1619-Present

Hi friends,

Welcome back to This Needs Hot Sauce. Today we’ll (briefly) talk about food, but we have something bigger to discuss first.

Police brutality and and the systems that uphold white supremacy are killing Black people, even in the middle of a pandemic that disproportionately affects them. Black lives matter and I am committed to making this an anti-racist space. I will not be silent and am committed to sharing resources, donating money, having conversations, examining my own behavior and biases, and taking action. I’ve seen so many white people on Instagram share anti-racist learnings, book recommendations, bail funds and lots more (and don’t share videos of Black people being killed). I hope that continues and that Instagram is not the only place we have these conversations. I absolutely notice the food bloggers who posted recipes today with not even a note or link to donate. It feels tone deaf and shows extreme privilege.

Some historical context

I studied history in college and learning about the past always helps me understand the precedent for today’s events and reminds me how change happens (often slowly, often through violent means).

I recommend reading or listening to the 1619 Project (the podcast is an immediate way to begin learning), which starts with the arrival of the first African slaves in the colonies and also touches on music, healthcare, land ownership, and more. Its creator (and Pulitzer Prize Winner) Nikole Hannah-Jones covers race from 1619-Present, which is always helpful to keep in mind when thinking about these issues. It goes way back.

There are many moments that you might not have learned about in school or you learned a very whitewashed sanitized version of (look into the Tulsa Massacre, the Move bombing in Philly, the fight for desegregation in northern schools, the compromise of 1877, the conversion of slave patrols to police departments, and so much more). This is by design (systems do not serve those who they were never meant to protect). We’ve never had a proper reckoning for this history, which affects all of our lives. When I was in college, I took a civil rights trip to Atlanta and several cities in Alabama. I’ll never forget walking by the former White House of the Confederacy, which had tons of visitors and a thriving gift shop just blocks from Martin Luther King’s first parish house and the site of the Montgomery bus boycotts. History is an argument and is often deployed to uphold structures of oppression.

Haymarket Books has a number of free ebooks available, including this one on the history of police violence, which I downloaded this morning. If you’re ordering additional reading material, support a black owned bookstore, like Magic City Books in Tulsa.

Google is free. Do not ask Black people to work for free to educate you (there are so many free resources and it’s always kind to shoot someone a venmo if something was helpful).

There is a lot of disinformation about these protests so follow reputable outlets, local reporters, and double check information before sharing (if you’re sharing images on Instagram, find the original creator). Many headlines use language that favors the police, but remember a gun does not shoot itself. Also, if you’re at a protest, don’t share pictures of peoples faces and write a lawyer’s contact info on your body.

In the food world

Food is political and always has been. We’ve discussed this a bunch recently and I absolutely plan to continue doing so. In food media, there is a tremendous lack of diversity that has long affected coverage. It sucks that it took this much for Bon Appetit, a brand with lots of diversity issues (why are there no Black people regularly cooking in the test kitchen?) to post an Instagram about this issue.

Property is replaceable, people are not. My family’s restaurant caught fire, let it burn.

Feed the Resistance shares the relationship between food and activism with recipes from a diverse group of contributors. All proceeds from the book support the ACLU.

Read Alicia Kennedy’s conversation with Bryant Terry.

Black owned restaurants in LA, the Bay Area, and New York (if I find lists for other cities, I’ll include them next week)

I Nearly Went to Prison for Philando Castile. I Closed My Restaurant for George Floyd.

Follow Ashtin Berry and Krystal Mack on Instagram.

Personally, I’m recommitting to diversity in sources (I always struggle with this when writing about wine, but need to do better) and will be looking to support Black owned food businesses, cookbooks by Black authors, and more. I’m also heartened by the number of restaurants donating in the middle of a pandemic.

Take care

Racism is traumatic and has demonstrable health outcomes. Read Jenna Wortham and Kia Damon on this. It is not selfish to take care of yourself and process trauma.

If you have children, work to raise race conscious children (this, about being a parent in this moment is important).

Here are 7 virtual mental health services supporting Black people right now.

Check in on people not just today, but in a month. This is a long struggle that’s ben going on for many generations. If you’re new, there’s a lot to catch up on and a lot to do.

If you’re a manager, support your team (this a great example) and offer them mental health days.

If you’re a brand, consider action before finding a cute graphic.

Give $ and get involved.

This is the number one way for white people and allies to support. Be vocal about your donations and challenge a friend or your employer to match. Make them recurring or start setting aside an amount per month to donate (you can use Digit to save for this). There are so many lists of places to give, but I’ll share that I’ve donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, Black Mammas Matter, and Bed Stuy Strong, a local mutual aid fund. Bail funds are really critical right now.

Police budgets are a local issue so it’s on all of us to learn more about local proposals to defund the police and change use of force protocol (cities like Camden have done this and it saves lives). If you’re a white person at a protest, put your body in between Black protesters and the police.

Thank you for reading and having this conversation. It won’t be a one time thing, I promise.

I know this is a tonal shift, but we’re going to switch gears and share some recipes and restaurants. Please skip if this doesn’t resonate today. I absolutely understand.


Something to cook:

I moved this weekend and will share more from my new space soon! It was weird to move during a pandemic and during a national crisis. To clean out the pantry/procrastinate packing, Julia and I made pumpkin bread. The recipe is oil based and a little spicy thanks to fresh ginger (this is a pumpkin bread that I wouldn’t add chocolate too). The pumpkin seed topping is good, but make sure you press the seeds in before putting in the oven or else they will fall off and make a mess.

I returned to an old favorite from my cubicle days: roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli with miso tahini dressing (you don’t need to use a blender for the dressing). It’s a great building block meal: eat it over grains or greens, add some kimchi or avocado or hot sauce, go crazy.

Something to order:

The week of a move always calls for lots of takeout and I was glad to order from a few favorites.

The Williamsburg Pizza Margherita pie is so good (includes fresh mozzarella) that I’ll never order the regular again (h/t Dale for ordering this first and getting me on board).

Tikka Indian Grill does great takeout. It arrives fast and always is enough for multiple meals. Their paneer is especially good and their samosa chaat is a delicious mashup of crunch, sauce, and spice. It had been a long day and by some error/blessing, we got three naans instead of one. Order on their website (linked above) for a 15% discount on your first order.

Julia and I obviously had Win Son as our last meal together in the apartment. We got the cucumbers, the sesame noodles, and the eggplant and they were kind enough to give us a free drink to celebrate.

Last night, Dale and I ordered Mesa Coyoacan for our first official meal as roommates. I love their huitlacoche tacos and guac and was the perfect end to a long day of moving.

Something to read:

I’m going to save the articles I had planned for this week for a later date since there are more important things to read at the moment.

I have a new logo for This Needs Hot Sauce and will sharing more about that process at a later date! Thank you for your support and excitement when I revealed it.

You also shared some super helpful kitchen tips (thank you) that I’ll be compiling at another time.

Thank you for reading. If you want to talk or share, I’m here.

xo, Abigail