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Although I realize that the 4th of July is supposed to be celebratory and leisurely, I think this year in particular calls for some reflection on what America is and how it became this way. I am not naive enough that America’s legacies of inequality and injustice are news to me, but it does seem that this state has become gravely exaggerated over the last year or so.

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On Friday, I visited the MoMa and walked through the incredible “Migration Series” paintings that Harlem-based artist Jacob Lawrence made in 1941. With his astonishing technique that is at once childish and basic yet unique and awe-inspiring, Lawrence tells the story of the migration of Southern blacks to America’s northern cities, starting around 1910. Normally, the series is split between the MoMa and the Phillips Collection in DC, and it’s incredible to see them altogether.

I also ready an article by Rachel Aviv, certainly one of the most important journalists working today, about a case where a black man was sentenced to death for killing his baby, in a black township of Louisiana. It’s currently not behind a paywall (“Revenge Killing,” in the current issue of the New Yorker) and I urge you to read this nuanced account of a story that seems to me representative of many broader, structural problems in America today. A legacy cannot be wiped away quickly, and so much work has been done to change our society already, but at the very least we can use this holiday to reflect just a little bit on who we are, and what there is to lament as well as celebrate.

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So, 4th of July is coming up–I got you covered! Advice about amazing domestic wines to drink here, plus the scoop on delicious glou-glou light reds to serve chilled, here.

But the most interesting work I’ve been able to do recently was hardly work at all, because it was also a true pleasure: getting to know Brianne Day, who I think is not only the future of artisanal, natural winemaking in Oregon, but also an example of an amazing businesswoman who really knows how to invite opportunity into her midst and make the best of it.

Thank you to everybody who took the time to give me quotes for these stories!

Also, I recently enjoyed an amazing trip to Vermont, where I visited a bucolic sheep farm and a goat cheese-making operation, then trekked on up to Montreal and ate my face off across town. Take a look at my recs here. Thanks to a special someone for guiding me around that belle ville.

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The best part about all of this was that I got to watch this video of Deleuze, and write about his work in a context outside of grad school.

Yay, art.

Over the last year, I’d noticed an ongoing campaign to market the wines of Bordeaux as natural, organic, easy-drinking, etc.

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I wondered if there were actually some legit natural wines from that region — and furthermore, how had one of the world’s most prestigious wine regions come to need marketing, anyway?

My story, for Food Republic.

I did man-on-the-street interviews at the one-day WastED pop-up at Shake Shack, which featured a veggie burger made of juice pulp, rejected beet ketchup, and day-old Balthazar bread. People’s reactions were pretty interesting! Dan Barber and the Shake Shack culinary director, a very enthusiastic and creative guy named Mark Rosati, chimed in, too. Read my piece on Food Republic.

Here are my photos:

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I wrote for Eater Drinks about new restaurants serving natural wine across the U.S., and what to drink at those spots.

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Many thanks to the wine directors, restaurant owners, and importers who helped with this article!

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I wrote on Saveur.com about the new generation of Spanish winemakers who are producing low-sulfur, less extracted beauties made with indigenous varieties. Look for these five producers at your local natural wine shop!

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