Early 1960s America and Nietta Dunn defies Jim Crow laws by sitting at the H. Green lunch counter in downtown Lexington. African-Americans may buy food, but they may not sit at the counter. Here’s the thing, food doesn’t work well with fear and hate–not when planting, not when harvesting, not when cooking, and especially not when drinking and eating. Food doesn’t work well with racism–not when sharing the bounty of the earth with all those who till its fields and tend its pots. Recipes ignore color, race and religion as they assemble goods from around the world and mix them together in an amazing metaphysical conjuring of wonderful tastes. Recipes do not stop at borders. Recipes ignore walls. Recipes seek comfort and community. Recipes nourish those fleeing persecution. Recipes feed all regardless of citizenship and regardless of income.
So when I read about new racist ads launched by Trump and the GOP, I become nauseous. I note the 1964 presidential election when Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson agreed not to use race as a rallying cry for either side, which however began the wave of segregationists from the The Democratic Party moving to the Republican Party as the work of Rosa Parks, the Little Rock Nine, students at the Woolworth’s Lunch Counter, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr. and others brought civil rights legislation to the Johnson White House, and I consider how race has shaped elections ever since, especially as the GOP became the party of white reactionary protest. Meetings between Richard Nixon and Strom Thurmond with the creation of a “Southern Strategy” and “Silent Majority” (note the picture above for its 2018 incarnation) and the use of racist terminology to influence the 1968 and 1972 election began to poison the American Body Electorate. With the infamous “Willie Horton” ads of the 1988 Bush campaign designed by Lee Atwater along with Roger Ailes of the Nixon White House and Fox News which scores ratings constantly pedaling fear and hate to white voters, most recently with Laura Ingraham’s racist words on who and who does not belong in America, and with the very recent lethal attacks on African and Jewish-Americans, this American Body Electorate now rages in delusion and fever. I look back across the ocean at my country encouraged and armed to carry out fearful and hateful attacks based on race and religion, and see disease and sickness of the mind as dangerous as unhealthy diets, lack of fitness and inadequate healthcare for the body. I look back and see an ill and bed-ridden democracy.
So, I’ll repeat. Food doesn’t work well with fear and hate–not when planting, not when harvesting, not when cooking, and especially not when drinking and eating. Food doesn’t work well with racism–not when sharing the bounty of the earth with all those who till its fields and tend its pots. Recipes ignore color, race and religion as they assemble goods from around the world and mix them together in an amazing metaphysical conjuring of wonderful tastes. Recipes do not stop at borders. Recipes ignore walls. Recipes seek comfort and community. Recipes nourish those fleeing persecution. Recipes feed all regardless of citizenship and regardless of income. So vote. Walk in solidarity with those oppressed. And when you cook, note the recipes, note the food traditions, note how the meal you prepare bubbles in ovens around the world, crafted by hands not necessarily the same color as yours, eaten by mouths offering prayers not necessarily of your god. And you may always ask yourself, what would Anthony Bourdain do when faced with different cultures, different faces? That’s right, sit the fuck down, talk and eat.
Consider the cosmopolitan, humble, multicultural Onion Pie and a recipe offered by Minfarm.se and their Lokala Matkassen delivering local food from around Stockholm–similar to Farmhouse Delivery which we used in Houston. They’ve included all the ingredients with the recipe, so let’s begin. Pies appear in the Egyptian Neolithic period as crusty, flat cakes made from a variety of grains and featuring honey inside. Characters in Aristophanes’ comedies constantly eat sweet pies, blackbirds fly out of Tudor England pies, while Pilgrims and other early settlers brought pie recipes to various Native North American tribes such as the Wampanoag who enhanced Old World pie recipes with local berries and fruits. Certainly Tarte a L’Oignon stars in French cuisine, however root vegetables in dough also sustained working classes (particularly working in the manufacturing, mining and steel industries) in Northern England. English, Scottish and Welsh cuisine revels in cheese and onion pies.
Råberga Organic wheat flour and Wapnö Gård farm-made butter. I measure out a couple cups of flour, knead in soft butter, drop in several tablespoons of cold water, knead and knead, rubbing hands with olive oil, and then kneading and kneading until I have a ball of dough I spread out in a pie dish and prick with a fork.
I set the pie dough in the freezer and then it’s on to red onions and tears.
I slice six red onions from Mellansvenska Odlare and place them in bowl with a pour of apple-cider vinegar.
I sauté the purpling slivers in oil until soft and sweet, remove, and then break down half a head of cauliflower from Svenska Odlarlaget and slightly brown in the same pan.
While finishing up with the cauliflower, I take out the pie and let it reach room temperature. Now I fill and move onto eggs and more.
I break then whisk three eggs from Pullans Hönseri,
adding half a cup of sour cream from Tvetalund Lantbruk, many thyme leaves from Thorslunda Gård, and our own salt and pepper.
All stirred together in a bowl.
This delicious liquid finds itself poured over onion and cauliflower and then topped with slices of Skogsbackens ost with a mild, creamy, nutty taste.
The oven warms and cooks and rocks at 225 C, that’s over 400 F, so after a half hour, the pie becomes its browned and melty self.
Quite an earthy, savory and sweet aroma in the house. Time to plate.
Gabriela prepares a salad with greens, walnuts and a Strawberry/Garlic Vinaigrette. Delicious, but what of the wine? Yes, from Systembolaget a Grande Nuit from Fortant vineyards. What a find! Jammy up front with spice, oak and a weight to its body. A drink of this delights with the earthiness of the pie and acidity of the salad.
To review: fear and hate build up overwhelming amounts of acid and bitterness leaving a bad taste in the mouth, food pairs well with people and recipes from around the world, and finally, let’s get back to this. Bon Appétit!