Are you okay? I missed you last week. I just couldn’t bring myself to write about making strawberry jam, or what I’m binging on Netflix (nothing). A beautiful artist, Chloe Bren, made this portrait of George Floyd, he and our brothers and sisters have been on my mind. I sit in sadness, anger, and shame. And, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and participate in changing our world, starting with my own complicity.
I’m taking a dive into reading about institutionalized racism in our country, about my role in the injustices of our society.
- White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo & Michael Eric Dyson. What I’ve read so far is a discussion about why it is so hard for white people to be confronted with our missteps and racial blind spots. Yes, it is hard to hear when we’ve made mistakes, but can we shift our response from umbrage and denial to gratitude for showing us how to change?
- The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. I read this YA book a few years back, about a young black woman who witnesses the police shooting of her best friend, an unarmed black man. Unfortunately Thomas’s novel did not require the giant leaps of imagination, as the killing set off national headlines and protests.
- Here is an excellent list of Anti-Racism Resources, put together by two women I don’t know, but to whom I am very grateful. Sarah Sophie Flicker @sarahsophief and Alyssa Klein @dj_diabeatic
- And, an anti-racist reading list from Ibram X. Kendi’s Instagram feed.
- To read a summation of the day’s events, all things covid-19, politics, and protests though a lens of history and law, sign up for Heather Cox Richardson’s insightful, brilliant, and incredibly useful newsletter, Letters from an American.
If you’re getting your creative work done, I applaud you. We need art. If you’re having a hard time writing, I stand in solidarity with you. Where can we channel that writing energy?
- Google whether your police department requires body cameras and how they respond to officers that fail to turn them on. Write to your city council and mayor to make sure of transparency in police action.
- Google whether your police department requires de-escalation training. If not, write to your mayor, your police chief, your city government.
- Sign petitions and put them forward on your social media platforms.
- Make signs and take them to protests. I understand there is a pandemic, and if your health and well-being is threatened by being in large crowds, donate what you can to organizations that are supporting the change we want to see. Black Lives Matter or Minnesota Freedom Fund, or ACLU. Or, consider donating to a campaign that can unseat politicians with a racist agenda. Jaime Harrison, is running a tough race against Lindsey Graham in South Carolina.
- Consider writing Postcards to Voters in battleground states. Now more than ever before, with peaceful protestors being tear gassed for a presidential photo op, we need to take back the people’s house, the White House.
We all need to take care. Rest well. Eat well.
If you are bringing food in during this time, consider ordering from black owned restaurants. Simply google Black Owned Restaurants near me. You can find a Portland list here, Support Black Owned Restaurants.
We’re mostly cooking at home, here’s something we ate two nights in a row, in front of PBS News Hour. I hope it is a bit of comfort food for you as well.
Whole Grain Mac & Cheese (NYTs cooking)
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for oiling dish
- ½ pound whole grain macaroni shells, elbows, penne, or fusilli
- 1 large broccoli crown, broken into small florets (about 3/4 pound)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
- 2 tablespoons flour, sifted
- 3 cups milk (1 percent, 2 percent or whole, to taste)
- Salt and white or black pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 4 ounces Gruyère, grated (1 cup tightly packed)
- 1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan (1/4 cup tightly packed)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish.
- Boil a large pot of water and salt generously. Add macaroni and cook al dente, a minute short of however long you typically cook pasta if you were serving it right away. Use a skimmer or strainer to lift macaroni from cooking water and transfer it to a large bowl. Toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil and set aside.
- Add broccoli to boiling water and boil 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, drain, and then drain again on paper towels or a kitchen towel.
- To make béchamel, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in a medium-size heavy saucepan. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until smooth and bubbling, but not browned. It should have the texture of wet sand. Whisk in milk all at once and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Turn heat to very low and simmer, whisking often and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 15 minutes, until sauce has thickened and lost its raw flour taste. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Remove from heat.
- Strain béchamel while hot into the bowl with the pasta. Add cheeses and broccoli and stir together until pasta is nicely coated with sauce. Scrape into prepared baking dish.
- Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until bubbly and the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
And, here’s a resource for eight cookbooks by African American Chefs.
We’ve got Nina Simone on repeat here at our home. Her song, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free, still stands. And, here’s a beautiful poem (scroll down the page a bit), from Audre Lorde, read by another amazing vocalist, Cecile McLorin Salvant