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Welcome to Secret Breakfast

An exclusive newsletter, the best place to start your day and be stripped down to the basics before you become a dopamine addict
Hi there!

I wasn't sure this place could be a good one to talk about the latest weeks in Afghanistan. What else could this newsletter add to the dramatic news we get minute by minute?

Then I "met" Kiana Hayeri, an extremely talented Afghan photographer. She documented the lives of women fighting patriarchy even before the Taliban got back to Kabul. And she, truly, loves that country.

In this beautiful interview - I stole the weekly quote from it - she says that Afghanistan strips away many choices and options, stripping you down to the basics. This is what she loves: if you live where you have fewer options, where you just eat seasonally, or have just one kind of shampoo, the starvation makes even friendships more solid.

Many of us live in lands of peace, and maybe all that abundance is depriving us of something substantial. Is it? I don't know, maybe we just forget. We throw away stuff, as we often do with leaves and radishes. We tell ourselves it's wealth, but whatever it is, it makes us poorer. 


PS: the picture above, by Kiana Hayeri, is about Ashak. Caption by her: "While traditionally these dumplings are only filled with chives, Fakhria's take on these delicious dumplings are filled with chives, mint, cilantro, spring onion and dill and she serves it with bean sauce and topped with chakka (thick yogurt with strong flavor) and dried mint. She will serve you a big plate with a handful of homemade chutney on the side".

PPS: there's no much we can really do for Afghanistan right now, but these guys here always helped people in need. 

Picture: Operation AshakKiana Hayeri
What Kabul does to you, what Afghanistan does to you, is it strips you down to the basics, stripping away many choices and options. At the supermarket, you have two shampoos to choose from. That’s it. Fruits and vegetables are seasonal. You’re stuck with that, right? But it’s also true for your emotions. The emotions that you experience there are so raw and so basic, and it’s beautiful.
→  Kiana Hayeri, photographer (interview by Rachel Hartigan)
Have you missed screaming chefs and burnout plongeurs? Here, we have a new movie: Boiling Point by Philip Barantini, featuring an outstanding Stephen Graham (released on 19 November in the UK).

Here's the F-word-filled trailer.

And if that makes you sick, you can recover reading this good one by Reem Assil: Until Restaurant Culture Changes, Don’t Call Me Chef.

Round cake time is over

We must agree we're living in the sheet-pan era. We've seen lots of New York Times' food-styled meals, but we lacked some rectangular sweet baking. This book is helping out. Plus it features a sheet pan Fluffernutter (love it or hate it)(please, hate it).

Sheet Cake by Abigail Johnson Dodge
→ Shortplot: 📐🥧🔥
This is a space where I share some food (un)related stuff of my week 

🍳 Eight Chefs Reveal What They Eat for Breakfast on Their Busiest Days  🍃 Plant-based diet plays a role in helping prevent and treat diabetes  🍑 Movie scenes that make people horny 🐄 How to make ghee (★recipe) and then make a Goan Ghee Chapati (★recipe) 🔥 Black Axe Mangal signature Lamb Offal Flatbread (★recipe), and if you don't like offal, just keep the flatbread magic (★recipe) 👩🏽‍💻 'Office otherness' and why everyone isn't excited to return to in-person work 😢 The onion reminds you at every step that it is alive, but if you caramelize her and put some anchovies on you have a pintxo to die for (★recipe) 🙀 Gene Weingarten's column that everybody hated, accusing him of racism
Lacy M. Johnson / Orion Magazine
Meet Fuligo septica, AKA “dog vomit slime mold". Meet, Lycogala epidendrum, AKA “wolf’s milk slime mold". You can't eat that fascinating stuff, but you can be amazed by its story. 
Jamie Waters / The Guardian
In her book Dopamine Nation Anna Lembke says that the smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle: "we turn to it for quick hits, seeking attention, validation, and distraction". What's interesting is that now behavioral addiction is more diffused than substance addiction. Dopamine, in fact, is our favorite food. 
Emma Bubola / The New York Times
I'm speechless when I meet anyone who can tell the scent of champagne in raw Nicaraguan coffee beans or who can sense smoked cod drinking a (clean) glass of wine. This is the story of one of them, who has lost the sense of smell, and the struggle to get it back. 
Errin Haines says she's 55% crab leg, 20% latte, and 25% Moët. Me, I'm actually 20% single origin pour-over, 5% cortado, 20% milk chocolate, 55% leavened dough with some fat in it. And you? Reply to this email and let us know: we can share and have a laugh!
Secret Breakfast is a newsletter by Piero Macchioni
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