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Christina’s Corner: February 2024

Happy February, y’all!

We did it: we made it through January, which felt like it was 45 days long. The jokes do not change year to year, and they are always right year to year. 

February brings cards, boxes of chocolates, and flower arrangements to stores, and for a long time it brought a massive eye roll to me as well. On a scale from diehard cynic to hopeless romantic, I was rated at a Kat in 10 Things I Hate About You… at around the start of the movie. But as I’ve gotten older matured, my understanding of love has changed. It’s become something I want to celebrate, not because I have a Valentine outside of my delightful shih tzu named Daisy, but because I have people I love so much in my life and they are freaking fantastic. It’s a  time when I can celebrate the kids in my life, my amazing friends, and grab discounted chocolate the next day. I can even indulge in the Galentine’s Day tradition, first celebrated by my beloved TV hero, Leslie Knope.

This month, I’m going all in on the Christina’s Corner picks. 

Eat: As a vegetarian who doesn’t watch sports, Super Bowl Sunday is usually not my thing. But I do love to eat, and there’s a lot of great flavors that we usually associate with that day. Recently, I’ve been enjoying taking a new spin on buffalo chicken. I don’t have a real recipe for you, because it has easy “eyeball it as you go” instructions. You’ll need a can of chickpeas, buffalo sauce, and ranch dressing. Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas, then take a fork to them and smash them up. You want some texture, so no need to go too wild. Then take buffalo sauce and ranch dressing and add to taste. Not much of a fan of heat or spice? Sweet Baby Ray’s even makes a mild buffalo sauce that I found at my grocery store. Add salt and pepper, also to taste, and if you have onion powder and garlic powder, add those as well (how much? Say it with me: to taste.) If you like celery, you can chop some up and add it. (I added some chopped dill pickles for some tang and crunch instead!) You can eat this with chips, but I have been loving it with shredded lettuce and feta cheese as a wrap. It’s versatile, cheap, and quick, and one of my new favorite recipes in rotation. 

See: What is your town doing for Black History Month? One of my dear friends crowdsourced a list of Black-owned restaurants in her immediate area looking to visit a few new locations this month. I was excited to see a town in my area doing a Trolley Tour, which highlights contributions of Black artists, innovators, and leaders in the local community. I am also planning for a trip to the new Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May, NJ, where she worked for two summers to fund her trips to help enslaved peoples escape to the North. If you are looking for new ways to learn about Black history in the United States in its fullness – not just the watered down coloring pages of many American public schools –  I suggest participating in The Great Unlearn, an amazing free resource offered by Rachel Cargle which she refers to as Discover Our Glory. I also highly recommend her Patreon which she uses to offer incredible syllabi each month as part of The Great Unlearn.

Do: If you’re a massive fan of a certain musician, seek out covers of their songs. T-Pain just released an album called On Top of the Covers, which features a really great cover of” A Change is Gonna Come.” He even covers 1980s and karaoke classic “Don’t Stop Believing.” As a high schooler, I really liked Mandy Moore’s album Coverage, which included “Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters” and “Moonshadow.” I recently discovered Eleri Ward, who does hauntingly beautiful acoustic covers of Stephen Sondheim show tunes. Simply put, see how another artist brings the lyrics, chords, and feel of one of your favorites to a different light. 

Wishing you a month that honors tasty food, the fullness of Black history, and songs that make your heart sing.

– Christina