Food always makes people feel better. It also brings people together, which is the primary reason why I love eating so much. I’ve spent the past week making a lot of food, doing a lot of thinking, and talking to people that I care deeply for, trying to understand how our nation ended up where it has. I’ve heard a great number of people give me their dramatically different opinions about the situation, many of them giving deeply emotional accounts of why they voted for one person over the other. This has been incredibly eye-opening, and I’m thankful for everyone who was willing to open up to me, even though it wasn’t always easy.
What I have come to realize is that it’s not as simple as left or right, yes or no, black or white. What the results of the election do not mean are a lot of things: 1) they do not mean that the world is full of hate, 2) they do not mean that everyone who voted for Donald Trump is a _______ (insert uninformed insult here), and 3) they do not mean that we should give up fighting for what we believe in.
One of the biggest messages that I’ve received is that people wholeheartedly do not like to feel stupid, and a lot of people were made to feel like idiots during this election season. It’s been made very clear to me that many people do not realize that their words or actions may, in fact, be construed as misogynistic, racist, homophobic, or bigoted. Their experiences have taught them to behave in a certain way, and they are generally not exposed to cultures or religions outside of where they are from. This is something that I can see in myself, growing up in a rural town. This does not make someone a bad person, nor does it mean that they are stupid for what they don’t understand about the world. And saying that someone “doesn’t know any better” isn’t my excuse for them to behave in a certain way, but it is true that when it comes to something, for example, like religious intolerance, many people have only been exposed to one religion: Christianity. What is being captured in the news regarding other religions is what shapes their opinions and without being exposed to anything different either through formal education or through their experiences, what are they left to feel about religions other than their own? Of course, everyone can educate themselves on anything they choose (we all have the internet), but realistically, no one says, “Hmmm, I think I’m going to pick up world religions as a study in my free time.” The world is full of these completely murky gray areas; we will never live in a black and white world. And the gray areas are super scary places to be.
To get back to the point, right now, I am of the firm belief that the single most important thing that any one person can do is listen to someone who thinks differently than you do. Listen to each other with an open heart, and do not respond with negativity or contrary statements, maybe choose not to respond at all. Just listen to each other and hear the words that are being spoken. Look for understanding, reach for wisdom, and search for love.
So if you know someone who might be in this situation, someone who might not fully understand the consequences of the election, please don’t criticize them or call them stupid or treat them as though they have done something wrong because it’s not as simple as that. Not to mention, that we are all humans and deserve to be treated with respect. Talk to them, listen to them, and hear them. Then consider how we might start to create a world where everyone is more knowledgeable, understanding, and kind to each other, because ultimately, that’s what we’re all striving for. And keep on with your peaceful protests and petition signing because I believe that stuff is totally good for our world too (please stop burning the American flag, though… that’s not helpful to anyone).*
I swear to goodness I also made a soup. And it happened to be vegan and delicious and inspired by a Moosewood recipe that I love. Also, everyone should keep eating good food and gathering with good people. It makes us all feel better, especially given the uncertainty of the future.
2 1/2 lbs carrots
2 medium onions
2 large cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp dried mint
2 tbsp grated ginger
5 cups vegetable stock
juice of one lemon
roasted peanuts (optional)
yogurt or labneh (optional)
- Preheat oven 425F. Cut carrots into 3-4 inch long slivers, quarter onions, and peel garlic cloves. Toss in 2 tbsp olive oil and salt. Place in baking dish and roast for 45 min to an hour, stirring every 20 minutes. When onions and garlic are roasted and carrots are soft, remove from oven.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in soup pot, add spices until aromatic (about 1 minute), then add the roasted vegetables and ginger. Saute for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to combine. Stir in lemon juice.
- Place all ingredients in blender, add enough stock to cover the vegetables, then blend until smooth. Return pureed soup to stock pot, add remaining vegetable stock, and re-heat.
- Serve soup hot with a dollop of yogurt, some crushed, roasted peanuts, and a giant helping of love.