Summer Break/Summer Reading

Wow, I need a break!

The blog will be on summer hiatus starting today until early September. I will pop in if anything controversial happens (which should be sooner than later) or if there’s something interesting I want to share. Otherwise, I’m cooling the keyboard.

I’m going to be busy this summer, but I hope to catch up on my summer reading. Last summer, I tried to read 3-4 books. I’m going to challenge myself again ;)

Speaking of books, rest in power to author Walter Dean Myers. His death was reported last night.  I used to love his books as a kid.  My favorite was “The Young Landlords.” I’m surprised some of his books haven’t been turned into movies. Oh wait, they are about black youth :O/ Myers will be missed.

Here are the books on my summer reading list.  I encourage folks to read along!

Wish me luck! And I wish y’all a fabulous summer!

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Photo from: http://www.healthyblackwoman.com

Black Girl In Suburbia/ Spent: Looking for Change

This past weekend I attended a showing of the documentary “Black Girl in Suburbia.” It’s a revolutionary film, in that, it focuses on a segment of the black population that tends to be ignored. The film features middle school to high school black girls.

“Black Girl In Suburbia is a feature documentary that looks into the experiences of black girls growing up in predominately white communities. This is a different look into suburbia from the perspective of women of color. This film explores through professional and personal interviews the conflict and issues black girls have relating to both white and black communities.” http://www.blackgirlinsuburbia.com/

Initially, I was skeptical of the film.  The host of the film stated, there were several people who were resistant to the film being shown. Perhaps the people who were against the film, thought it was going to be a bunch of middle class black folks moaning about how hard it is to be black. I know I did.

But the young girls/women who spoke on camera were diverse in their voices, identities, and experiences. I particularly liked their honesty when discussing issues of hair and dating as a black girl in predominately white communities.

“Black Girl…” is a unique film and one that I recommend. I look forward to more films from director Melissa Lowery.

Another thought-provoking film, was posted by ColorLines, a few days ago. “Spent: Looking for Change,” chronicles how many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Or check cashing loan to check cashing loan.

“Spent” is a rare look at the nearly 70 million Americans residing in households that either don’t have a regular checking account (unbanked) or that rely on a combination of traditional checking and alternative services like payday or check cashing loans to get by (underbanked).” http://colorlines.com/archives/2014/06/Paycheck_to_paycheck.html

I related a lot to this film. Despite having no children and being fairly educated,  I am part of the working poor. It’s bizarre because someone like myself should be living it up. However, I am constantly struggling.

Of course, things always tend to be worse for black folks. We are the last ones hired first ones fired. But really so many of us are suffering.

I’m shocked there hasn’t been anarchy yet, because things are getting worse not better.

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Walking Without Papers at ASU, The “New American University”

wocpdxzines:

The wave of the future…

Originally posted on tressiemc:

It has been an eventful news cycle for Arizona State University.

Last week they announced a partnership with Starbucks employee’s that went from press release to critical analysis in about 48 hours. I chimed in with a few thoughts on a public college extracting revenue from Starbucks employees. It turns out that the public university will invest more in the partnership than Starbucks, who can ostensibly afford it.

This week the university billing itself as the “New American University” is back in the news with a more personal story about class (and race and gender). ASU campus police arrested professor Ersula Ore for jaywalking on a campus street. You can watch the video here:

Folks are circulating petitions, expressing outrage and support. This being the Internet, more than a few folks are also making the case in support of the campus police. You’ll find plenty of questions and…

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Rage Against The Ratchet

Wow! I don’t know how I missed this one! “Rage Against the Ratchet” is movement started by songwriter/producer, Carvin Haggins.

“The word is ratchet. It’s a slang term, derogatory, for a person or activity that is considered distasteful. To Grammy award-winning songwriter and producer Carvin Haggins, the words demeaning, destructive, disrespectful, derogatory, defamation, and debauchery come to mind when defining it. He believes ratchet, or rather the world of bad values from which it arose, is taking over our airwaves.” http://articles.philly.com/2014-06-06/news/50362535_1_power-99-clear-channel-lyrics

I cracked up while watching Haggins promotional video for “Rage Against the Ratchet.” I laughed because you don’t realize how horrible current black music is, until you hear someone reading the lyrics out loud.

Haggins was a little problematic with his approach. I always side eye men who refer to women as “females.” Also, singling out women for singing along with the degrading music. It’s also not good for men to hear derogatory language used against women over and over again.  It’s probably why most have piss poor attitude towards women these days. Overall, I think he means well with his activism.

Look, we all have our guilty pleasures. The fact is, black music has always been a bit risqué. It’s why white folks thought we were/are less than animals (of course, while culture vulturing the whole time). Black folks have tended to be open-minded about sexuality being expressed in music. The problem is, as Haggins pointed out, there is a lack of balance in black music today. Particularly, what is being pushed to black youth.

After watching some clips from the BET Music Awards show last night, this movement is truly needed.  The music was terrible, the celebrities were wack, and hell there aren’t even good fashions anymore. It’s just disturbing all the way around what is being done to black music. It’s being destroyed to make way for great white hopes  (Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith, etc.)

Blah.

Summer Eats/Drinks #4

This last post on summer recipes is dedicated to my Uncle Bill. He passed away yesterday.

Uncle Bill was a cook for the military for over 30 years. He could do just about anything in the kitchen, but he could really throw down on some ribs.

He was a kind man and I will miss him.

Rest in Peace Uncle Bill :(

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I am not a health conscious person at all. I think folks should be able to eat what they want.  However, I know that’s not practical.  I guess we should incorporate fruits and vegetables into our meals, at some point :o/

I’m still working on “eating healthy” (blah). I found this smoothie recipe in a local paper. I Googled and I guess this drink is popular with health folks, which ain’t me.

It seems like a fun drink to try this summer though  ;)

Purple Monster Fruit Smoothie

Ingredients: 2 frozen bananas, skins removed and cut in chucks, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon honey (optional), and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional).

*You can substitute the orange juice with any mix of juices or even soy milk. The soy milk adds more of a milk shake quality than the juice does.*

Directions: Place bananas, blueberries and juice in a blender, puree. Use honey and/or vanilla to taste. Use more or less liquid depending on the thickness you want for your smoothie.

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Summer Eats/Drinks #3

I got a little misty eyed when I heard B. Smith was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“Smith, 64, began her career as a model and was one of the first African Americans to grace the cover of Mademoiselle…She went on to become a pioneer in the lifestyle area, an expert in food and home entertaining. Around four years ago, Smith noticed that she was repeating herself and forgetting things.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2014/06/06/b-smith-reveals-she-has-alzheimers/10056007/

B. Smith is such a classy woman.

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I have never understood why she wasn’t more popular with mainstream audiences. I mean if I know the names of racist Paula Deen and foul-mouthed Gordon Ramesy (he does crack me the %^&*! up),  folks should know more about B. Smith.

Smith hosts the show “B. Smith With Style” on the Food Network. She has also appeared on several TV shows.

  Check out her teaching  Al Roker how to make different styles of grits dishes. A summer must have :)

Summer Eats/Drinks #2

I am a mover.

I have lived in various cities and in various apartments.  I have had to purge a lot of stuff along the way. I am a huge reader, so I have found myself donating tons of books.

One book that I have not been able to part with, throughout my moves, is a cookbook given to me by a friend.  The book is called “Family of the Spirit Cookbook: Recipes and Remembrances from African American Kitchens,” by John PinderHughes.

The book is filled with fabulous recipes that I dream about making one day. Besides heartwarming stories of family meal times, the book explores the ways black folks cook food, across different regions. When we think about African-American dishes/soul food, we tend to think about the Deep South. Places like Louisiana or Arkansas.

However, this book shows that black folks can also throw down from Kansas to Panama City.

The dish I’m sharing, is popular in Maryland.

“Family of the Spirit…” is a great book for trying out some cultural recipes (with a twist) this summer ;)

Gum Gum’s Crab Cakes

Ingredients: 1 pound lump or backfin crab meat, 1 small onion (finely minced), 2 tablespoons bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 egg (lightly beaten), 4 tablespoons mayonnaise,  flour for dusting,  and bacon fat or vegetable oil.

Directions: Pick the crab meat, removing all shell and hard pieces but being careful not to break up the crab meat too much. In a bowl mix together the crab meat, minced onion, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, mustard, egg, and mayonnaise. Fold lightly in your hand,making sure not to compress the cake too much. The crab cake should just hold together. Sprinkle with flour and fry slowly in back fat or light vegetable oil until golden brown (pg. 51).

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Lump Crab Cake

Summer Eats/Drinks #1

As y’all know, I love collecting recipes. Whether I actually get around to making the yummy treats, is another thing.  Like most folks these days, I am on the go.  However, I am going to make an effort to kick out a dish or two.  This past Saturday marked the first official day of summer. What better time to try out fun recipes for upcoming late night socials, BBQs, etc.

This week I am dedicating the blog to some of the recipes I have collected. Get ready to grub!   ;)

Besides collecting recipes, I also enjoy watching the Food Network.  I don’t have cable, so I have to catch up on the latest episodes on Hulu. The thing I have noticed about these shows, is the lack of Black women on them. Particularly, food competitions. The Black women contenders are usually weeded out during auditions. If they do make it through, they are shown as incompetent or the angry black woman stereotype.

This fascinates me, because the majority of black women I know are creative in the kitchen.  I think about my mom, grandmas, and aunties who could throw a meal together in a minute. Also, this country exploited the African woman’s knowledge of cooking, baking, and spices during slavery. It was the hard labor of black women that kept white families feed, at the expense of their own families.

It’s bizarre we are shown not even knowing how to handle a fork.

The fact these shows don’t feature many black women, is why I love finding blogs where black women are displaying their culinary skills.  One of my favorite black women food bloggers, actually focuses on cocktails. Whiskeysoaked is a mouth-watering inducing blog:

“Whiskeysoaked is everything you want to know about whiskey in one place. Here you’ll find whiskey reviews, cocktail recipes and other fun things.” http://whiskeysoaked.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/hello-world/

The blogger has started to make videos of the cocktails she mixes up. Check out this video where she makes a delicious Lavender Whiskey Sour.

  A great drink to put on your summer recipe list (if you grown)  :)