So, yeah. What he said. Good morning — and happy Monday!
I don’t remember my dreams last night. I do remember that at one point this weekend I was dreaming about my sister and her boyfriend and we were in a library (the library of a university that I have visited a bunch of times during dreams), and then later I was off on my own in the library, heading for the HQs, while my sister and her boyfriend found us a table. There, just before the HQs, was a certain movie star, looking for something, or having found it, and talking with me about why he was in that section of the library. It was a little odd that this movie star was in my dreams, until I was telling Fresh! about the dream later, and I said his name (Michael Cera), and I heard the pun there — I thought about Lacan, about the subconscious as a language, about the metaphors and puns and slips of Real in through our every day speech. Maybe the whole dream was about me and my sister (Sarah).
I’m thinking today, as I hustle from warm bed to shower to bus, with this short interlude at the blog, about rice and beans.
Back before I became vegetarian for a few years (when I was in my early 30s), I didn’t eat beans, except maybe in altered forms: tofu, red bean paste, hummus. But beans that looked like beans, not all that much. But I realized that if I was going to be even a remotely successful vegetarian, I’d pretty much have to eat beans. (And eggplant, which I wasn’t all that fond of either.)
I’d maybe recently discovered (and fallen in love with) Ethiopian cuisine, with the lentil wots — and, ok, I ate rice and beans when I went out for Mexican food, either as refritos or as whole frijoles in my tacos or burritos.
My decision to become vegetarian arose out of pure hopelessness — we humans were (are) killing the planet, we were (are) decimating other species and thought nothing of it. I was working at the time for a battered women’s organization in southern Maine, and deepened my education in patriarchal violence –and also learned about women’s power and control with and over other women, and unlearned the myth that women’s space is necessarily safer space for women. Women using power and control challenged the traditional strictly-sexism-based model of domestic violence; the anti-DV movement as a whole didn’t want to have to deal with that issue: too messy. I started working with LGBT survivors, and I was quickly determining that there was no safe place, anywhere, at all: no place safe from human violence.
Sitting in the Big Box Bookstore at the Maine Mall where I made my writing-home for much of the time I lived in Maine, I flipped through cookbooks, and came across The World in Your Kitchen, from New Internationalist Press, which not only had amazing, diverse vegetarian recipes from all over the world (so different from the complementary protein loaves I’d though maybe I’d have to resign myself to if I actually wanted to commit to vegetarianism), but also included a good deal of politics in the introductory sections, and included a description of the amounts of soy grown all over the world and shipped off to feed cattle — vast amounts of protein grown, often by starving folks, and then shipped away (and consider the energy required to accomplish that) and fed to animals instead of humans.
This flipped a switch in me: OK. Maybe I couldn’t save my mother. Maybe I couldn’t change all these men who somehow found time in their work schedules (or, maybe, got grants from father’s rights organizations) to spend entire months stalking their girlfriends or wives without once actually technically violating their restraining orders. Maybe I wasn’t going to change the core group of the women I worked with at this agency who were determined not to own up to their own misuse of power and control over other women, particularly women of color. But I could decide what I put into my body. I could decide where my money went. I could take one small step that helped me feel more sane.
And I learned a lot about beans and rice, about legumes (beans, peas) and grains and how those form the basis for most of our indigenous human cuisines. Dhals and wots and tofu n rice, groundnuts n samp, chickpeas n couscous, peanut butter n bread: whole proteins to get you working and well through the day.
Right now, I’m perfecting the preparation of brown-rice-n-peas, Jamaican style (at the request of my spouse, who came up West Indian): brown rice n kidney beans n coconut milk n some onion n hot pepper n thyme. That’s it. So good. And we’ve just received a crock-pot from my mom as a housewarming gift — vegetarian feijoada, here we come
What’s your favorite combo of legume n grain?