I’m excited indeed to have a piece in the current issue of Comestible Journal, a really creatively curated and political US-based food journal / zine. Here for example is the table of contents in this current issue, Winter, No. 4, that I’m a part of. You can order a copy , as well as art work and past publications, here; I thoroughly recommend “Protest Fuel” in particular; its a brilliant food-people’s response to the political moment of this new presidency.
Does the Food Movement’s Elitism Hinder Our Progress? Some Reflections of “Fast, Cheap and Easy”
A few years ago I was in a convenience shop with my young children, who kept pestering me for the various processed crap purposefully positioned, as we all know, in every aisle. I was growing impatient and cranky. The words shot sternly out of my mouth: “That’s junk food. We are not junky people.”
Never would I have considered myself the kind of a person to label others as “junky” and ascribe morality to eating choices. But I’d actually used the word; did I believe it? Did I also believe I was raising my children to be better than those other “junky” kids? I felt sure that my whole grains and limited sugar diet were making them healthier, but was I also inculcating in them elitism and us-vs-them notions about choices people make? The words appalled me so much that they became a stepping-stone of introspection, leading me to question my values surrounding food.
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I’m completely committed to insisting that breastfeeding is a food issue, one of food politics and all the ways power comes into play, of food security, and of food sovereignty, in OUR right to decide how we eat and feed. This poem is by Holly McNish is so strong and Mama-Tigerly righteous, I want to take part in it’s going ever more viral.
Also of interest: Anthrolactology is a blog maintained by a Medical Anthropologist with a keen interest in breastfeeding issues for refugees. Lots of links, resources and education on her site.
Has everyone read this fascinating New Yorker magazine long-read on breastfeeding and the micro-biome?
And in doing some searches for this post, I just found EMBA, the European Milk Bank Association, “where you will find information from many of the 200+ milk banks operating in more than 20 countries throughout Europe as well as news from milk banks and about the use of donor human milk around the world.” Viva sharing!
A few past KitchenCounterCulture posts:
A GIF that shows the male gaze…
Gorgeous Images of the Sanctity of Mary Feeding Jesus
Breastmilk Banking. My first baby benefitted greatly from another woman’s breastmilk while I was getting my flow going, so I’m all for this!
When my friend Paige Brown, a Climate and Clean Energy Activist by day, fermenting enthusiast by night, was posting these pictures on Instagram, I asked her could I post them on this blog. I love noticing the way sharing food helps form community, in this instance the community of inspiring activists fighting against Trump’s Muslim Ban at airports across the USA. We are going to need a lot of this, to keep our bodies and spirits in good health, and it’s so fun to see what all this abundance looks like in the sterility of an airport.
“The Resistance will be well fed! The calls went out for an emergency protest at San Francisco Airport on Sunday January 30, as 50 people were being detained there because of DT’s Muslim Ban. The call to protest included the request, “Bring provisions.” My friend and I grabbed granola bars and bananas and headed over.
The SFO protest was determined, lively, large, and diverse. It also had more food than I’ve ever seen at any protest. It was a beautiful abundance of fruit, carrots, cheese, snacks, and water. People took over kiosks, making them into protest refreshment stations.
Pizzas arrived just as the crowd was cheering the announcement that the last detainee had been released. It wasn’t about the pizza obviously, but it was about people vigorously and enthusiastically giving and sharing food. People really wanted to feed each other and take care of each other. Open doors, open arms, and sharing food with strangers as an antidote to closing doors and hearts.”
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When I started the project of this blog, I wanted to document what I was cooking and thinking, and often how the two related to each other. I was turned off and depressed by “lifestyle” blogs and food-porn posturing. I wanted to create a wide exploration of what it could mean to politicise a meal, to historicise and contextualise it, showing its antecedents and effects
I’m not sure how far I’ve come or where I’m going, but the vision remains strong that food on its own is not inherently interesting a subject to me, pleasurable as it may be to eat something delicious or gaze at beautiful food styling wishing oneself into the scene.
The video below interests me. I happened upon it because Sean Hawkey is a friend and had pointed something else out on the site. Sean is a photographer and filmmaker, often working for Development groups. I love how in the case of “The Breakfast Recipe,” he’s put the actual breakfast in a chain of events and a particular social milieu. It might feel feel easier to express this scenario in places where people grow their own food. But it seems really compelling to imagine the full weight of these stories for those of us buying our food in a globalised world. There will be stories inside of stories, with infinite digressions. All of which makes what we eat more compelling.
Everyday, day in and day out, people land on this blog having searched the phrase “What do Syrian Refugees Eat?” This is a bit puzzling to me, because I’ve barely posted on this topic at all, only occasionally to fundraise for Calais Kitchens and Refugee Community Kitchen.
But I’ve long felt I should lead seekers somewhere good, and at last I’ve learned of “Savoring Syria”
a project dedicated to telling the stories of Syrians and Syria through the lens of food. The conflict in Syria has led to the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. From the yearning for a taste of home to the efforts to preserve intangible yet crucial cultural heritage, these stories access the Syrian diaspora through the universal language of food.
Have a look! It’s full of great stories and recipes and might answer some of the questions you are seeking. There are still many other kinds of stories that need to be told, but I’m looking forward to watching this project grow.