Bakers, pre-heat your ovens. On Monday, June 15th at 2 pm, Bakers Against Racism launches pre-sales. The brain child of pastry chefs Paola Velez, Willa Lou Pelini, and chef Rob Rubba, the virtual worldwide bake sale has prompted the participation of thousands of bakers spanning 15 countries and upwards of 170 U.S. cities. Proceeds from the bake sale will support charities promoting racial justice. I have chosen to support the following charities:
Until Freedom, a charity working towards criminal justice reform, gun violence prevention, immigrant rights, and cultural engagement.
Facing History and Ourselves, focusing on education by encouraging students to explore the complexities of history while making connections to contemporary issues.
A few timely thoughts…
Working professionally in the food industry since college and writing about it on a weekly platform since 2013 has been a labor of love. Anyone familiar with my history knows that I often talk about my baking mentor, Jessie. Writing about Jessie is always a delicate dance because it reeks of privilege. I can only tell you that it was a privilege being raised in a family where Jewish culture and Black culture overlapped in the kitchen, resulting in a passion for cooking and baking, and ultimately impacting my career path. Jessie taught me many things other than how to bake a pie. She instilled in me the fact that food brings people together.
I have worked in all kinds of kitchens, sometimes as the sole female alongside fast- talking, four-letter-word slinging line cooks. I have been the boss and I have also been the dishwasher.
Have I been lucky? You bet. Privileged? Undoubtedly. But have I done enough with my privilege? Hardly. With more leanings towards pound cake than chest pounding, my involvement in politics spanned a single term. Serving as President of the high school French club, it was rumored that my win was tethered to the mousse au chocolat I prepared for our club dinner.
My bookshelves have always been crammed full of books authored by a variety of kitchen champions. Now more than ever, the storytellers and wordsmiths on those shelves deserve attention. Edna Lewis, Michael Twitty, James Porterfield, and Molly O’Neill have much to say about food history, transporting us to sleepy corners of America, introducing us to highly touted African American chefs and also quiet home cooks.
The reality is I will never say enough or do enough or bake enough to dramatically impact a divided world. However, in creating something that longs to be shared, I attempt to bring people together, to encourage conversation. It’s a start.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm