this week | april 8th, 2021

Smoky Mountains, TN — Epson RD1

(I started) A New Job

Yeah so Monday was my first day at HubSpot and it just feels good to be at a tech company again.

(I read) Fly Already by Edgar Keret

Other things (I read)

(I wrote) A Poem

Medium’s formatting kinda sucks for poetry so all of that goes on Instagram instead. Maybe I’ll repost to Medium.

(I cooked) Dal Tadka

clockwise from top: poha, dal tadka, raita, grilled veggie taco that really needs some chutney


  • Toor dal or other lentil
  • A secondary legume (chickpeas/chana are a good choice) for textural variety!
  • Ground turmeric for color and flavor
  • Black mustard seeds for flavor
  • Cumin seeds for flavor
  • Indian green chili for heat and flavor, jalapeño works great too
  • Red onion, tomato, other veg you enjoy

Step 0: Sourcing good ingredients

You’ll get the best dal at the best prices at an Indian store. I got a 4 pound bag of Swad brand toor dal for $4. I’ve asked my Indian friends what the best brands are and the answer is always Swad, the house brand of the Patel Brothers grocery chain.

Step 1: Cook your Dal

No need to soak—just dump your dal and other legume(s) into your pot along with plenty of water, some turmeric, and a bit of salt.

Step 2: Tadka

We’ll add more flavor with a tadka—which just means tempering/infusing spices in oil.

Step 3: Assemble

Mix your tadka into your dal. If you like it, a bit of chopped cilantro is nice, but definitely not necessary.



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Brian Lin

Brian Lin


Brian Lin is a writer, runner, and stray cat lover. A recent Duke grad in CS and English, he is a software engineer by day and a typewriter poet by night.