I was embarrassed as a kid because my mother required me cook dinner for our family. At least she made my brother cook too unlike some of my friends parents with Southern roots – the girls did all the inside work, the boys the outside – but she certainly did treat my brother better than me – definitely not an equitable division of labor in an urban area. We don’t live on a farm anymore y’all, put down the patriarchy. Stop raising us to tolerate the male behavioral patterns that damaged you.
Mom wasn’t a single parent that needed my brother and I to step up with household chores. On the contrary, she and my father were professionals; we even had a weekly cleaning person. Yet, my mother would wake my brother and I up early Saturday mornings to vacuum, dust and thoroughly clean our home. Why we could never sit on our bedspreads was a mystery at the time but an valiant attempt to preserve the things we purchase is my takeaway.
“What is your yellow vegetable?” After I was grown and gone Mom would often ask me this after I told her what I’d prepared for dinner. She believed every meal should have a green and yellow vegetable component. She also taught me conservation and how not to waste food nor anything else.
Some young farmers I encounter at markets excitedly discuss sustainable farming, composting and zero waste living. Then they grow okra so large that much of it has to be thrown away – not cows nor chickens could chew through it. The White female head of one such farm had the temerity to ask me how I prepared some popcorn I returned to them because it did not pop. I have been popping popcorn longer than you have been growing it was what I should have said. But if she’s reading this, consult an older Black person to teach you how to cultivate okra, and an older Native American person who knows about growing popcorn because you need humility and help.
For this Shrimp Sautee chop garlic and red onions into a medium hot pan with a tablespoon of olive or palm oil. Add tomatoes, hot peppers (mild if you need), okra and shrimp. Season with chicken stock (vegetarian works) Tony Chachere’s, organic thyme and Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt. Serve over rice, couscous or quinoa.