moving restorative justice from margins to center: what i learned

This past weekend, I went to Oakland, California, to attend the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice‘s annual conference, this year titled, “Moving Restorative Justice from Margins to Center: We’re The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For.” It was a truly incredible experience. I’m grateful and humbled to have been able to learn from some seriously visionary and creative activists. This conference was where you can find the people who have ideas so big and daring, it’s a little bit scary. It’s definitely scary to people who are invested in the status quo, which is what made it so awesome! Here are some of the lessons from the conference that resonated most strongly with me, and that I imagine will stick with me for a really long time. Continue reading moving restorative justice from margins to center: what i learned

miso chicken ramen

I had my first bowl of ramen in March 2016. I could not believe I had gone 21 years without ever having ramen that wasn’t Maruchan instant noodles! It was a shockingly different dish from the salty, thin broth-ed soup of my youth. As I had more experiences with ramen and became more interested in cooking, I was excited to find a recipe for ramen that I could make. LOL! If anyone else has looked into making ramen from scratch at home, they know it is a long and fussy process. Fortunately, there are versions of ramen in between traditional and instant. This is one!

Though I aspire to eat entirely vegan, I also prioritize wasting as little food as possible, which means that I sometimes eat meaty leftovers that no one else wants. In this case, I had some shredded chicken on hand from a friend who was going out of town and wouldn’t be able to eat it. I was craving something warm and comforting, and decided to try my hand at a ramen-y noodle soup. It turned out to be really delicious! The broth was rich, savory, and salty, and everything else was nice and simple. I think this could pretty easily be made with tofu or mushrooms if you want to make it vegan-friendly. Otherwise, everything else is vegan! It was really satisfying, and very easy to make. I’m excited to look around for more pseudo-ramen recipes. If you’re looking for a vegan, full-on ramen experience, though, here’s a recipe that I haven’t tried but that looks delicious from Serious Eats. Enjoy! Continue reading miso chicken ramen

vegan baozi with savory miso-mushroom filling

I think we can all agree that “savory, filled dough pocket” is the most delicious food category on this beautiful planet we call home. Empanadas, gyoza, ravioli, pierogies, samosas. They’re all so different, but they all take me to sweet, sweet ecstasy! I especially love bao, soft, puffy steamed buns with savory fillings. I’ve been intimidated by them for a while because they require a yeast dough, but they ended up being pretty easy! They just require some time and patience. They can be filled with anything your little heart desires. This filling was very delicious– savory, rich but not heavy, and salty with a bit of bite from the vinegar.

I synthesized two recipes from the Kitchn and Food52. Good luck and enjoy!!!! (Also, for active dry yeast users, the Food52 recipe uses that kind of yeast. Very easily adaptable.) Continue reading vegan baozi with savory miso-mushroom filling

gender studies rule, boys drool: “the conceptual penis” and sexist attempts to discredit feminist scholarship

I’ll be perfectly frank: when I first read “The Conceptual Penis” and the authors’ accompanying article explaining their hoax, I was SUPER pissed. I was a women’s and gender studies major in college; the discipline changed my life and my understanding of the world. I hold it in very high esteem (though that’s not to say there are no problems with the field, or with academia as a whole). Gender studies is very important to me personally, and it’s an extremely important addition and subversion of more mainstream and well-established academic departments. As you can tell, after cooling off for a couple of days, I’m now only a little bit pissed.

The hoax, which was published by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay (under pseudonyms) in the journal Cogent Social Sciences, was a play on a similar “hoax” by the physicist Alan Sokal in 1996. Sokal submitted a fake paper to a peer-reviewed journal as a prank that aimed to show that any article could be published in even fancy journals if it was filled with enough big words and run-on sentences to please postmodern academic sensibilities, and if it aligned with postmodern (left-of-center) ideology.

Inspired by Sokal, Boghossian and Lindsay submitted an article to Cogent titled, “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct.” In a piece that they wrote to explain the hoax, they say:

The paper was ridiculous by intention, essentially arguing that penises shouldn’t be thought of as male genital organs but as damaging social constructions. We made no attempt to find out what ‘post-structuralist discursive gender theory’ actually means. We assumed that if we were merely clear in our moral implications that maleness is intrinsically bad and that the penis is somehow at the root of it, we could get the paper published in a respectable journal…After completing the paper, we read it carefully to ensure it didn’t say anything meaningful, and as neither one of us could determine what it is actually about, we deemed it a success.”

Aside from the arrogant, smarmy tone of the piece (which is annoying but not really a substantive problem), there are some serious issues with the premise of their “hoax”:  it is, at its heart, a sexist attempt to discredit gender studies and not a genuine academic exploration; their theorizing is not, in fact, as silly as they make it sound; their own positionalities and ideologies prevent them from seeing the limitations of their “hoax;” and it’s simply bad scholarship with a conclusion that lacks supporting evidence and authors who intentionally obscure any evidence that contradicts their ideology, which is the exact crime they accuse gender studies of committing. To put it bluntly, they’re full of shit and are having a power trip by creating a sexist caricature of gender studies. Continue reading gender studies rule, boys drool: “the conceptual penis” and sexist attempts to discredit feminist scholarship

4 tips for avoiding foodie cultural appropriation

My bf made the above video to go with a script I wrote! I think it’s safe to say most of us have, at some point, felt unsure about whether instances of potential cultural appropriation really were that. This video is about food, in particular, but the lessons can apply across many types of cultural expression. A longer version of the script (which hopefully will clear up questions that anyone may have after watching) is below. Enjoy!

Continue reading 4 tips for avoiding foodie cultural appropriation

cucumber toast / the best dressing in the world

Since I was very young, I’ve loved cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese. When I started eating fewer animal products, I stopped eating cream cheese, and the grocery stores near me don’t sell vegan cream cheese. RATS! No more delicious cucumber sandwiches for me, I thought.

But then I realized cream cheese isn’t the only delicious thing in the world.  For instance, my mom makes a really yummy dressing in the summer, when her garden explodes with cucumbers.  So I’ve started eating a lot of cucumbers on toast with this dressing to get my cucumber and cream cheese sandwich fix. It’s not exactly the same, but the dressing is creamy and tangy, so it hits the spot.

The dressing uses mayo, which is not vegan, but it’s possible to buy vegan mayo, and it’s really easy to make yourself! I will put a few recipes for vegan mayo below. This dressing goes really well as a sauce on other sandwiches too, and tastes great with roasted artichokes and green salads. Enjoy!

Continue reading cucumber toast / the best dressing in the world

why i have trust issues with vegans

Recently(ish), I wrote about how primarily animal-centered activists and  primarily human-centered activists can and should be working together towards a future without oppression, violence, or systemic hierarchies and dichotomies. Despite the rampant racism, classism, and sexism in mainstream animal rights activism, I think that the principles underlying racial/gender/economic justice movements are present in some food justice and animal rights movements, and that those coalitions should be expanded.

I still believe that, but I want to provide a (semi-)topical example of someone who makes that kind of coalition-building difficult.  Casey Affleck, Oscar winner, (alleged) sexual harasser and assaulter, and vegan/animal rights activist, represents a lot of the problems with mainstream animal rights activism and food-based social movements.  It’s very hard for anti-racist and feminist activists to be open to food-based social movements that are truly progressive and radical when Casey Affleck and others like him continue to be the most public faces of veganism and animal rights activism.  Casey makes this particularly difficult, both because his activism is simplistic and oppressive and because of the interpersonal violence he himself has perpetrated. Continue reading why i have trust issues with vegans