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Why Is Everyone Making Alison Roman’s Chickpea Stew?

Food
Photographed by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott.

We made it ourselves to find out

If you've searched #TheStew on Instagram in the past month, you probably found yourself looking at a series of similar images. They might have slight aesthetic differences (filters, angles, etc.), but the central content is identical: a thick and golden broth, topped with chickpeas. There will be yogurt if the user is fancy, mint leaves if they've been watching a lot of Top Chef. All are connected by one thing: a viral recipe.

Alison Roman's Spiced Coconut Chickpea soup was first posted in The New York Times' Cooking section more than a month ago. Since then, thousands of people have cooked, eaten, and raved about the recipe. A skeptic by nature, I decided to try it out for myself.

I'm not much of a cook. My mom is a great mom (hi, mom!), but she didn't spend much time in the kitchen. Neither did her mom and so neither do I. But the beauty and a big part of the appeal of this particular recipe is that it's pretty easy even for the most novice of cooks. To begin with, since it's a stew, you don't have to worry about anything burning or being undercooked. A majority of the time is spent waiting for the concoction to thicken, and the hardest part is probably trying not to cry all over the onions while chopping.

I tend to steer clear of dishes that require buying a whole new pantry of ingredients and spices. But you don't have to worry about that with The Stew, either. The main ingredients are chickpeas, leafy greens, and coconut milk, and the spices—turmeric, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper—can already be found in most kitchens.

I reached out to Roman before trying the recipe for myself, and her simple but effective advice was, simply, to follow the recipe. "I think part of the reason its become so successful is because everyone seems to have success with it, regardless of skill level," Roman told me.

But like with most things that become popular on the internet, opinions do vary, and some people have pointed out some alleged "flaws" in the recipe, like that they were left with something that had more of a soup-like consistency than that of a stew. To that, Roman says: "I did amend the recipe after publication to indicate that you should be crushing the chickpeas to give the stew more body. The other factors that would contribute would be insufficient simmering time and/or brand of coconut milk—some are thicker than others and what you start with will be a good indication of what you'll end up with (i.e. watery coconut milk will likely give you a looser stew/soupier consistency)."

Roman doesn't know for sure why her recipes tend to go viral (see also The Cookie), but she has some theories. "I think the fact that everyone who makes it has success with it is a huge help," she said. Roman, over the past month or so, has made it a point to repost people's final products which may or may not have contributed to its virality. "People want to see their food look like the picture it's supposed to, and this nearly always does. I've seen hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures of The Stew at this point, and they nearly all look the same, it's great. I also think people are ready for a kind of reset without sacrificing comfort. This dish sits perfectly in the Venn diagram between virtuous and comforting."

It also doesn't hurt that it's really good. I'm not the biggest kale fan (you can also use other greens of your choice), but this wasn't the chewy hipster version of the vegetable. The chickpeas give the stew texture, while the turmeric and spices bring it to life. It's also vegetarian, so you don't have to feel guilty when going for a second bowl.

Unsure if the hype had clouded my thoughts, I asked my two roommates to try the dish, also. One loved it: "It's perfect for a cold winter day," she declared. The other doesn't like turmeric, spicy food, or kale, so her opinion was doomed from the start. Before eating, though, I posted a picture on my Instagram story. It's been nearly 24 hours and, while Roman hasn't reposted my image (sad!), I did receive notifications of a different kind, all more or less asking the same thing: "Isn't it so good?!" and "Can I have the recipe?" To which my answers are: Yes. And, yes. (But you might need a Times Cooking subscription.)

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Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

"In my head I thought, This is how it ends"

Kit Harington almost lost a lot more than the Iron Throne while filming the final season of Game of Thrones. According to an interview with NowThis News, the actor almost lost one of his balls while riding a mechanical dragon.

Harington revealed that the incident took place when he was filming the scene where his character, Jon Snow, takes a ride on Rhaegal for the first time in the Season 8 premiere. Since dragons aren't real (sorry), Harington was filming the scene, where Jon almost falls off the dragon and then swings around to pick himself back up, on a mechanical contraption.

"My right ball got trapped, and I didn't have time to say, 'Stop,'" Harington said in an interview. "And I was being swung around. In my head I thought, This is how it ends. On this buck, swinging me around by my testicles, literally." We see shots of the fake dragon he's riding in front of a green screen, and it does look pretty terrifying.

Luckily, his testicles remained intact through the near-disastrous event, and he's survived with quite the story to tell to unsuspecting journalists.

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for goop

"I had to create a harder shell about being a woman"

In a panel discussion during Gwyneth Paltrow's In Goop Health summit, actress Jessica Alba revealed that she "stopped eating" to avoid unwanted attention from men when she was first starting her career in Hollywood.

According to People, Alba said that she "had a curvy figure as a young girl" and, as such, was made to feel as though her body was the reason that men may be inappropriate toward her. "I was meant to feel ashamed if I tempted men," Alba said during the panel discussion. "Then I stopped eating a lot when I became an actress. I made myself look more like a boy so I wouldn't get as much attention. I went through a big tomboy phase."

She continued, "In Hollywood, you're really preyed upon. They see a young girl, and they just want to touch you inappropriately or talk to you inappropriately or think that they're allowed to be aggressive with you in a way."

Alba also noted that she was raised in a conservative household. "My mom would say, 'You have a body, and it's very womanly, and people don't understand that you're 12,'" she said. "I wasn't allowed to have my nalgas out, which is butt cheeks [in Spanish], but I was born with a giant booty, and they come out of everything. So, I didn't get to wear normal things that all my friends wore."

She said that these reactions to her body really affected her attitude. "I created this pretty insane 'don't fuck with me' [attitude]," she said. "I had to create a harder shell about being a woman."

According to her, her relationship to her body only changed when her first child, Honor, was born in 2008. "[After she was born,] I was like, Oh this is what these boobies are meant to do! Feed a kid!" she said. "And that was the dopest shit I'd ever done. So, I came into my body as a woman finally and I stopped being ashamed of myself."

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Photo courtesy of Teva

Because of course

Teva, the most obvious lesbian footwear brand since Birkenstock, really knows its customer base. In time for Pride, the brand has teamed up with Tegan and Sara for a gay shoe to end all gay shoes. In other words, your Pride footwear is on lock.

The shoe isn't just your average Teva sandal. Tegan and Sara's design, the Teva Flatform Universal Pride sandal, is a 2.5-inch platform shoe with a rainbow sole. Tegan and Sara noted in a press release that they have been Teva wearers for pretty much their whole lives. "We got our first pair of Teva sandals when we were 16," they said. "This rainbow Flatform collab is like full circle LGBTQ+ Pride validation."

What's better, with each sandal sale, Teva will donate $15 to the Tegan and Sara Foundation, up to $30,000. The funds donated will go toward scholarships which will give young members of the LGBTQ+ community the chance to go to summer camps which will "help develop self-confidence and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment." Tegan and Sara added, "Teva's generous support for our foundation will allow us to help even more LGBTQ+ youth."

Available today at Teva's and Nordstrom's websites, the sandal retails for $80.

Photo courtesy of Teva

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Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

"Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design"

Prada Group has announced that Prada, as well as all of its brands, will now be fur-free. According to a press release from the Humane Society, Prada, Miu Miu, Church's, and Car Shoe will ban the use of fur beginning with the Spring/Summer 2020 collection (aka the Fashion Week coming up next). The list of fashion designers banning fur only continues to grow, with 3.1 Phillip Lim, Coach, Armani, Versace, Gucci, and more having stopped using the material in seasons past.

"The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy—reached following a positive dialogue with the Fur Free Alliance, in particular with LAV and the Humane Society of the United States—is an extension of that engagement," Miuccia Prada told the Human Society. "Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products."

Following London Fashion Week designers forgoing the use of fur in September and the first-ever Vegan Fashion Week taking place in February, it's easy to imagine an entirely fur-free fashion future. It's especially easy, I presume, for the brands to consider a fur-free future, given that entire cities and states are taking a stance. New York is following in the footsteps of Los Angeles banning fur, with a bill proposed this March that would ban sales across New York State.

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Photo by Johnny Dufort

"Club leisure" is the new athleisure

Alexander Wang is recognizing clubbing as the workout that it truly is with his latest Adidas collaboration. In this fifth installment, he "changes gears," per a press release from the brand, taking the iconic sports brand to the dance floor.

For the new campaign, the collection comes to life in iconic choreographer Tanisha Scott's dance studio and stars dancers Noemi Janumala, Dakota Moore, Avi McClish, and Olivia Burgess. The dancers show just how far these clothes can go when you want to bust a move or stretch, but TBH, I'll leave these poses to the pros and just use my clothes for flexing on the 'gram.

The collection—which features six apparel items, three shoes, and six accessories—features, per a press release, "Wang's knack for pre-styling." Standouts from the mostly black-and-white items include a silver sneaker that was *made* for moonwalking, an airy windbreaker that has just the right dash of bright blue with the scattered Adidas trefoil design, and a towel hoodie that you won't feel bad sweating in.

Ahead of the May 25 collection drop online and in stores, peep the gorgeous campaign images below.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Joggers, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Towel Hoodie, $350, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Sock Leggings, $60, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Adilette Slides, $90, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Futureshell Shoes in Platinum Metallic, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Core White, $280, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Shorts in Core White, $120, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Bum Bag, $50, available staring May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Duffle Bag, $70, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

NYLON uses affiliate links and may earn a commission if you purchase something through those links, but every product chosen is selected independently.


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