Monday, April 06, 2009
Last year, I attended a "Food and Justice" symposium at Syracuse University. There, I got to hear scholars, writers, food activists, and people from all kinds of backgrounds discuss the intersections of food and justice. There was so much to think about- the availability of fresh produce. Fair prices for small farmers. The cost of organic foods. The best way to get food into the hands of those who need it. Preserving heirloom seeds and varieties. Food education. Nutrition. Politics. In short, it was a bit overwhelming!
Bryant Terry is a chef and activist who is deeply involved in all these same issues. As he says in his book, the best way to engage with people on some of the deepest ethical and philosophical issues is through grub. Good, delicious, simple GRUB. The way to our hearts and minds is through our stomachs after all! I think most of us who blog understand this on a deep level- every time we talk about a delicious organic strawberry or some local asparagus or a vegan dessert, we are appealing to the appetite, but also appealing to a shared sense that there is a better way to eat.
I received a review copy of Terry's second book, Vegan Soul Kitchen, which gives us plenty of ways to eat better- better for our bodies, for the animals, for the earth, and for the producers of sustainable food. In this book, he gives traditional African-American and soul food recipes that are not only vegan, but also based on a whole foods philosophy. You won't find processed or packaged foods here, but you will find plenty of deliciousness.
Case in point, his recipe for Roasted Plantains with Roasted Garlic Lime Dipping Sauce. While this dish is meant as an appetizer, it fed the two of us (along with some tofu and couscous) as dinner tonight. The plantains came out crispy and savory, while the dipping sauce was brimming with fresh and tart flavors, a perfect counterpart. I can't wait to cook more with this book, especially as summer's abundant local produce comes in. Bryant Terry is a man after my own heart- there is a whole section of the book dedicated to watermelon! Get this book if you want to give fresh, local, and seasonal food a twist- who knows, you might change a few hearts and minds along the way.