A woman’s relationship to food is rarely uncomplicated. We live in a society where women’s worth is entangled with food — from her ability to cook it to her restraint in eating it to (sometimes literally) becoming the food source altogether.
Women are expected to know the herbs and spices that make a home, to pass down the recipes of their cultures and traditions, to hold families together with every stir of the pot. It’s almost as if women have to find their way to a healthy relationship with food, rather than holding onto what was naturally given.
But food is a lifesource, in every sense of the word. It literally nourishes us and carries us to the next day, it connects us to where we came from and who we are, and it brings us closer to the people around us. For this (and other, delicious reasons), food is joy.
This month, we’re celebrating women by asking our community to share recipes that fill them with unfiltered joy and acknowledge the complications that come along with it. For Our Place Co-founder Shiza Shahid, it took 5,000 miles to find it: “My mom never taught me to cook. She wanted my life to exist outside domesticity. But when I emigrated, cooking became a lifeline to my heritage, so I had to learn…and suddenly I felt empowered by cooking. I realized the joy of sharing food with my new chosen family.”
Whether it's the recipe from your childhood, the recipe you discovered you love of home cooking making, or just a dish that, to you, is the most delicious, find joy through food this month (and always).
First up, we visited with Diné-born scholar, educator, advocate Charlie Amáyá Scott and their mother. For Charlie, cooking — especially alongside their mother — has proven to be a source of joy and empowerment, but above all, of self-knowledge…
“This colonizing world denies many of us what it means to be a woman, and for me, to be a woman is to create. Create new worlds and possibilities, especially for those before me and those who will come after me.” —Charlie Amáyá Scott
Charlie shared with us a modern take on Navajo cake, a deliciously simple recipe that makes the most of a few ingredients. Let’s make it.
Next, we joined Hunter Park, lead singer of She Returns From War in Charleston, SC. For Hunter, food and womanhood are completely connected: Food is wisdom, strength, creativity, love, connection, rest. Hunter reflects that both womanhood and a joyful relationship to food required perseverance, but luckily, it's the kind of perseverance that has been cultivating for generations and generations…
“We come together as healers, as mothers, as artists, and as women to celebrate in each other’s victories, to understand each others losses, and nourish the parts of ourselves that make us whole.”
Hunter shared with us her recipe for lowcountry boil, which is optimal for sharing with those you love (the bigger the group, the better). Let’s get cooking.
We also met with mother, creator, and home-cook Kayla Bishop who shared her insights on womanhood, motherhood (all the -hoods) with her characteristic humor and grace. For Kayla, the beauty of womanhood is that it has no limits. It can be made and remade, defined and redefined, over and over…
“Women can’t be put in a box. Womanhood is defined by having no limits! We exist across every spectrum.” —Kayla Bishop
In lieu of a recipe, Kayla enjoyed some guilt-free take-out with her daughter, documenting the tumultuous mental jumps it took to order along the way. Watch it here.