Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good Works

There is this roots song I like on the Bambu Station compilation called "Good Works." In the song the brother says that "Jah loveth the good works they will always stand, from the hands of the righteous man." Whereas I strive to stand upright and keep a pure heart and clean hands, in no way do I liken myself to the righteous. I, however feel the weight of the lyrics. I pray that with the works that we do that The Most High finds them worthy and sees that we strive towards good works in our daily living. Today was one of those days. And at the end of it, I feel so full.

Black Star Academy had their closing ceremony today and MaituFoods served as the vendor. The youth and staff there are doing a terrific job and it was an honor to serve in the manner in which we did. It wasn't easy. LOL!!! They had quite a menu. These sisters wanted (and received) about 80 spinach spring rolls, about the same if not more lentil patties, a coconut black bean pot, brown rice, broccoli, and gravy. My gosh. And I was suppose to pull this off. I overslept after a spent Friday and woke up at 6:15am with not one carrot shredded, one bean sorted or one pot of boiling water with 4 hours to get it all done, arrive at the venue and set-up and I still had to go to the store because I needed some extra items and sensed I would run out of oil. I am looking at everything in the kitchen, on every shelf, in every corner, thinking how am I and why am I doing this??? LOL!!! Praying my 15month old will not wake up, because to cook in this humid weather with 22 pounds of him on my back is only going to make it harder.

Top it off my husband had a gardening volunteer event today within thirty minutes of dropping me off that he had to prepare for, so I couldn't make him late or hold up his process (didn't succeed at that, thank you for your patience and help love). But when life hands you lemons, grate it for some zest and make a killer sweet potato pie with a hint of lemon and ginger. So I turned up some Fela and somehow danced this meal out. The hubby went out for the extra items, my mother in law helped with vegetable washing, prep and dishes, the baby stayed in chill mode on my back and we got out of here, all fingers and toes in tact and made it to the venue with enough time to set up and sit for about 3 minutes.

I didn't sit down the 3 hours I was there. Isn't God the greatest???

So we ended up having a little extra, and even though I had a sister that wanted to buy whatever we had leftover (apologies Mama Alysia), I had to show my gratitude to my husband for his help and sacrifice this morning. So I decided that we would take the extra food we had and feed the volunteers at the garden event down the street. My mother in law grabbed the mini-van, double parked it in front of the venue, and we snuck (lol) the extra food out of the venue, laid a tablecloth in the van and laid all the food out. When we arrived to the farm, the workers had been out there for a few hours, so I know they were hungry. We popped that trunk open and just started serving plates out of the back of the van. Whatever they wanted, however much, in whatever combination. It was a just service. Here the youth and elders took time out of their Saturday morning-afternoon, to beautify and serve their community with a vegetable garden. And they worked. What we did was a small thing in comparison. By being fruitful, and working the earth, they are assisting in something that is of abundance for all. What those beloved people did was spiritual work. I see and I honor you all, that came out to Providence today to lend a hand.

And now here I am, day over, everyone (including the baby) worked. All I want to do is curl up with a mango popsicle and my book Opposite House by Helen Oyayemi, throw on some Nina Simone and just chillax...

I hope The Most High is pleased with our work. Love

I cant even think of a recipe today..soon

My Kitchen Sounds like: Every Fela song I own on shuffle.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Forward Ever/So Long April/Out My Mind Just In Time

April....I am so glad to say goodbye to April. With those April showers came tears, the ending of relationships,goodbye to old friendships and the closing of chapters. On a less personal note or maybe not, I had a couple of recipe disasters, a few menu changes and the end of April, the coming of May also marks the last month of school. Whew!!! I have never been so ready to release a month. May, you shall be like that piece of parsley on the plate. Unknown to some, you serve as more than garnish. No, no no no no. You my friend are there to freshen breath and cleanse the palette, for the next flavor. In short, you are there to open the door for new perspective. I am so looking forward to the new flavor and perspective of forward movement. There is a beauty in change once we learn to accept it. When one door closes, trust a dozen more open, or less distracted you see beauty of the space you are already in.

Just saw a documentary called "How to Live Your Food". It was ok. A story of a zen priest who is also a chef. So he imparts these pearls of wisdom while baking bread. Personally I found "Ratatouille" and "Coco before Chanel" more profound and inspiring, but I did grab a couple of jewels. Like being totally present when you are cooking and understanding the emotional connection between you, your food and who you are feeding. What I drew from that, is how much food is a transmitter, a communicative medium of life force energy, of emotional energy and so forth and so on. A direct quote from the priest was that "cooking was working on yourself and other people." Which is why there is little room for miscommunication. lol. However, by virtue of the fact that communication is open to personal interpertation, there will be a huge array of perspectives and preferences. There are times when I just want a simple, "I loved it or I didnt quite like it." But there are times when you will get a, "I loved it, but..." I am attempting to understand there is a growth in the "but"

Kenya has been popping up alot lately. And not in obvious ways. Of course I am in daily communication with a loved one or another from Kenya in some capacity. But thats not what. Its been bleeding over into other facets of our lives. For instance I am huge reader. There are always at least 5 books I am dealing with at any given time. So I am browsing the bookstore for a good book for the children and stumble on two books "A Grain of Wheat" and "Matigari" by Ngugi wa Thiongo, at two different ends of the bookstore. Then the jewel (and the reason for this) "Unbowed: A Memoir" by Wangari Maathai, which I found at the library while looking for a Helen Oyayemi book. Wangari Maathai has had a presence in our reality for some time now in one capacity or another. So of course I have been eating it up. And the thing that has been the most compelling for me is her recall of history and not just history but the history of agriculture in Kenya and more namely for the Kikuyu people. And in that she has given an accord of eating and sustainability practices (aha!!! we hit the jackpot). So she comments on how the Kikuyus were/are an agrarian community and as a result were largely vegetarian. Crops she mentioned were peas, beans, arrowroots, millet, maize, roots, green vegetables, sugarcane and pyrethrum. Of course there was livestock (cows, goats, chickens),but the diet was largely vegetarian. Elder Wangari spoke on how colonialization and immigration brought the introduction of new foods and cuisine into the population. Foods heavy with salt, sugar, fat and oil. She links this to new diseases associated with nutrition (or nutrient deficinecy as I would say). And with the work that we are doing, I just give thanks when I find jewels like these to re-affirm what is already known and present. The parallels speak volumes. We consider the impact of "diet" on Africans in America and the Diaspora and the decline of our health, because of how and what we eat. The hand of colonialization and slavery in that. Then even further in dealing with land, and the British imposing on land and then forcing Kikuyus into land reserves and working on land they no longer "owned". How that links to the land grab of Native Americans and their population decline and the establishment of sharecropping with Africans in America (african-americans). Its amazing how in all of our revolutionary talks we fail to give righteous accord to food, its growth and how its consumed. You control a people's food. You control a people. I give thanks for souls like Wangari Maathai and the seeds they have planted.

So we move forward with this movement, towards healthy living and healthy eating. Knowing that yes sometimes its hard work, but its divine work. Here's to new perspectives, springing from old wisdoms. Forward and Fiyah!!!

So I have been talked to about giving up recipes for free. I dont expect that anyone reads this but friends, family and associates. But in consideration I will offer up recipes that I stumble across online and in recipe books that I like. Like this one..

Corn Pancakes
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 2/3 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 cups milk (I use almond)
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 2 eggs (I used Ener-g egg replacer or you could use flax seed meal)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 4 scallions diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients and stir together well. In another bowl combine milk, oil, "eggs". Mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until well moistened. The batter will be thin. Stir in the corn, scallions, red pepper flakes, and cilantro.
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, measure and pour 1/4 cup of the pancake batter into a hot skillet.

Eat with Guacamole or Black Bean Salsa. YUM!!!!! I actually heavily modified the spices in the recipe. Just because I like a certain kick to my food. But the original recipe is quite nice and its flexible. Injoy!! Love.

My Kitchen Sound Like: "Heartless" by Kanye West (808s and Heartbreak), "Moon and Sky" and "Skin" by Sade, "Out My Mind, Just In Time" and "20 ft. Tall" by Erykah Badu and "Zelie" by Angelique Kidjoe ( I love this Song!!!! I play it on repeat at least 5 times before I hit next).