Recipes for a Revolution

Friends, I’ve been keeping a pretty big secret from you. It’s a good one, though, and now that I’ve finally going to spill, I don’t think you’ll mind too much.

This summer, I’ve been writing a cookbook.

Correction. This summer, I’ve been procrastinating, suffering from writer’s block, stressing, furiously writing, recipe testing, mumbling to myself, and taking up the booths at Bardo Coffee for literally entire days–the result of which is a cookbook.

Recipes for a Revolution: A Practical Guide to the Care and Feeding of Activists, is part cookbook, part pep talk, for those of us who have heard the call to speak up and to act up– on behalf of equality, the protection of human rights, the protection of the environment, better education, better healthcare, a better food system, and to stand in the way of those who may be threatening those things. But, it’s not a book on how to be an activist. Rather, it’s a guide for activists who find themselves trying to juggle work, school, family, and the important work they do for the causes they believe in.

So many times, we find ourselves giving all our energy to everyone else, and not saving any time to care for ourselves.  As we set aside our own needs for healthful, nourishing food; for time to recharge; for the simple act of staying hydrated, we become more run down, more tired, maybe even sicker. This book serves as a gentle reminder that we must prioritize our physical, mental, and emotional well-being if we are to stay strong as activists and advocates for the issues that are important to us.

Recipes for a Revolution contains over 50 recipes, all carefully designed and chosen to provide an approachable, accessible, practical way to set ourselves up for success as we do this work of resisting. Whether you’ve only just heard the call to act, or your activism is much more developed, I believe this book can serve as a reference, a check-in with yourself, to help get your kitchen calibrated with that activism.

RFAR is available for pre-order in Kindle format for $13.99. If you buy now, it will automatically be delivered to your Kindle device when it releases on September 20th If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read it by downloading the free Kindle app to your phone or tablet, or reading it on your desktop through Amazon. However, I will have a .pdf version available for purchase, as well. You can pre-order now, and receive it the same day it releases for Kindle.

To pre-order the Kindle version, Just click here!

To pre-order the .pdf version, please e-mail with “Cookbook Purchase Request” in the subject line, and I will send you a pre-order payment link through PayPal.

For those of you wondering, I will be creating a funding page to help cover the cost of generating a paperback version of the book later this year.  If you’re like me, cookbooks are just a thing you want to be able to hold in your hands, make notes in the margins, and keep close-by in the kitchen. Self-publishing a printed version of a book can be expensive, but it’s something I definitely want to make happen.

Thank you, so much, for your support!

Keep It Simple, Stupid

This isn’t going to be one of my photo heavy recipe posts. This is just an exploration of thought I’ve been trying to form. It’s not a new thought. Others have had it before me, and shared it out loud, even. But it’s important to me to say it here, on my blog, because I’m on a bit of a journey. So, indulge me, if you will.

Maybe you remember the first time you cooked something and were really proud of it. You spent time, and effort, and money, and there it was, this delicious thing you created. You probably served it to someone else, breath held as they took the first bite, and heart soaring as they smiled and declared it delicious. From that moment, you were hooked. You wanted to cook it all. You wanted it to be amazing every time, so you started looking for ways to make it all special, to put your unique stamp on everything from peanut butter and jelly to Thanksgiving dinner. 

And then, maybe, if you were like me, you thought the way to really stand out, to really get the applause every single time, was to make it all incredibly complicated. You thought if you didn’t chop and dice until your plastic, three dollar Ikea cutting board had Grand Canyon sized cut marks in it, if you didn’t have to strain something at least three times through five layers of $20 unbleached cheesecloth (i have no idea if that exists, just go with it), if it didn’t take you at least 10 minutes to explain to your guests every single specialty ingredient in each dish, there was no way anyone was ever going to believe that your food was good. It had to be hard work or it wasn’t real cooking.

I remember feeling defeated so many times because I’d spend hours in my kitchen putting together the most ingredient laden, technique heavy food, only to have someone eat it and not immediately stand up and declare me “The Best Cook Ever.” I truly thought that all that energy should translate into just a bit more fanfare, and a lot more appreciation. As I got even more frenzied, trying to best myself, always searching for the pat on the back, the accolades came even more infrequently. The more time I spent adding things, the less appreciative my audience became.

And then I took this little trip to San Francisco. I ate at a restaurant near the water, and I ate my very first perspective shifting meal. I didn’t realize it immediately, but those steamed crab legs, straight from the water; that warm, fresh from the oven sourdough; that ice cold Anchor Steam beer, were the beginning of the end for about half the gadgets in my kitchen, and all those complicated, over thought meals that I thought made me, and my food, so special. THIS meal was special. This meal was simple, straightforward, and made all my culinary pleasure spots tingle with excitement and pure, unadulterated joy. I was eating with my hands, I was chewing with my whole body, or so it felt. I was humbled. 

When I got back home, I found myself backing off the ingredients list… de-cluttering my recipes. I slowly figured out that being able to identify each ingredient in a meal didn’t steal its mystery, but added to its enjoyment. I learned that there’s nothing wrong with using just a little salt and pepper instead of half my spice cabinet to create, and bringing forth, flavour, and in fact, if there are so many seasonings in a dish, instead of creating a flavour profile, I was really just creating the culinary equivalent of mud. 

My food is better now, because my brain takes a back seat to my heart, and my instinct— one that more often than not now very wisely tells me when to tweak, when to taste, and when to just leave it be. 

I’m thinking about all this, and that long ago lesson, because I start culinary school in about eight weeks, and much like in other aspects of life, I’m realizing that in order to be a good student, and to really learn, I’m going to have to get over the fact that I don’t know everything. That all my years of cooking, and serving, and learning that came before this are what brought me to this point, but to make this next phase of my education valuable I have to bring the skills but leave the ego at the door. I am going to fail at some things, maybe even some things I thought I already knew how to do. That basic meal of crab, bread, and beer will be the thing I remember when I start to get ahead of myself, or when I get frustrated because I’ve missed the mark, as all students will, and must, in order to eventually learn the lesson. And really, that’s why I’m doing this in the first place, right?