and I’m rarely shocked these days):
high protein intake is “one of the most fundamental processes that increase the risk of cancer” (Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)
retail sales of protein products were $9B in 2020 (up from $6.6B in 2015).
Here’s what didn’t shock me:
we’re consuming almost twice the recommended amount of protein
the high-protein diets were recommended and advertised by food manufacturers, not nutritionists and physicians
it’s been a phenomenal marketing campaign.
This may be one of the smartest reads I’ve shared here - it’s very worthy of your time.