Saved By Soul Food

Black eyed peas

 

color week :: yellow

 

On Friday I found myself sitting in Borders, self-comforting with 3 stacks of craft books, cook books & blogging books.  I love all three.  And I've been feeling totally burnt-out on all three for awhile now.  Some of you noticed my little project on the right, there, The Totally Organized (gluten) Free Lifestyle Kit.  Except, it wasn't a little project.  D & I have been wanting to simplify for a long time, to downsize enough for life to slow down so we could only take on businesses that were really aligned with our values.  Enter the economy, "setting a new stage" for nearly all of us. The Spring brought the perfect chance to create a marketable version of our kits.  I thought these up years ago, when I was just trying to manage keeping a home, & having a hard time working it into everything else I love.  

 

Vegansoulfood017

 

Eventually these "Homemaking 101" kits became gluten-free-specific.  Friends got word & we've been making small batches of them since last Fall.  We put out a  test site & it turned out that folks wanted & needed them much sooner than we could bust them out.  Even though I've felt strongly for myself that required diets can be a strain on a marriage & a family, it was moving to see how real this is for others.  And the hope of an easier way.  Even more, my biggest wish is to help others do what they do, to help them get the blocks out of the way.  And the GF diet is important because it has people talking about healing themselves through diet.  If anything can save the world, it's that conversation.  So from April to September, I've been working on it 'round the clock, writing, cooking, testing, shopping, calling, editing.  I've missed my kids.  I've been really tired.  And really tired of cooking, blogging & crafting.  Actually, not crafting.  Tired of wanting to craft.  A lot's been put on hold.

 

I picked up BT's book, which I already owned, for a little inspiration.  A word on B.  When we first met I felt like I already knew him.  He carried himself similarly to my brothers, Elrik & Alvin.  Like, when he walks into a room, everyone looks up because love just walked in.  On purpose & low key, B was wearing a bright green polo shirt with a charcoal tweed fedora!  I'd have worn that if I owned it.  He talked about his Green & Black fund, & that he's Green (being an award-winning Environmental + Food Justice Activist) & Black.  And he had just published his now best-selling book, GRUB, Recipes for an Urban Organic Kitchen.  Nuff said.

 

Greens

 

B taught me to let go of the diet titles (I was an organic vegetarian) & to eat what my body needs while still upholding my ethical values.  He cooked our crew veggies, then.  I was 7 months pregnant with Free.  2 years later our family was in West Virginia where I was co-facilitating a Leveraging Privilege for Social Change Jam.  B was heading up the kitchen & I was secretly pregnant. B took a special day trip to find me local, natural free-range lamb.

 

File condiments

 

As I thumbed through his book I began to well-up - look at what he's doing!  I called him up right there.  He was at some conference in some far-away state.  He was on his 75th event for the book since it came out this year.  I've been in "mama-mode" for so long, I've forgotten that it takes major work to shift things.

 

Fritter process

Cocodrops

 

"B, I don't want to market.  I'm an artist.  I just want to make a difference.  And cook."

 

He stepped outside & dictated a prescription from his latest cookbook, VEGAN SOUL KITCHEN.  

 

I began with the Simple Stock on Saturday.  And yesterday I cooked from dawn 'till dusk.  It was too dark to take a picture by the time I finished, so I'll do that at lunch, & I'll put together a couple of recipes.  But this is what he said:

 

"Gumbo Z.  All those comforting greens & that warm-gravy thing going on.  Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Hot Pepper Sauce.  You'll love that.  And Sweet Cornmeal-Coconut  Butter Drop Biscuits."  

 

There's friends.  And then there's life lines.  

 

Thanks Bryant.  Mom's don't need food that's transformational.  They need food that's transporting. So they can come back to their families, as a full & overflowing cup.

 

Bt + me yes05018

 

Bryant & I in 2005.  I'm 7 months pregnant with Free.  B suggested our Jam take a silent hike through Petaluma's golden hills.