Top | my kitchen
(post, Kim Carlson)
A month or so ago I went to hear Bryant Terry speak and demonstrate a recipe from his new cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen. I was tremendously jazzed by BT's energy and the joy he obviously takes from food and cooking, and after the talk I asked whether he could send me a photo from the evening (he'd loaned his camera to a man in the front row). Despite the fact that he was crazy-busy on a book tour, Bryant supplied me with the photo, which was of him good-naturedly cooking collards on a not-so-hot hot plate, but still I didn't get round to putting a post up before I left for a week's vacation. And then another week went by, and then my MacBook crashed and said photo was lost. Alack. I should have directed y'all here but I didn't do that either. (It's not too late! Go pay KB a visit!) So here I am now, telling you that just as much this month as last, Bryant's book is worth checking out. If you don't know Bryant, take a look at this interview that Miriam Wolf did with him awhile back; you'll start to gain a sense of his work in the area of food justice — and just plain good food. (In fact, if it weren't so blissfully warm today, I fire up the oven and make his Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Ginger-Peanut Dipping Sauce. Doesn't that sound good?) Finally, I love this big-hearted and wise quote from the book because it speaks to the amazing variety of experiences we have with food: "We all have specific body constitutions, cultural foodways, and personal tastes that determine which foods work for us. No single way of eating is perfect for everyone. In fact, because our bodies are so dynamic, no single diet is perfect for any one throughout his or her life. Our relationship with food should be fluid, shifting as we change." (The quote appears both in the new book and in Grub, which Bryant co-wrote with Anna Lappe.) In other words, Bryant isn't judging anyone for eating vegan or not eating vegan, or for eating traditional soul food or his interpreted version thereof. Honestly, he just wants us to recognize the fallout from the food system as it is — on (in his words) our bodies, spirits, cultures, and communities — and then celebrate good food, "festive food" in all the ways we know how. Amen to that.