The rainbow presents a symbol of happiness, luck, joy, pride and health in my world. Rainbows cause people to stop, appreciate and share joy. I rarely see people frowning in the face of a rainbow. It is the perfect symbol for pride as each color on its own is unique, but together it is beautiful, diverse and harmonious. That is the human race no matter what our skin color, sexual orientation, gender or religion. On a plate, eating a rainbow of colors in our food not only stimulates the appetite by tantalizing the eyes, but provides our bodies with the nutrients that are needed. For the month of March, the conversation focused on LGBTQ. But rather than focus on LGBTQ rights were the conversation is often centered, we talked about the issues that the communities face that we don’t often talk about such as poverty, suicide, homelessness, violence, racial/cultural issues (think Moonlight or cultures like Asian or Latino cultures). We feasted on food that was crafted to honor two different concepts : the rainbow as a symbol of pride but also to take a food and make it different – show that what it is on the surface may not be what it is on the inside or try it in a new way. People like food can surprise you, so do not be scared of that which is different from you, you may like it in the end. Eat your colors. Celebrate pride.
Farewell President Obama. Tonight’s dinner honors you with a savory pumpkin parmesan souffle, veggie chili with skillet corn bread, and poached fig, goat cheese and arugula dessert pizza.
Thursday, Jan 19, 2017 was the last day Barack Obama served a full day in office as President of the United States after eight years of tireless service. On Monday, Jan 16 we honored Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday. On Friday, Jan 20, we inaugurated a divisive, racist, bigoted, unpredictable, narcissistic, compulsive liar as president.
To honor President Obama and MLK, and my commitment to not normalizing hate, we held the inaugural dinner of Food and Fundamental Rights. The idea was to create something new and something unusual out of that which we know and to form community and a safe space. We would not normalize. We will not tolerate intolerance. We will not divide.
We will discuss politics and difficult topics over dinner.
This is not normal.
We must not normalize.
We must resist the oppression of American progress and American freedom.
We must create and express ourselves.
My art is food.
You are cordially invited to read about my dinner party series that will hopefully take you out of your comfort zone and leave you uncomfortably alive, awake and un-normalized.
Food is the vehicle to gather us together, to give us energy, to awaken our senses – to keep us comfortable and nourished during real conversation. Together we will build community – a safe space to dig deep.
Inspired by the Nigerian Chef Tunde Wey’s pop-up “Blackness in America” the dinner is designed to help us embrace discomfort in a comforting environment.
We will be uncomfortable but we must not remain uncomfortably numb. In one of my many forms of protest, I will create my art through food and conversation in the form of a dinner parties throughout the year. Not to problem solve – no dinner party will solve the problems of America – but to talk, interact, dig deep and create community. Strangers. Friends. People who would not normally come together all coming together on the right side of history. For me, this is a small act we can take to better understand varying perspectives and not normalize.
And I must start this today.
Today, Friday January 20, 2017 is one of the most uncomfortable days in my personal history – watching one of the men I most respect, a man of color who has worked hard for everything he has achieved who lives his life in service of others turn over the greatest power to a man who has been handed everything on a golden platter and lives in service of himself at the cost of others. I watched one of the most eloquent educated and respectable presidents turn the keys of the white house over to a deplorable person.
I watched the country that has moved 2 steps forward take 5 steps back as minutes after the inauguration the new administration deleted the pages on LGBT rights, civil rights, environmental protection and healthcare. Not only that one of the first moves was to update his Twitter account and steal the image of the 2009 election…because frankly people did not feel inspired enough to show up for the inauguration in 2017. I did not feed into the media and watch the inauguration, but reports suggest it was the speech not of an American president but that of a fascist (ummm, Hitler anyone?) and the words of Bane from the Dark Knight Rises.
But I am emboldened. I will not stay silent in the face of injustice, intolerance, and oppression.
Join me in my journey.