A Instagram page on food philosophy and affordable health through real food, developed into a series of zines by the same name.
Where Do Bananas Come From?
EAT SHIT & DIE
Chicken of Tomorrow
@grlpwrhaus always supporting to death! My lecture is on my live for now cause idk how to save it permanently. Might download and post on YouTube or something idk but you got 24 hrs to watch it now go watch 🤘🏽
599. White #rice fucks me up. Ive actually stopped eating at places that dont provide a brown rice option because it will mess me up for a few days. Theres no health in it and it just clogs up my whole digestion. But theres a few misconceptions with white and brown rice.
1. “Cultures that eat white rice seem healthy enough.” White rice, as we know it, is only 130 years old or so, so every culture eating heavy in white rice was eating heavy in brown rice before the industrial revolution. They seem healthier for many reasons outside of the fact they eat white rice today.
2. “There are not many types of brown rice.” Every rice is originally brown (with a hull) until it is removed. But brown rice is so unpopular in the U.S., the other options dont exist much.
3. “Brown rice is chewy or hard.” It is, if you dont know how to prepare it.
4. “Unprocessed brown rice is the healthiest option.” Not SLIGHTLY processing your brown rice, makes it nearly as unless as white rice.
Rice has been processed for ever, it requires processing to make it edible. Most food does. Historically, it was done in a mortar and pestle style (on a large scale) mashing open the hull and then sifting out the grain. This process often broke open the bran as well. Arguably, this produced white rice. But this white rice is different than mechanically produced white rice, which completely removes the bran and the germ inside, leaving nothing to spoil and making a significantly cheaper product. This came with the industrial revolution of the 1800s and changed the world as entire cultures adapted mechanically produced white rice, and lost the skill set and connection with the brown rice alternatives. This is why it is so damn hard to find brown Jasmine rice, but you can find a ton of the white Jasmine rice, its not that Jasmine rice (and all rice) doesn't start brown, its just not nearly as popular here. (The invention of the rice mill also led to the freeing of millions of slaves - so its always complicated.)
The mill also provided the opportunity to produce hulled brown rice that does not have a broken bran. In theory, its intact and contains all the fiber and b vitamins.
Reminder, this is next week.
Gonna talk about how, sushi got popular in the 60s, less than 20 years after Japanese people we’re being placed in U.S. internment camps. And a lot more like that, come through.
Also going to hopefully livestream here 🙏🏽 2pm EST
597. Can you tell I’m feeling better? It’s been way too long since I’ve baked #sourdough bread. My yeast starter developed a boozy smell and some dark colored liquid on top, and all the bubbles popped. I was worried I killed it after having developed it for nearly a year. Just like I had neglected my own health, I neglected the health of the cultures in my fridge. But to my pleasant surprise, it seems like everything is going to be alright.
This loaf reminds me of the loaf I made around this time last year, when I first got a call through to family in Puerto Rico after weeks of no cell service. This felt good to make, it felt like healing, finding balance, reconnecting with something I was losing, or afraid I was too late to save. Even though I was a bit rusty, and got a little frustrated at times, this is in the Top 3 prettiest loafs I’ve made. There’s so much story in food, especially food that is made with our hands.
I’m still reminding myself to take my time, spend a few more minutes making the fancy dressing, be present for conversations, call my mom, do a few push ups, I honestly feel like I’m recovering from something dramatic. But this is making me feel more capable to deal with something more dramatic.
A favorite story of mine was a Buddhist who says they never rush, even if they will be late. Because if they rush, being on time and upset will be worth way less than late and in a great mood.
I made the loaf last night and woke up early to bake it. Since I woke up early, I spent a little extra time getting ready for my class, and the students loved today’s lessons. Since I wasn’t hungry or stressed I stayed back and made some new plans with the center’s director to do more cool stuff with the program. And it’s going to affect the entire community. One small effort of feeling good will influence the next, and encourage the people around you to do the same. Inside and out we must invest in ourselves.
This took 15 minutes of effort, 13 hours of waiting, 30 cents, and made a week’s worth of food. And by using my starter, I reset it too, making it look healthier and happier. Constant gentle reminders that we are worth the intentionality.
Quick story about the anxious cycle many of us find ourselves in too often:
I'm a workaholic and this last month I've taken on way too much. I realize it now, but am still trying to finish the obligations I volunteered for. In doing so, I've been working nonstop, and until this weekend, hadn't cooked much at all in a while.
To lessen my to do list and decrease my stress and anxiety, I opted for pre-made foods or take out. Still eating some of the healthier options available, but nowhere near what I could make at home. This was fine for the first week or so, and then I started hitting walls.
My physical health was taking a toll and I was feeling worse and working slower. Yesterday I took my first sick day from work in well over a year and a half. My body wasn't too bad but my brain had completely shut down.
And regardless of the progress I've made, the stress and anxiety only got worse. There was never food at home to eat, meaning it actually took more time for me to get a quick meal, and I was draining my bank account in the process.
But I was fucking up my gut in the process. The inflammation from my shit food choices was affecting my thinking, clouding my thoughts, causing mistakes, and crippling anxiety that I just wanted to sleep away. I knew I could get it done, I just couldn't start. Saving a couple hours to work resulted in a few completely lost days of work.
After it all compiled and I just had to lay in bed all day, I said ok I need to cook me some medicine. I made soup and I been making tea all day. And to realize how much my physical energy and mental state has risen out of that deep pit is incredible. I know I can get it all done now. I wasn't telling myself this on Saturday.
The gut-brain connection is trendy science now but its been documented for hundreds of years. So my reminder is to take care of yourself during every step along the way, otherwise you'll be playing catch up the whole time. Saving 30 minutes on the front end will never be worth it in the long run. Cook your own food.
If a little soup and tea can change our entire outlook on life, we need to take it a little more seriously. Find medicine in what you eat and do and cherish it.
595. Unpaid (and unprompted) promotion of Elsa Market. It is critical that we support immigrant labor, especially food production, where they're at and on their terms. It is true that we vote with our dollars, but we must really consider the circumstances of this. When we monetarily vote for a certain food for ourselves, the outcomes of that vote affect everyone else too. It affects the foreseeable future for our communities and it especially affects those who do not have the same (monetary or otherwise) voting power as us. When we opt out of supporting the farmers market, everyone - both the farmers and your neighbors - are affected. This is particularly critical when you live in a low income area but have the means to support businesses from across town.
Don't bypass the local bakery or market for the big box store that might have it for 50 cents cheaper. That 50 cent discount is paid for by the people who will lose that local market one day.
And if you do have the means to support businesses across town, be intentional. Don't just support the cafe on the main road out of convenience, this just feeds into the elite structure of developing restaurants - you need big bucks to get the prime spot or else its not worth the effort. We have to meet them where they are at.
We must also consider that our perception of food (our taste and enjoyment) is very driven by external factors such as advertising and culturally normalized perceptions of the foreign-born people producing a food. And that by their very nature, they are limited, if not completely false, narratives. And they create lanes that people must abide to in order to survive, let alone succeed.
These lanes are wider for U.S. born people, and cooks are given more liberty to create hybrids and mash up flavors and cultures as they feel. While foreign-born people are required to offer a certain level of "authenticity" - in itself a fleeting, unachievable concept - in order to earn the community support. These things don't matter. We must meet people on their own terms.
This is so important because food production often stands as a major means of support for newly arriving immigrant groups. Continued below.
594. A few mature scarlet runner beans from post 589. Today I was interviewed for a food justice campaign to be coming out city wide in November. I was asked to give a piece of advice for the being able to eat nutritious food affordably. I told them we need to bring back and utilize preservation techniques. These are the techniques that poor people have survived on for centuries, ones replaced by chemicals and industrial processing that strips food of its health and poison us in the process. But some of the most simple preservation techniques have survived our communities for generations.
Take the combination of pork and greens, a common combination - this was not just for flavor, meat was stored on top of greens to preserve them. Or fried foods, not simply a way to cook foods quickly - it is a strategy of putting a crust on a food that can prolong spoilage. This was invented by Native Americans and continued by enslaved Africans. Smoking food, fermenting food, #pickling food, and of course canning or drying or freezing food are all common and important food preservation techniques. But the point is that the skills be developed so that they can be utilized when the time comes.
On the most basic and common level today, when food is on sale, in season, or when you have a little extra money to spare, you can stock up, and store the food for tougher times. On a more natural level, harvest time comes quick and comes short. The period of harvest for most foods in a couples weeks and best and a couple days at worst. And you have to translate that into the whole year’s food. If you can develop these preservation skills, this is made possible.
My beans didn’t mature until pretty late in the year. They are getting close to drying up and being ready to harvest for seeds/dried beans. But they are also great when they are not ripe. And more importantly. I can eat the whole pod when they are not fully ripe and dry, meaning more food, fiber, and nutrition. So, since frost is right around the corner, I’m going to let a few pods that are the most ripe go to seed, and harvest most of the rest this weekend, just in case, so I don’t lose the whole harvest.
Rescheduled due to last week’s tornados. I’ll be talking about the legacy of servitude in the U.S., the establishment of new immigrants as the nation’s cooks as far back as the California gold rush, and continuing today. The criminalization of new immigration groups and how that is used to produce more food, food that they themselves often cannot access. And how our choices for lunch influence all of this. Hope to see you there. Will live stream on IG.
My lecture PUEBLO SIN COMIDA (People Without Food): Immigration and Food in the U.S. is this Thursday at 2pm in the VCU Student Commons, Virginia Room A. Free and open to all, hope you come through.
591. #Kimchi is a Korean dish documented being at least 1,500 years old and as old as 4,000 years old (there is debate as throughout this time, Korean written language changed dramatically, so translation isn't perfect). Kimchi is fermented Chinese cabbage or radish, and there are about 200 types of kimchi in Korea. There are dozens of Chinese cabbages used, but the most popular found in the US is napa cabbage. Origins of the dish used different cabbages that were in season at the time, and often burying the kimchi made from fall cabbages to last the winter.
I was first taught how to make kimchi by @dinnerondemand_bmore who whipped it up 3 different ways all at once, because aside from a few prep steps, it's a very straight forward and nearly fool-proof process. But this simplicity allowed her artistry to shine through in developing a perfect balance of flavors that I am still trying to learn from.
Kimchi is unique from other fermented vegetables because it uses red pepper to do the fermenting. The recipe for using napa cabbage still uses some salt, as in pickling, but far less, with allows for a stronger development of lactic acid bacteria (the only natural vegan source of B vitamins) than salt, which can inhibit all bacteria growth at high enough quantities. The lactic acid bacteria is equally successful in preserving the food, and I have left fresh kimchi on the shelf for months without spoiling - though I usually eat jars in like a week now - but this preservation makes this a key skill in moving away from our overbearing energy dependency.
Recipe in the comments below.