Patterns and stories are embedded over long periods of time by our own actions or inaction. On an ancestral level we inherit preferences, traditions, even trauma. Those in love with online shopping or social media might relate to it from an algorithmic perspective. The more you push the like button, the more you place in your shopping cart with indecision, the more you reinforce what you see and its potential to shape your reality.
However we arrive in pattern, it is critical to unearth the stories and paradigms which too often go unacknowledged in our daily lives. In doing so we invite in new experiences and the possibility of embodying rituals and truths with intention. As we do so, the potential for evolution unfolds right before our eyes and so too does the potential to change the collective reality.
Each year, as December fades into January, we like many of you, often desire to throw out the uncomfortable, abandon the habits which no longer serve us, to essentially "fix ourselves". As 2020 dawned, we all sat with lists of personal and professional goals - perhaps this year would bring us clarity, we thought hopefully. Perhaps it would be illuminating. After all, it is the year 2020, and 20/20 is perfection in vision right?
It was in this time of new year planning and research that we realized our culturally diverse cookbook collection was lacking in the Black perspective. This made us curious and as we began to seek out books and blogs by black chefs another reality hit us. We had to deliberately look for them. As a Sunday morning cookbook reader and food photography addict I was enthusiastically scrolling through Jerrelle Guy's Instagram feed, when it also dawned on me that in all of the gorgeous food photography I follow, I never see Black hands. Why was this?
There is no doubt that long discussions could ensue from those three words. Why. Was. This. There has never been a shortage of brilliant Black hands in the tapestry that is the American foodscape. But it may be even more revolutionary to say, what can I do now? The great poet Maya Angelou writes, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
Don't turn away. That is what we all can do. Don't turn away. Ultimately, we miss what we don't see. And the reasons for not seeing are too numerous to expound upon here. But we all have the power to reverse the proverbial and literal algorithms of life. We have the power to strip back the veil which often cloaks that which deserves to be celebrated the most.
Seek out perspectives and expand your peripheral vision. Enrichment of our lives comes from centering and connecting to the stories of others, especially food stories. For it is through food and in food that there is the ever-evolving possibility of welcoming everyone to the table, breaking bread, and listening. In this particular time of separation, harness your power through platforms you frequent. What aren't you seeing? What hashtag could you search? If you want to lift others, start voting with your "likes" and your dollars - disrupt the algorithms which hide the beauty of our humanity in cultural homogeneity.
Here is to the unearthing of the unseen. Here is to disrupting the algorithms. Here is to the centering others.
This week we celebrate our fathers and Juneteenth which commemorates the day when the last slaves in Texas were told they were emancipated (30 months after the original proclamation).
Understanding the history of Juneteenth unlocks the story of resilience while also revealing the symbolism of food in our collective celebrations.
Lazarus Lynch, chef and author of Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul writes, "Food is an essential part of the Juneteenth celebrations, as it is the genetic coding of Black culinary ingenuity, our making a way out of no way, our improvisation. Food also has the ability to connect older generations to new ones. Michael W. Twitty, a culinary historian and the author of “The Cooking Gene,”recently tweeted, “Food connects racial or ethnic identity with gender, sexuality, class, national origin, disability, nutrition, health and political social movements and a variety of disparities. … Food is inherently political and food is inherently part of how all of these wheel back to ‘race.’”
Still curious? Hear from four more African-American chefs on the importance of Juneteenth celebrations and learn how red foods symbolizing strength, spirituality, life, and death became intricately linked to Juneteenth.
Chef JJ Johnson, is co-author of James Beard Award Winning Between Harlem and Heaven and the founder of FIELDTRIP, (2019) - a community-based dining experience celebrating culture through the shared experience of rice.
"For FIELDTRIP, rice is a journey to new parts of the globe.
Our mantra, 'Rice is Culture', was born out of Chef JJ’s realization that rice connects us and can be found at the center of tables in almost every community."
As the Covid-19 crisis raged on in New York, JJ's FIELDTRIP team mobilized in collaboration with local organizations to feed frontline workers. With schools closed, they have since pivoted once again to feed local school children over the summer.Now, Johnson calls on the overwhelmingly white culinary world to do better. Emploring them to consider, if Black Lives Matter - what black lives do they have in their kitchens, on their management teams, and at their front desks?
Gifts for Fathers
Shop additional barware, cutlery, and much, much more on our online shop
Clockwise from top left: Shun Premier 5 1/2" Santoku $129.99, the original Glencairn tasting glass $14.99, Shun Classic 6" Chef's Knife $94.99, Outset suede BBQ grill mitt and glove $24.99 & $22.99
Perfectly boxed barware from Viski and Corkcicle: Cigar Glass $24.99, Whiskey Wedge $19.99, and stainless steel Glacier Rocks $26.99
Spicers Mill Fire Up the Grill Set $19.99
A Proper Binge
With her photography featured in the latest Edible Indy, Reba Toloday's blog beautifully chronicles her passion for cooking, photography, gathering, family, and service. Reba's work is absolutely worth a follow if for nothing else than the amazing 100+ page Driveway Drinks e-book she drops into your email when you do.
We believe anyone can cook.
We believe in welcoming everyone to the table.
We believe some tools are timeless.
We believe high quality isn't always expensive.
We believe in making things from scratch when possible.
We believe in gathering & connecting with one another.