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throwing a potluck over the internet
My feet are yet to touch Colombian or Turkish soil. But somehow, my words have travelled there and made friends. Apart from Antartica, I have a subscriber on every continent ☠️ 😲.
By some combination of internet magic and favour from the writing gods, this little newsletter continues to grow. Two months ago, I celebrated two hundred and thirty one of you onboard this ship. In a restless sea teeming with all kinds of attention-hungry creatures—TikTok videos, YouTube shorts, AI lover bots and preachy tweet threads about bank runs—it's a big deal that so many of you lend me your eyes.
I thought people didn't read anymore! I was ready to start turning these essays into embarrassing TikTok singalongs if necessary. But you have delivered mercy upon my poor soul. And yours too. Because you wouldn't want to see my half-hearted attempts to shimmy and skelewu my essays onto the FYP page. How does one even dance-interpret the word "sabbatical"? Now, we'll never need to know ☺️.
People already get too much email. There's always someone in your inbox vying for your eyes or dollars. “Breaking news” that is neither urgent nor significant. Facebook reminding you that someone you can’t remember...is still alive. Hurray. Noom offering you another trial subscription, hoping you forget to cancel before the credit card grim-reaper swats your cash away. Uber Eats pleading for your return like a repentant lover.
If you're like me, you already subscribe to too many newsletters and the bar for adding a new one is high. So whenever I get that little email from Substack saying another person has chosen without threat of violence to read my words, I'm honoured and humbled.
And for those of you who have pledged money to this newsletter, I'm so grateful for your trust and belief in me.
But what does 335 people look like? Can we give it some texture and body so it comes alive? A little vinaigrette to amp up the flavours?
335 is more people than can comfortably squeeze into one subway car (trust me–I’ve counted the bodies crushing into mine on the London tube during rush hour). As a startup, we'd be somewhere between a Series B and Series C company. Too large to know every coworker's name, but probably small enough we don't have an official alcohol policy. Or one that is actively enforced.
If we all teamed up to fight our friends over at Michelle's newsletter, it wouldn't be a war- but perhaps a scuffle, or a skirmish, a fracas, a melee or merely a disturbance?
If each of us were a grain of salt, how much salt would we be? I haven't done the math, but somewhere between a big pinch and four teaspoons.
Speaking of food, I can imagine the most glorious feast if we threw a potluck. Everyone would bring a dish or treat from their homeland. The South Americans blessing us with feijoada, Colombian arepas and the most divine ceviche. Every kind of savoury rice dish would attend: from Nigerian jollof to Malaysian nasi goreng, from Indian biryani to Saudi kabsa.
For those in pursuit of food comas, can I tempt you with an itis-inducing Sunday roast or Australian slow-cooked lamb? Or hearty and heart-stopping barbecue from the US and toutière from Canada. The Italians might offer us a rich risotto or layered lasagna. Their neighbours to the North West send their bœuf bourguignon and coq au vin. Move a little south from there and a splattering of Spanish tapas fills the table. Cross the little pond and head a little east and be rewarded with Tunisian shakshuka.
We'd flush these down with Irish Guinness or German Pilsner. For dessert, a sinful pastel de nata from Lisbon, a Turkish baklava or poffertjes from Amsterdam. In the spirit of unrestrained indulgence, a solo dollop of Swiss chocolate to finish the affair.
Thank you for coming to this party. I promise the hangover would be worth it.
If you would like to enjoy more treats like this or add your country’s dish to the menu, then subscribe for free to receive new posts 😊
I assure you, with my internet pride at stake, that no subscribers were hurt in the writing of this essay.