The Revolution Will Not Go Hungry
Sustain the people’s resistance with home-cooked meals
At this year's Texas Book Festival, Julia Turshen stood south of the state Capitol, where over 100,000 had gathered for the women's march less than 10 months ago. The esteemed cookbook author chose Austin as one of the stops on a five-city tour to promote Feed the Resistance, her new book which is equal parts community-focused cookbook and guide to resisting political oppression. Turshen spoke to an engaged audience before demonstrating three different recipes and signing copies.
"The book was born out of momentum from the most recent presidential election," said Turshen. "Eager to contribute something positive and productive to the conversation, I thought the best way to use my skills as a cookbook author would be to create a book quickly that would give readers ideas for ways to better their communities. Food allows us to understand each other, connect with each other, and care for each other."
Over 20 chefs and activists contributed essays and recipes to the book, which is split into three sections: Easy Meals for Folks Who Are Too Busy Resisting to Cook, Feeding the Masses: Food for Crowds, and Baked Goods + Portable Snacks. In the introduction, Turshen explains how she began attending Citizen Action of New York meetings with her wife, and was put in charge of leading a food team to provide home-cooked meals to nourish the activists who attended each meeting.
"On the most basic level, resistance, just like any other active thing, needs to be fed in order to sustain," writes Turshen. "To think deeply about food is to also think deeply about the environment, the economy, immigration, education, community, culture, families, race, gender, and identity. Food is about people, all people. It is the most democratic thing in the world – lowercase 'd' – and affects all of us."
The recipes include an easy Greek chickpea salad (perfect for lunch breaks spent getting in touch with your state representatives, Turshen points out) and comforting, crowd-friendly collards and coconut grits from the founder of JUSTUS Kitchen and the People's Kitchen Collective (two community-building programs based in Oakland). There are also recipes for "persistence biscuits" and oatmeal apple squares designed to sustain the mobile masses.
The book also features essays on topics like ground rules to organized activism, how food can help end recidivism, and inspiring tips on how to contribute toward environmental and social justice in less than 10 minutes each day. "I'm especially happy that all of the book's proceeds will go the ACLU so purchasing the book in and of itself supports the protection of civil liberties," says Turshen.
During her visit, Turshen promoted another cookbook project – this one intrinsically linked to Austin – and spoke with Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman (both of McGuire-Moorman Hospitality, which also oversees spots like June's, Perla's, and Lamberts) about the brand-new Elizabeth Street Cafe cookbook she just wrote with the restaurateurs. The book – from the influential Phaidon Press – features recipes that cover the breadth of the South Austin restaurant's revered Vietnamese cafe/French bakery menu, with vibrant photos from Evan Sung. There's a list of some of the many flavor combinations baked into their famed macarons, along with blueprints for re-creating items like their bánh mì and Green Jungle Curry Noodles.
"I love Austin and am always so happy to visit," said Turshen. "I'm especially drawn to any community that embraces 'weirdness' and celebrates everyone's individuality."
Feed the Resistance: Recipes + Ideas for Getting Involvedby Julia Turshen
Chronicle Books, 143 pp., $14.95
Elizabeth Street Cafeby Tom Moorman, Larry McGuire, Julia Turshen
Phaidon Press, 240 pp., $39.95