It has been a busy couple of weeks around our house. Perhaps you noticed (or maybe you didn’t) that I skipped this post last Friday. After a pretty mild winter, we finally got a few good snowstorms, which meant the kids also had a few good days off from school. This didn’t leave much writing time for me. We did, however, spend lots of time in the kitchen. Maybe it was because of how few snow days we’ve had this year, or because it was so close to Valentine’s Day, or maybe we just really like our carbs, but we went a little crazy with the baking projects. We made Valentine’s everything…heart shaped pretzels, pink frosted cupcakes with red and white sprinkles, sweet and gooey sourdough cinnamon bread…definitely over the top, but so much fun.
Sadly, the flip side of being stuck in the house is that we also spent way too much time this week listening to endless media reports on the rapid changes happening in our country. As the president continues to surround himself with advisors that I find repugnant, I console myself by focusing on the stories of protesters and those brave enough to fight for what they believe in…and with far too many pink frosted cupcakes. Oy!
So, my first star this week, without question, goes to making good food and incredible memories with my kids in the kitchen. We have a new favorite pretzel recipe that actually comes from Highlights magazine (yes, the favorite of doctors’ offices everywhere). It is meant for cooking with kids, of course, so the dough is very forgiving (even after being tortured by an over-excited 3-year-old who thinks it is waaay more fun than playdoh), doesn’t require you to go to the trouble of boiling them, and still turns out pretty yummy pretzels.
My second star goes to the many restaurants and food industries that are protesting Trump’s policies on immigration and closed their doors in support of “the day without immigrants”. From celebrity chef owned restaurants to small local businesses (including here in my hometown of Stamford, CT), restaurant workers are demonstrating to the public what our country would look like without immigrant labor. They are wisely and bravely demanding that Trump, and all Americans, take notice of how much immigrant labor contributes to the efficiency and quality of our food systems, and how badly we are in need of immigration reform. This is particularly poignant in the restaurant business, where 1 in 4 workers are foreign-born.
And, on a similar note, I am feeling impressed and touched at the recognition of so many in the food and restaurant industry of the essential role that immigrants play, not only in the success of their businesses, but in our day to day life. My third star goes to the “sanctuary restaurants”, which, taking after the sanctuary cities movement, are declaring themselves safe spaces, free from hate, intolerance and discrimination. Offering everything from job training, to legal support, to organizing space for activists, these businesses are supporting the fight for fair treatment of immigrant workers.
My wish for this week mirrors an editorial from the Los Angeles Times, which says, “Here’s one small silver lining to the election of Donald Trump: It has forced Los Angeles City Council members to get moving on the long-stalled proposal to legalize and regulate street vending.” Despite the fact that many Los Angeles streets are crowded with street vendors, particularly in immigrant neighborhoods, street vending has been illegal within the city limits. If caught, street vendors could be forced to pay hefty fines, or could be arrested on misdemeanor charges. Given the new immigration policies under President Trump, illegal activity and arrest are the only excuses needed for the deportation of illegals, even without a conviction. Just a few days ago, fearing a crackdown on street vendors, the city council unanimously voted to decriminalize street vending. Though stronger and clearer regulation is still underway, my wish is that this vote will help protect the many hard-working street vendors trying to make an honest living and support their families.