Labor’s spring fruit

It’s so rarely that I mashup my labor and food loves. But this summer I got to explore so many fruity extended metaphors while writing on #redfored and austerity for Dilattante Army.

Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover famously called Americans who opposed the 1936 overthrowing of the democratically elected government of Spain [8] It wasn’t until 1940, when the US entered the war against Germany, Italy, and Japan (which backed and enabled the Spanish fascist coup), that the antifascism was “on time.”

Similarly, it’s worth pointing out that the national media was much less sympathetic to the visuals of Chicagoans of all races, led by a Black chemistry teacher, opposing Emmanuel’s policy than they were to later visuals from so-called Trump Country. We might call the Chicagoans, pace Hoover, “premature anti-austerians,” winter citrus, sour flesh bound in bitter skin, back in the halcyon days before the 2016 election.

Read it — and the rest of the fabulous issue — here.


Cupcake City

How would you represent your hometown with a specific cupcake and flavor of frosting?

For the first-ever Restaurant Worker Olympics, eight teams from across the US took the challenge — but only one could snatch the gold. Read my piece in the current Brooklyn Rail to find out who won, and how ROC activists are working to win restaurant worker justice in cities across the US.

In defense of dessert polyamory

It’s Spring. Well, here in Baltimore, it’s almost Spring-like. The blooming trees and occasional warm day have me contemplating spring cleaning. (Contemplating allows me to put off completing it.) You can wash your windows, winnow your facebook friends list to people you actually know, purge those piles of paper. And you can toss last year’s recipes and food ideas to make way for this year’s trends.

For example, NPR claimed that this year, cupcakes would be dethroned by pie. Pie is the new trophy dessert. Cupcakes, well, thanks for your service. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

I find this ungrateful. Shouldn’t we have some residual loyalty to cupcakes?  Cupcakes got me through ugly breakups, cupcakes were there the night my husband and I had our first kiss. They were there at our wedding. They got us through law school.

But I understand. Sometimes you get an urge for something, well, a little different. Maybe even a little fruitier. And, oh, I do love pie. I baked a pie a week in an unairconditioned New York City apartment last summer. That’s a lot of love.

Luckily, there is a Big Love solution to this problem. There’s no need to be monogamous with dessert. We don’t need to divorce cupcakes to declare our devotion to pie. And then we can embrace whichever crazy food fad comes next. With toast having its moment, I think ambrosia is due for a comeback.

These cupcakes were made to celebrate an old friend’s new baby. Cupcakes might be soooo last year, but only cupcakes, we thought, would do. The menu wasn’t all stale and dated — we had plenty of vegetables, too, and NPR also says that veggies are the new pork. We kept the veggies to the party theme — baby potatoes, baby zucchini, tiny tomatoes, spring asparagus. I even put my culinary training to work and hand-made the hollandaise.  But the cupcakes, drama queens that they are, stole the show.

Photo by Marie Zemler Wu

Happy (or whatever) Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day. Hope it brings you some sugar, however you like it best. I like it best raw, and I do adore a boozy application. Inspired by my travels (I’m in India), my upcoming reading, and my post today about my true story on the blog for the charity anthology Oil and Water…And Other Things That Don’t Mix, here’s a recipe, of sorts:

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Go to an Indian, Bangladeshi or Pakistani store. Buy a good chunk of jaggery and those pretty, candy-coated fennel seeds. Gouge off a 1/4” or so chunk of jaggery for each portion. (Optional: drip a drop or two of Angostura bitters, or orange flower water, on the sugar. Or top with citrus zest. You want a little bitter, it is Valentine’s Day after all.) Place one chunk at the bottom of each flute, jelly jar, flower vase, dixie cup or whatever it is you drink your bubbly from. Drop in a couple of candy-coated fennel seeds, for color, for fun. Top with whatever bubbly you’ve got in the fridge – I’m partial to ten-dollar Prosecco or Cava. Or, if you’re not drinking alcohol, you can use sparkling apple cider but it will be sweeter, so up the bitters or zest. Clink glasses with a good friend. (Optional: Make eye contact and a toast!)

Note: pairs well with sugar cookies (either these with cardamom or these made with oil). What can I say? I do love a theme.


This post made possible by Martha (inspiration) and Cole (consult on bubbly). Cheers!