மாலை வணக்கம் (maalai vaNakkam), Buenas Noches, and Good Evening from New York City.
I’ll be sharing a thing I did, 2 tweets I loved, and a thought I had.
A Thing 👨🏾🍳
I made this American chain style pizza last week.
This style has a crisp bottom and a slightly softer, thicker upper that’s not shy on the cheese and toppings. If you grew up anywhere other than New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut - this may look familiar to you. Growing up in suburban Maryland, Pizza Boli’s was the best option we had.
Recreating my favorite foods from the past makes me feel joyful. It’s a semblance of control over time that itself is a happy illusion.
Pizza Boli’s is a pizza chain in the mid-Atlantic USA started by Pakistani immigrants. All their food was halal. I used beef pepperoni to keep the homage authentic.
I was thrilled with the open crumb of the crust. When I started making pizzas, my crusts were all dense and hard. Now I realized that my yeast was dead, my flour had low protein, and strength in dough is built through stretch and folds - just like in biceps through curls.
The slightly sweet, thick tomato sauce balanced the spiciness of the pepperoni perfectly. The toppings were anchored below and above by whole milk, low-moisture mozzarella. The total bite with the crispy bottom was a blast from the past.
Even with all the positive parts, here’s what I’d do differently next time:
The dough wasn’t stretched uniformly so gravity and oil held hands and ran downhill. This dough was cold fermented for 6 days and therefore was super relaxed. I hand stretched a relaxed dough when I probably didn’t need to. I did it even though the dough was 14 inches across without hand stretching.
In the thin spots of the dough, the crust bottom burned a bit. A uniform stretch would’ve help. However, I want to reduce cook time a minute or two to prevent this.
Because my ez-bake oven only gets to 400F, the upper crust is a bit paler than I’d like. Next time, I will start broiling 5 minutes in instead of 7 minutes in.
Overall, I’d give it a 8.2/10. The nostalgic flavors and textures were a trip down memory lane. It did remind me of Pizza Boli’s.
What’s was your favorite pizza place growing up?
2 Tweets 🐦 🐦
Design is tough.
It took me 4 months to code the front end of TamilApp. I’d never coded a full app in React. In my head everything seemed good.
Once I clicked through, I realized all the design flaws and unexpected bugs.
It’s awesome these designers encapsulated their experience into highly-used components. It should help novice front-end developers like me not be surprised by the jankiness of their custom components.
I would never start a React project without a component library again.
I would never use React for a personal project again.
This is Pieter Level’s (no frameworks) stack for a remoteok.io making $65K USD/month with 1 developer.
Many of the levels of abstraction in software projects are necessitated not by functionality - but rather by humans. Whether it’s source code files or on-call duty - humans need a high degree of autonomy, minimizing synchronization overhead - to work effectively.
Each abstraction comes with it an overhead to observe and maintain.
Optimizing for ease to develop and operate looks different for 1 developer than 100.
A Thought 💭
I never realized how physical learning an accent could be.
Last year, I worked 1-on-1 with Idahosa Ness, the creator of the Mimic Method to improve my Spanish (and Tamil) accent and listening. In case you missed it, here’s the pointer to part 2.
The 3rd exercise we did was “Sync your Body with Syllable Timing”. The rhythm of speech doesn’t stop below the neck. Synchronizing your body with speech is the physical embodiment of speech.
Even though the video shows Idahosa clapping, he told me to softly tap my collarbone instead.
This was more challenging for me. My physical coordination is weaker than my sound reproduction. I practiced each audio about 8 times before recording and sending the Looms.
And I still had to re-do the 3rd audio Loom.
This was the first time I appreciated how accent work is a full body workout. It’s not obvious, but people use their hands, head, and body differently in different languages. Think about the South Asian head bobble, it has a non-verbal semantic meaning - yet confuses western English speakers.
With this (and all) work, it’s process over product. The more energy you invest in trying to capture each syllable in sync, the more you fit your perceptions to the reality of natural speech.
And I never want to be blind to reality.
I'd love to hear any feelings you felt while reading this and until next time - be easy.
P.S. You may have noticed that this newsletter has been published less frequently lately. I injured my scapula on January 6 lifting weights. That injury made it painful to sit and work on a computer, use a phone, or even get a haircut.
It’s finally getting better after 6 weeks.
Without writing, life feels almost without meaning. It reminded me of how I felt before I started writing regularly in April 2022 - a tangled mess of almost threads. I’m excited to be back sharing stories and lessons and introspecting with you.
I appreciate your grace and patience <3
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Hope you're on the mend, Janahan :)
Sorry to hear abt ur injury hope you’re getting better soon, Janahan