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Monday, 21 April 2014

Ethical consumerism

This garlic is local and organic, but often I grow my own.
Yesterday, a friend of mine approached me and asked me if I ever blogged about ethical consumerism. In a move that both flattered and humbled me, she told me that she trusted my ethics as a consumer. It's a huge responsibility, but at the same time, it's comforting to know that the things I believe in are also coming through in my actions and politics.

Because she wanted some tips on how she might up the ethical ante on her consumerism, and because there wasn't much info out there that she could find in the local context, she came to me. She asked me where I get my clothing from, which is a question I actually get on a regular basis.

Now, I should preface this with two points:

One, my answer is usually hypothetical in nature. While I do my best to shop ethically, ethical clothing hasn't entered the plus-size market yet, so the best first-hand recommendations for ethical clothing (that is, based on personal experience) are things like accessories that aren't so size-dependent.

Two, ethical consumerism is a privilege. It's a privilege that most of the people I personally know have access to, mind you. But it is something that people who live in poverty can't afford, and I'm fully aware of that. So before we start extending the tips below to be a blanket statement of how everyone should act, please know that I do not condone these practices for everyone. I condone them in the case of people who are financially stable and who want to and can make choices that are making the world slightly less bad.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Poetry: Held

Trigger warning: references to sexual assault

The first time you met me,
I was a cipher,
A blank canvas for you to
Paint a story onto.
I wanted you to.

The first time you held me,
The world stood still
And all that mattered
Was the fan of your bangs
Tickling my neck.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

More delicious than your average iron supplement

Quickie post, just to remind y'all that I love you, even though I've been wicked busy.

I'm always looking for ways to use up kale, because I get it in my produce basket every time and quite frankly, I don't much like the stuff. But it's full of iron and all sorts of other awesome nutrients. The thing with iron is that you need vitamin C to absorb more of it. This was a perfect excuse for a smoothie. You just put in some fruit that's loaded with vitamin C and you also absorb your iron like a dream. Kiwis fit the bill, and when mixed with strawberries, makes the best-tasting iron supplement I've ever had.

Mission accomplished.

Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie
 Makes 1 large serving
1 large kale leaf, stem removed
2/3 cup water
3 frozen strawberries, sliced*
1 frozen kiwi, sliced*
In a heavy-duty blender, blend the kale with the water until you have a smooth-ish green liquid and only see very small flecks of green from the kale. Add the frozen fruit and blend until smooth, stopping the machine and stirring with a spoon every so often, if necessary. Pour it into a glass and enjoy! I eat mine with a spoon like soft serve.

* I just freeze my own fruit. I know roughly how many slices are in one strawberry (4) and one kiwi (5), and that way I can eyeball it.
Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The View from the Kitchen: what's mine is mine

I just started working in a kitchen. For the most part, I really love it, because I'm working for a company that shares a lot of my values. Also, in case you haven't noticed, I like to cook.

But working in the kitchen has been a really interesting experience, and one that's given me even more perspectives into gender issues than I imagined it would. So I've created a section for the blog called "The View from the Kitchen," where I plan to look at some of the social observations that I've made while working in this new--and yet not at all new--environment. Welcome to this installment!

Some people are really generous. Their parents taught them to share. They think in terms of community, rather than the self. They really know how to look out for others.

And some people don't. Some people defend their own wants and needs fiercely. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. After all, many people have said that you can't really be any good to other people until you make sure your own needs are met first. Case in point: the oxygen mask on a plane. You always put yours on before helping someone else with theirs. Why? Because you're going to be dead in a few seconds if you don't, and then you won't be much help to anyone.

I support the idea and practice of looking out for your needs first. We should make sure our needs are met first. But there is also a problem here. There is a problem that very few people seem to want to talk about.

Women seem to be overwhelmingly more likely to look out for others and self-sacrifice than men.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The View from the Kitchen: angels and beasts

I just started working in a kitchen. For the most part, I really love it, because I'm working for a company that shares a lot of my values. Also, in case you haven't noticed, I like to cook.
But working in the kitchen has been a really interesting experience, and one that's given me even more perspectives into gender issues than I imagined it would. So I've created a section for the blog called "The View from the Kitchen," where I plan to look at some of the social observations that I've made while working in this new--and yet not at all new--environment. Welcome to this installment!

I remember studying the Great Chain of Being in high school when we took Shakespeare's Macbeth. It was relevant, after all. People in the 16th and 17th century were totally down with that shit, at least the ones we actually got to hear from. They seemed to buy into this idea that the nobler you were, the more superior you were, morally.

I remember the way my grade 11 teacher explained the position of humans in the Great Chain. He told us, "They basically believed that humans were between angels and beasts--that the noblest of people were very near to angels, and that the basest of them were very near to animals. And as such, the noble people were very much out of touch with things that were earthly and physical in nature. They were very philosophical and artistic, concerned with music and poetry and literature, much as you'd think an angel might be. On the other hand, the working class toiled away in very physical ways and was only concerned with things like eating, sleeping and reproducing, as was supposedly fitting for animals."

I get why you might be confused. Shakespeare's long dead, and this Great Chain thing has fallen out of fashion.

Except it hasn't.