The SoulFood Project: A Community Cookbook

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The

Project

A Community Cookbook


C LOVE IS FOOD

A POEM BY JERMAINE O'CONNOR

The soul ripens under the rays of love; nurtured with compassion. Only nourished when we are seen with soft grace, seen with possibility. Hearty smiles and held hands and heavier hugs; we are fed and there is nothing else we need but ourselves undivided and untied to the hate this world gave us. No longer starved of esteem the source is in the people, the skin we soak, the blood we bleed, the blood we paint in fight and loss. To feast is to witness love in it's abundance, and to cherish the warmth in which we melt and melange as one. The love we wear, the love we share in uniform; we are greater, we are hopeful when we eat together. Artist Statement I wrote this in response to what feels like this perpetual, pervasive state of peril we— as Black people—have been subjected to and continue to experience. Forced to ingest a poison we did not create. I thought: what is the solution? The antidote? What do we need? They say the only way out is through, but it is with experience that I would add to this notion—the only way out is together. Love is to be our catalyst. The why, the reason, the anchor. Our humanity is as much replenished as it is driven by this love, these efforts. To be sated is to realize what is enough. This is a great understanding, and we have had enough. Our backs may be against the wall, but to face each other and fight together is how we close the gap for our future.


CONTENTS 2 40 62 92

TASTY STARTERS 6

Growing While Black

12

Chicken Foot Soup for the Soul

20

Tokenism in Food Service

26

Black Food Isn't 'Bad' For You

36

Burgeoning Black Communities

SAVORY MAIN DISHES 44

Ackee & Saltfish

52

Building Solidarity with Migrant Workers

60

Carving Spaces for Black Voices

YUMMY DESSERTS 64

A Mother’s Love

70

Dismantling Racial Restaurant Hierarchies

78

Reclaiming Ancestral Black Foods, Reclaiming Sovereignty

86

Food Policy For the People

CULTURAL DRINKS 96

Jasmine Flower Toast

100 A Letter From the Organizers


SPLIT PEA CHICKEN SOUP BY CELESTE & CRYSTAL CERES

We both remember coming home from school on cold winter days as children exclaiming, “This is just what the doctor ordered!” when our eyes caught sight of the warm split pea soup our mom had just finished making. Its steam would permeate our frigid faces, and its delicious aroma made any day, no matter how treacherous, worth it. The first spoonful would be an explosion of delicious flavours. This is the same soup our mom would also look forward to coming home to, back in Guyana.

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The soup’s main components are split peas, chicken, dumplings, sweet potatoes, yams, eddoes, green bananas, yellow potatoes and cassavas. Although the recipe for this soup has a lot of steps, it’s well worth the time and patience. Once you try the first spoonful, you'll understand why making the soup takes so much effort and uses many different ingredients.

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SOUP INGREDIENTS l 2 cups of split peas, soaked overnight

1 tbsp of tomato paste

l

2 sweet potatoes

l

1 yam

l

4 eddoes

l

l

l

l

1 green banana

l

3 small hot peppers pinch of paprika ½ cup of Diana sauce (or your choice of BBQ sauce) 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 cassava

l

1 onion

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2 garlic cloves & 1 tsp of minced garlic

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2 sticks of green onion

l

3 sprigs of parsley

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1 carrot, grated

l

½ pumpkin, sliced

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

4 cups of water salt & pepper to taste pinch of thyme 5 whole pieces of allspice 1 bay leaf 1 package of pumpkin beef soup mix

1 lb. chicken, legs and thighs

l

DUMPLINGS INGREDIENTS l ½ cup of flour 1 tbsp of margarine

l

½ cup of water

l

1 tbsp of sugar pinch of salt

l

SPLIT PEA CHICKEN SOUP

l

3


PREPARATION 1 The day before making the soup, you’ll need to soak the peas overnight to get them soft. 2 The next morning you'll need to boil the peas and then puree them in a blender. TIME TO COOK! 1 Peel and cut provisions (sweet potato, yam, eddo, potato, green bananas, cassava) into 2 inch cubes. Soak in water until ready to use. 2 Prep the veggies: cut onion, garlic, and green onion finely. Grate one carrot. 3 In a frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and a teaspoon of minced garlic. Add the chicken and cook until the surface is brown (don’t fully cook, because the chicken is going into the soup to finish cooking). Add salt, to taste, two hot peppers, paprika and your choice of BBQ sauce.

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4 Add the onion, garlic cloves, green onion, carrot, pumpkin, and salt & pepper to the frying pan and cook until lightly golden.

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5 Transfer the ingredients into a large pot and add 4 cups of water. Add the soaked provisions and 2 cups of pureed split peas.


6 Add Worcestershire sauce, thyme, allspice, 1 bay leaf, parsley salt & pepper. 7 Bring the soup to a boil and skim. When it reaches a boil, lower the temperature to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid. 8 The next step is making dumplings. In a separate container, add flour, margarine, sugar, salt, and mix until ingredients are incorporated. Then add a bit of the water until the dough forms into a slightly sticky texture. 9 Bring soup back to a boil and add the pumpkin beef soup mix. 10 Add the dumplings into the pot using a tablespoon to scoop them in when the soup is almost finished.

Enjoy! Once the soup is finished, we like to add extra pepper and serve it with crackers or crusty bread.

SPLIT PEA CHICKEN SOUP

11 Cover the soup, reducing the heat. After the provisions and chicken is cooked through, (about 40 minutes altogether) take the pot off the stove.

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GROWING WHILE BLACK A CONVERSATION CHEYENNE SUNDANCE

How are you engaged in the food system? My name is Cheyenne Sundance. I run Sundance Harvest, which is a year round vegetable farm located in Toronto. And soon it's going to be a multi locational farm, which is very exciting. Sundance Harvest grows produce. So I grow vegetables all year round—greens, microgreens, herbs, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and then mushrooms as well.

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Also, Sundance Harvest runs a program called ‘Growing in the Margins,’ which is a really popular program. It’s a 12-week mentorship for youth aged 18 to 25, folks who are marginalized in the system. So, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, Queer, Trans, Two-Spirit, non-binary, gender non -conforming, and youth with disabilities.

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I started the program because when I started my farm, I noticed that there were no examples of what I wanted to do whatsoever—no farms that I felt were operating from a food justice lens. Or investing in the future of youth, starting their own farms. So I started Sundance Harvest because it's exactly what I wanted, when I started my project. And I'm happy to say that I’ve mentored tens of youth through this program. Each year, so many of them end up starting their own farms, or working within agriculture in the city. So, I’d say Sundance Harvest grows food, but also grows projects. What’s wrong with our food system now? If we’re talking about stats, Black and Indigenous People, as you know, have faced


How do we reclaim that power? To quote Audre Lorde, “the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.” Right? I don't think that people who do not face food and land based oppression have the tools to dismantle white supremacy in the food system. Because so much of the time, they actually perpetrate and perpetuate it. So I really do think that the only people who can really advance food justice and food sovereignty are those who are most dispossessed. We know exactly what we need. Sundance Harvest is basically the only urban agriculture educator in Ontario for BIPOC youth. Outside of this, the only way for youth to learn how to grow food and farm is to do an unpaid internship on a often white farm, which exploits our labour (unpaid internships), gives us no income, and basically just makes people weed all day. Or they can go to Humber or Guelph to learn about agriculture, pay thousands of dollars in tuition, and be taught by someone who has no lived experience of oppression, and who mostly has poor land-based practices where

they're extracting the land. So, there really are very little opportunities for youth of color, especially Black and Indigenous youth, to reconnect with the land. I think that what needs to be done, and there needs to be more opportunities for that to happen. So, what I do with ‘Growing in the Margins,’ and what I think is needed, is having someone who has that direct lived experience teach these youth, and mentor them along with the project. And when those 12 weeks or however long are done, those youth should get land, they should be able to try it out. There should be an incubator farm process. The hardest part of getting into agriculture is the education, and then there's the land. So, if both of those things are provided, I truly think that we can see radical change in the system. Sundance Harvest is doing that, but I can’t be the only one—I can’t reach hundreds of youth a year, so I think there just needs to be more of what I’m doing.

CHEYENNE SUNDANCE

the most food insecurity and land-based oppression here in Canada. So, the fact that we are not in charge of the food system—in terms of being land stewards, having access to urban farms, accessing grants, and having space to grow food in the rural context really shows how wrong the food system is. I would say the issue is that the lack of power in community hands, specifically in Black and Indigenous Communities.

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SAVOURY SWEET ROASTED TOMATOES BY LEDYA MAHADERE

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This summer I had a deeply healing and grounding experience revisiting an old family tradition of growing tomatoes in our backyard. My mom and sisters have always been part of this tradition but this year was quite different. My mom had been in Ethiopia since January so it was just my siblings and I at home. My sisters were not really motivated beyond the initial set up of the garden. They dug the yard and pulled the weeds while I struggled to get out of bed most days. I had been really depressed and wanted no part in the project at the start of summer. Soon they were also feeling discouraged and we all kind of gave up on the idea.

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It was around late May that my therapist convinced me to get out of my routine and pick a hobby that would keep my mind occupied and my body active. So I went back into the garden and decided I wanted to try planting some tomatoes and herbs after all. By the time our seedlings started to grow, I was spending hours watching YouTube videos on how to fertilize the soil with brown molasses and other store bought fertilizers, setting up a mini compost pile for an extra boost and researching how best to grow other things like ginger, shepherd peppers, rosemary and basil. I was up really early watering, trimming, and singing to my seedlings every day for weeks. I danced by myself, stretched and sat in silence, listened to church music, I got a garden hat and everything, it was very cute. I felt motivated and confident. Even if only for a few hours of the day, I felt less


lethargic and spent less time consuming trauma on social media. The garden was a huge reprieve from my intrusive thoughts and restless nights. I would spend hours in the sun, then nap or go to sleep exhausted early in the evening. It was a great practice in self care. Even if a single fruit or vegetable had not been harvested, the practice alone was incredibly healing.

definitely a privilege. A more accessible alternative is also to buy any variety of tomatoes on sale or check to see if local farmers markets are selling tomatoes in bulk at the end of the day. Check also for their basil and rosemary and buy in bulk if possible. Grocery stores definitely overcharge for these herbs so if you can, try buying and drying your herbs when they are cheapest in the summer.

But thankfully, I ended up with way more tomatoes than anyone at home could eat. I even gave them away by the bowl to the neighbours and friends and family. Eventually I decided to try roasting them as a quick and relatively simple way to store them. I don’t know enough about canning and preserves so I find this method more accessible if only for extending the shelf life of the tomatoes for 7–10 days or two weeks max.

The recipe, if you can call it that, is really also a matter of what you like in terms of flavour. If you like the sweetness of cherry tomatoes, add them in generously. If you prefer a more savory flavor, use less cherries or none at all and add more herbs and garlic. Add any type of hot peppers or dried cayenne pepper if you enjoy a spicy version.

I understand that having the space, capacity and resources for home grown tomatoes is

e u n i t Con

SAVOURY SWEET ROASTED TOMATOES

Roasted tomatoes are a perfect way to reduce and preserve your excess fresh tomatoes while also setting you up for endless dishes in the days and weeks to come. Once you’ve got your roasted tomatoes, you can use them for a quick pasta dish, cook a teaspoon full into your morning omelette, use them as a savory spread on toast with sliced avocado and a squeeze of lime, or add some water or veggie stock and cook them down some more to use for pizza sauce. So versatile and sooo flavorful. Not so humble brag, I’ve made them twice this season and have used them in each of the dishes I just mentioned.

So let’s get down to it.

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INGREDIENTS l 3–5 lbs or as much tomato as you can fit in your roasting pan 1 onion, I prefer yellow but use whatever is available

l

½ head of garlic (about 5 large cloves)

l

1 cup of basil

l

1 tsp of salt

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½ tsp of pepper

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Italian herb mix or any other fresh herbs you enjoy (ex. thyme or rosemary)

l

1 cup of olive oil

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l

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TIME TO COOK! 1 Preheat your oven to 400°F. 2 Chop your tomatoes into large chunks. 3 Toss your cherry tomatoes into the roasting dish.

5 Place in the oven uncovered for a minimum of 2 hours. The more tomatoes you add, the longer you will have to leave it in the oven. Check every half hour, make sure most if not all the liquid is dissolved before turning the oven off. Leave it in the oven to continue to dehydrate or remove and let cool to keep some tomato juice. Once completely cooled, scoop into a jar and top off with some more olive oil before storing in the refrigerator. Keeps for up to two weeks.

Enjoy. <3

SAVOURY SWEET ROASTED TOMATOES

4 Chop the onion into similarly large chunks. Dice your garlic, add the herbs and remaining ingredients into the pan and toss to coat everything evenly with the olive oil and seasoning.

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CHICKEN FOOT SOUP FOR THE SOUL

Cooking is many things. It is an art, a skill, a tool, a task, a gift, and a language. Growing up, cooking in my household was reflective of all of these things, sometimes fused together. However, cooking has always been a language of love and care. The labour necessary in making so many Caribbean dishes requires love from scratch.

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Some of my favourite memories of food do THE LOVE AND LABOUR IN not involve new finds or testing the limits CARRIBBEAN HOME COOKING of my taste (although I have grown to AND TAKEOUT appreciate those experiences as a A STORY BY ALISA BUCKLEY reformed-ish picky eater.) These memories encompassed a lot of which felt familiar. I have always felt comfort and enjoyment in senses of familiarity, history and nostalgia. These are feelings I have sought out and pursued in all aspects of my life. I reflect on these feelings, and remember certain thoughts I had as a kid. I had not realized that my parents likely held these same feelings about food and the enjoyment of familiarity, especially when eating takeout. Speaking with them over the years, my mother wanted us to stay connected to our roots, while my father wanted us to stay grounded in them.

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Friday evenings were some of my favourite routine memories because it typically meant that we would get the chance to eat something prepared outside of the home. Although my mother, the primary mealmaker in the house, cooked beautifully and truly unlike any other, there was always a feeling of excitement and ease about the transactions and interactions involved in getting takeout.


The soup of the day was something that was bought, no questions asked. Not just because it felt special to get one’s hands on it before it finished for the day, but because soup in our home embodied what the week’s end felt like. That feeling of getting out of school at the sound of the bell and dashing my backpack on my bedroom floor as soon as I got home. A carefully pieced together dish that amalgamates a range of savoury, spicy, delicate, and dense flavours and textures. Knowing that for me, and more so for my parents, that short break—even when it was packed with responsibilities that couldn’t fit in the work week, is finally here. Takeout gave us a break. I enjoyed learning, but I was always happy to get away from

"The labour necessary in making so many Caribbean dishes requires love from scratch."

CHICKEN FOOT SOUP FOR THE SOUL

Familiarity came in the form of that particular routine, but especially when we would head over to Kingston and Galloway, to a familiar spot—Sunrise Caribbean restaurant. Before Sunrise became the franchise it is known as today, it was once a little nook of a space in East Scarborough, with a kitchen that produced traditional Caribbean dishes with big flavour. No matter how many times I begged as a kid to try a random dish from a random chain that I likely saw in a commercial once (something my father quickly wrote off as anything but “real food”), I always enjoyed Sunrise. Although my order was consistently the same—fried or jerk chicken, rice and peas, oxtail gravy, and extra coleslaw (and a kola champagne if I was lucky), I sometimes got to have a few sips of soup, something my father would buy for himself, my mother, and my grandmother.

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school, and my parents, while proud of their work, put a lot of their energy into their 9–5s. For them, work felt like many hours of putting their hands and their minds into overdrive. Work in this life often seems like it never has time to stop. As a Black multigenerational family, as a household run by immigrants, we often fill what we perceive to be free time with more work, more labour that is free of anything close to love.

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However, when we weren’t buying our soup from a restaurant, my father would make soup for us, and often made plenty for others to enjoy as well. This process is undoubtedly a labour of love for him, and one he proudly works to create presently. The effort he places into picking the best ingredients he could find in our local West Indian store. The strength he transmits from his arms and meticulous palms to knead the flour and water together and make dumpling with a cooked-through firmness and tightness that is simply unmatched. The care he places into seasoning and peppering the broth, stirring and watching as it boils into the right consistency. All of the love he puts into preparing this meal in a pot that is seemingly far too big for any nonindustrial stove top, he made sure to fill the home with music that moved through us just as deliciously as the smells emitting from the kitchen. My Virgo father is his own worst critic, but his seriousness about getting his soup right each time he makes it is layered between so much love and a deep need to serve up

food that fills our restless souls. Once the soup is done, we eat, letting the heat and flavours take over our bodies, settling our bellies, and relaxing us further into our seats. As I get older, I have begun to feel the love and labour that goes into different cuisines that were once unfamiliar to me while growing up. The more time I spend cooking, I understand more and more why my father felt so strongly about us eating “real food”, or with what was familiar and particularly laborious in its making. Eating from the hands of others, it feels good and safe to know that what you’re consuming was prepared deliberately and devotedly with love.


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CHICKEN FOOT SOUP FOR THE SOUL


CHICKEN FOOT SOUP BY ALISA BUCKLEY YIELD

TOOLS 13L pot

INGREDIENTS l 1 small whole chicken, cleaned and cut into pieces (slightly bigger than a heaping tbsp) 10–12 chicken feet (approx.), cleaned

l

seasoning salt

l

all purpose seasoning

l

black pepper

l

1–2 tbsp vegetable oil

l

white Flour

l

water

l

pinch of salt (optional)

l

yellow yam, peeled

l

Jamaican pumpkin

l

chocho (chayote), peeled

l

red coco, peeled

l

carrots, peeled

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l

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Jamaican sweet potato (optional), peeled

l

skellion (scallion)

l

thyme

l

seasoning salt

l

2–3 packs of Grace Chicken Noodle Soup Mix

l

2 scotch bonnet, one whole & one sliced with a couple of seeds

l


TIME TO COOK! 1 Season the cleaned, cut up whole chicken and chicken feet. Drizzle oil over chicken and coat. Let sit. This step can be done the day before, and kept in the refrigerator until an hour before cooking. 2 Fill approx. 13L pot about halfway with water. 3 Begin with roughly 2-3 cups of flour in a wide and shallow bowl. Grab a cup of cold water, add a little bit at a time, slowly. The dough should not be runny, so take your time. Continue adding either flour or water to the mixture as you begin to knead if necessary. It should have enough moisture to be kneaded into a firm dough. your dough should be neither too dry or sticky (when you shape the dumplings, they should not stick to your hands). Cover the dough with cling wrap and set aside.

5 Turn the stove on high heat and bring the water to a boil. 6 Cut the pumpkin into medium sized chunks. Cut the chocho and red coco into small pieces (cube-like). Slice the carrots into thick slices (about an inch). Optional: cut sweet potato into large cubes.

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CHICKEN FOOT SOUP

4 Cut the peeled yam into chunks, similar to or slightly smaller than the size of the meat and set aside from the rest of the vegetables.

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7 When the water is at a boiling point, add the yellow yam. Lightly powder your hands with flour. Take the dough and pinch off pieces to shape into slightly-flattened discs (about the size of your palm or smaller) and spinners. For the disc shape, roll into a ball between the palms of your hands and begin pressing your thumbs into the centre while rotating it, until you get it to be slightly flattened. For spinners, take a piece of dough and spin between your palms. Be sure not to make them too thin! Add them into the pot, one piece at a time. Cover the pot slightly or halfway (so it doesn’t boil over) and turn down the burner to about medium heat. 8 Let boil for a few mins, then add the pumpkin, chocho, red coco, and carrots. 9 Let boil for a few mins, then add chicken. 10 Chop skellion at the base, and cut large pieces of the green stalks.

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11 After about 10 mins, add the slices of scotch bonnet with the couple of seeds.

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12 Add the skellion, thyme, and season with seasoning salt and black pepper sparingly. 13 Let boil for 10–15 mins, then stir in the 2 to 3 packs of noodle mix. 14 Stir the pot. Puncture a couple small


holes into the whole scotch bonnet (not too big, don’t want seeds to escape) and add it to the pot. Let it boil down for 20 mins, but be sure not to let the chicken boil out (reduce heat slightly if it boils out too quickly). 15 Locate the whole scotch bonnet and remove first, then stir gently.

CHICKEN FOOT SOUP

Serve.

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TOKENISM IN FOOD SERVICE

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

A CONVERSATION TYLER CHELSIE

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How are you engaged with the food system? I’ve worked in hospitality now for almost 10 years, about a decade. So, I've had experiences working in different types of restaurants, different cuisines. A lot of Italian style places, high-end steakhouses, fine-dining restaurants. It’s definitely been a learning experience for me as a person of colour working in a fine-dining environment, especially here in downtown Toronto. What has it been like working in the restaurant industry as a Black woman? I would say that the restaurant industry here isn’t very inviting for a Black woman. I’ve experienced racism from management, co-workers, and the clientele. Every time I’ve started a new job, people approach me and ask me instantly—“Oh, are you a hostess?” Being in the industry for a long time, I realized that the black girls were always put up as hostesses, but there was never room for growth to become a server, or a server assistant, nothing like that. At one steakhouse, I started as a server assistant, and one of the Black guys came up to me and said— something I won’t ever forget—“this is the first time they’ve hired a Black girl to work in the dining room.” I think it really boils down to this idea of tokenism—in so many restaurants here you see that token Black girl and token Black guy working there, but there isn’t any room to thrive in the industry. There’s no trust there, there’s no interest in inviting people of colour into the industry. You know what I mean? I've noticed it's a Canadian thing, I must say, they're very subtle with racism, but it's there.


Especially being in the industry, you know, going through the ups and downs, working in different restaurants and observing the politics behind this, I've learned a lot and I've seen what goes on behind the scenes. Like, even something as simple as pay. The pay difference between myself as a Black woman and my white colleagues who would do the same work—I would always have to do ten times more to ‘earn’ it. And if you bring it up, they just find excuses as to why they can't pay me the same as my colleagues.

work ten times harder to, you know, ‘prove’ ourselves. I think that a change needs to happen there—we needed to be treated fairly and be acknowledged and recognized for our work. It’s hard for me to say what changes need to be made because it’s really tough. I think a lot is going to have to go into changing the restaurant industry, because it's very deep rooted in its ways.

What do you want to see changed? I think people need to have trust and give people of color a chance, you know, that change needs to happen, and people need to focus on diversity. Representation. For me, when I go into restaurants, when I'm working in restaurants, seeing other Black people there, working alongside me, I start to feel a sense of comfort. I think that's what these companies need to acknowledge— there needs to be an effort to be more diverse. It's so much more inviting for me to see people of color, Black people, working in the industry, you know what I mean? It's motivating. For me, it's comforting. I feel safer seeing people that look like me, you know? And for Black people in the service industry, just working in this field, we always have to

TYLER CHELSIE

I also want to put it out there that I find that men of color get treated a bit better than a lot of women of color in the industry. Not only in terms of pay, but also in terms of their relationships with management and co-workers.

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BANANA FRITTERS BY JENELLE LEWIS

There’s nothing I love more than making Jamaican fritters; they’re such an underrated, delicious snack that can be enjoyed roundthe-clock. The flavours and smells of both saltfish and banana fritters instantly transport me back to the times I’d occasionally spend the night at my Jamaican grandmother’s house. ‘Cause surely enough when I’d wake up, I’d wake up to the smell of either banana or saltfish fritters frying. You know how all of your senses are connected? So along with the taste and smell, I can faintly hear the echoes of my aunts as they gossiped with my grandmother and my cousins as they chattered about video games around the table. I can feel the warmth of my grandmother’s back door open on hot summer days and how the best fritters were the ones too hot to hold. And I can just vividly see my grandmother’s kitchen from the perspective of a teeny bopper, even though I will never see it like that in reality again. You can catch me making banana fritters instead of banana bread time and time again (it’s better and waaay faster to make) with my ripe bananas.

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I’m recently vegetarian and can’t eat saltfish fritters myself anymore, but when I make them for friends, they’re always a hit.

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YIELD

PREP TIME TIME

SERVING

5 mins 10 mins 4 people

CALORIES 231

INGREDIENTS l 3 ripe bananas 1 tbsp vanilla extract

l

½ tbsp cinnamon

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¼ tbsp nutmeg

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1 tbsp baking powder

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1 cup of brown sugar

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pinch of salt

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1 cup of all-purpose flour

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oil (of choice) for frying

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TIME TO COOK! 1 Mash the bananas using a fork in a bowl. 2 Then add brown sugar, vanilla, extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and a pinch of salt. 3 Sift in flour and stir with spoon until fully combined. 4 Add oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Use about the amount you would to fry pancakes. 5 Once the oil is hot, drop the banana fritter batter in oil using multiple spoonfuls (or one big ladle) until it reaches about the size of your palm. 6 When one side is golden and bubbles appear on the top, flip the fritter and cook until the other side has browned as well.

Enjoy your new favourite snack!

Fritters are not meant to be fluffy like pancakes or bread. They are intended to be thinner and moist.

BANANA FRITTERS

7 Remove the fritters and pat dry with some paper towel!

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SALTFISH FRITTERS BY JENELLE LEWIS YIELD

PREP TIME TIME

SERVING

8 hours (overnight) 20 mins 6 people

CALORIES 232

INGREDIENTS l 6 ounces (or one pack) fried salted codfish 1 cup all-purpose flour

l

1 tsp baking powder

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2 tsp ground black pepper

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1 large tomato, chopped

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2 green onions, chopped

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1 cup of water

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oil (of choice) for frying

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l

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TIME TO COOK! 1 Soak the codfish in cold water overnight. This will rehydrate the cod and simultaneously remove the excess salt that comes with it. 2 After it's soaked, remove any bones and shred the fish into small, nickel-sized pieces, and set aside. 3 In a different bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and pepper. 4 Next, add the diced tomatoes, green onions, and shredded cod to the flour mixture.

6 Once the dough is ready, heat your oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Use about the amount you would to fry pancakes. When the oil is hot, drop rounded spoonfuls of batter into the skillet. They shouldn’t be bigger than the size of your palm. Fry on each side until golden brown and crisp: about 5 minutes per side. 7 Remove fritters and pat dry with some paper towel!

VoilĂ ! Fritters for the whole family!

If you can't soak the fish overnight, place the salted cod in a saucepan. Fill with enough water to cover the cod. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water. Repeat this step with fresh water four more times. Taste to check salt level; if the fish is still too salty, keep repeating.

SALTFISH FRITTERS

5 Pour in 1/2 cup water and stir until everything is blended.

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BLACK FOOD ISN'T 'BAD' FOR YOU

A CONVERSATION ROSIE MENSAH

How are you engaged with food? I’m a registered dietitian, and a business owner. My work focuses on people of colour and cultural food. I work with people to integrate cultural foods into their diets in a way that allows them to achieve their health goals. A lot of it is breaking down barriers, and narratives around certain foods, specifically cultural foods, you know? This misconception that certain foods are ‘bad’ for you, or that you should feel guilty for eating them.

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I'm also a food justice advocate. I'm a co-founder of a group called ‘Dietitians for Food Justice.’ And we're a group of dietitians, dietetic interns, and students that are working towards dismantling the systems of oppression that cause food injustice. And I really centre my work as a dietitian around food justice. So, although I am a practitioner, a lot of what I practice is rooted in social justice, and food justice.

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Aside from that, I'm a big foodie. I love food. I love to cook food, eat food, and enjoy food with friends and family. And, you know, food is so much more than nutrients. It goes so much deeper than the nutritional quality of foods, but sharing the experiences, the memories, your culture, your history, your heritage, and all of that. Where do you think our current food system fails? I would say there are many things that are wrong with the current system. One thing in particular—and my work around food justice focuses on this a lot—is the fact that,


There’s also the fact that a lot of folks aren't given the opportunity to decide what foods they can access or what foods are in their communities. This lack of agency in communities is a food sovereignty issue. What needs to change? I think we need policies, systems changes, that will actually work towards making food a right for everyone. So not just saying it anymore, but actually putting systems in place that will ensure that we all have access to food. And not just any food, but good food—quality, affordable, nutritious, culturally appropriate food. We need policies that redistribute resources equitably so that this can actually happen. Also, in terms of my particular industry, we need to have more representation of diverse foods and different cuisines. In dietetics, there are these particular foods that are seen as representative of ‘good food’ or ‘healthy,’ and it's really limiting. I think we need to take foods that are reflective of other cultures and put them on that level. Also, we need more diversity in terms of who is practicing as a dietitian, and in the health and wellness industries overall. Representation is so important. When we talk about food justice, and food security, we

need to have people with the lived experience of these things be seen as the experts. They’re the ones who should be called on to help develop programs and policies. We need to stop relying on this charity model, where all of our resources are funneled into responses like food banks, instead of addressing the cause of the problem. We need to really get to the root of the issue so that we no longer need food banks. That means not solely focusing on emergency food, but ensuring that we have access to food on a day-to-day basis, and that we have the agency to make decisions about our food. So yeah, we need policies, greater representation, and more commitment, with actionable steps towards ensuring that the right to food is met. In a place like Canada, whether you can eat today shouldn’t be a question.

ROSIE MENSAH

especially within Canada and other western countries, people still don't have access to food. That’s a huge issue to me, especially in places that are, you know, ‘developed?’ People are still struggling to access food, good quality food, culturally appropriate food, and even land, to grow food.

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FRIED TURMERIC PLANTAINS RENNELLE SIB

I began to appreciate food from a very young age. My cooking for me invokes warm memories of belonging, home, and family. That is what food means to me. I chose this recipe because it reminds me of my childhood. I remember the sun on my skin, playing with my friends and siblings in the mango trees and when we’d get tired around lunchtime, there was always plantains ready waiting for us and would go right before supper. We would also sneak out during the day and go get some around the street. It reminds me of the freedom we had. Running, climbing, eating fruit from the garden and taking in the richness of the community that surrounded us.

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

This recipe is an ode to my culture and my growth. Plantains are a comfort food for me and for so many. My first time preparing plantain at a very young age was with karakoro/kaakro which is a sweet plantain dumpling that is a common staple food in many West African countries. Since then, I’ve always been fascinated with the diverse uses of this versatile fruit.

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The multi-purpose plantain. This recipe featured in the book is a mixture of recipes I learned in my childhood and techniques I learned in the kitchen throughout my career.

YIELD TIME

45 mins

SERVING

2 people

TOOLS

parchment paper, a pot, baking tray, a pan for frying

INGREDIENTS l 5 green plantains canola oil (250ml)

l

fêta

l

1 tbsp of salt

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1 tbsp of pepper

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2 tbsp of turmeric

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1 tbsp of cajun spice

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garlic clove

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laurel leaf

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rosemary

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4 cups of water

l


PREPARATION 1 Peel the plantains 2 Cut the plantains in half and remove the peel. TIME TO COOK! 1 Boil 4 cups of water, add all the spices 2 Bring your water to a boil, then add the plantains for 10 mins. 3 Put the plantains aside and keep the broth aside as it is useful and can be used in a sauce or a soup. 4 Slice he plantains into medium pieces. Let it cool off in the fridge for 5 mins. 5 Start heating the oil in the pan. Your heat should be at medium. Please be careful as you are working with hot oil.

7 When your oil is hot, start frying your plantain until golden on each side (around 2 to 3 minutes per side)

If using yellow bananas, do not boil them as they will become mushier. Mix them with all the spices, let them cool in the fridge for 5 8 Once golden, remove the plantains, let minutes, then fry them, Water and Hot Oil them cool on a piece of paper towel, to don't mix. Be careful when using hot oil. remove the excess oil Make sure everything is dry. This dish can be paired and enjoyed with a tropical gin and 9 Sprinkle a little bit of fĂŞta, serve and eat! tonic or a cooling sangria.

FRIED TURMERIC PLANTAINS

6 Cut two pieces of parchment paper (as big as your hand), put the plantains between the sheets and press gently with your palm. You should have a flat plantain now. Repeat with all of them

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CIGAR BOREK MADDY BARNES

Welcome! My name is Maddy and I’m happy to share two of my favourite dishes. I picked these two recipes because they are both simple and delicious. Growing up, I mostly spent time with my maternal side of the family, who immigrated to Canada from Turkey in the mid 60’s. Both of these dishes are quite popular throughout Turkey; however, the lentil soup is a spin-off version, compared to what you would find there. Both of these recipes remind me of my childhood. I still remember the days when I would sneak into the kitchen while my grandmother was frying up the Cigar Boreks, just to get a taste. The Lentil soup will always be one of my favourite comfort foods, especially when I’m feeling under the weather. This hearty soup is filled with protein, vitamins and all that good stuff!

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Enjoy!

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This crunchy, savoury gem is so versatile it can be filled with anything. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients to satisfy your craving (Vegan options also taste great).

INGREDIENTS l 1 cup (approx.) of fêta cheese 1 bunch of parsley (approx. 1 cup when chopped)

l

philo sheets (pref. triangle or small square)

l

bowl of water

l

frying oil

l

cooling rack or paper towel on a plate

l


TIME TO COOK! 1 Chop parsley finely (the finer the better)

11 Using a frying pan, heat up oil (approx. 1 inch deep) on medium heat.

2 Crumble feta into a medium to large bowl

12 Fry as many you can fit on the pan with about ½ inch gap

3 Mix chopped parsley and crumbled feta together 4 Peel off 1 sheet of the philo 5 Scoop approx. 1 tablespoon of the mixture and place it on philo with about a 1 inch gap from the edge.

13 Once they look delicious and crispy, use tongs to remove from pan and place on cooling rack.

Enjoy!

6 If using square, turn the sheet so that one corner is facing you and place filling in a vertical line, a little bit off centre. 7 If using a triangle, place the filling near the thicker end. 8 Then, fold philo over the mixture and roll (fold in edges like a burrito, so none of the filling falls out) 9 Dip a finger into the water and use it like glue, to hold it together. Make sure it is dry before frying.

CIGAR BOREK

10 Repeat for however many you desire

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TURKISH LENTIL SOUP MADDY BARNES

This Turkish red lentil soup is very popular, especially during the winter months. Fun fact: traditionally this soup is prepared when breaking daily fast during the month of Ramadan.

YIELD TIME

SERVING

40 mins 6 people

INGREDIENTS l 1 cup (about 8 ounces) red lentils, rinsed 2 tbsp of olive oil

l

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (carton)

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1–2 cups of water

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1 large yellow onion, diced

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1 large carrot, diced

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4 cloves of garlic, diced

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2 tbsp of tomato paste

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1 tsp of ground cumin

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⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste

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3/4 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste

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lemon wedges and chopped mint for serving (optional)

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

l

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TIME TO COOK! 1 In a large pot, add oil, onion, carrot, garlic, tomato paste, cumin and cayenne cook about halfway on med heat. 2 Then, combine lentils, broth and water. Cover, then bring to a boil 3 Once boiling, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables and very tender and lentils begin to fall apart (about 25 minutes). 4 Remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to quickly blend the soup until it is creamy but not completely purĂŠed. 5 Or, you can blend about half the soup in a blender but use caution when blending hot liquids: blend only in small batches, hold the lid down firmly with a kitchen towel, and begin blending on low speed. 6 Add salt and serve with lemon wedges and a garnish of mint if desired.

TURKISH LENTIL SOUP

Enjoy!

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CALLALOO MELANA ROBERTS

INGREDIENTS l 12 dasheen leaves (or eddo/taro leaves, chopped) 7 stalks of okra (chopped into 1-inch pieces)

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2 tsp of salted butter

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1/4 cup of onions (diced)

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4 pimentos (chopped)

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1 (3-inch) piece salt meat (or beef or pork, cut into 3 pieces)

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3 sprigs of fresh thyme

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4 stalks of green onions (white and green parts, chopped)

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1 chicken bouillon cube (crushed)

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3 cups of water

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1 cup of coconut milk

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1 whole scotch bonnet pepper

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salt (to taste)

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

l

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TIME TO COOK! 1 Add all ingredients and the salt to a large pot, except the scotch bonnet pepper, and stir continuously. 2 Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to reduce the boil and let the callaloo cook for 15 minutes.

CALLALOO

3 Add the whole scotch bonnet pepper and cover the pot again for an additional 15 minutes or until the ingredients are soft and vegetables are cooked through. Remove the hot pepper and salt meat from the pot and stir the mixture. Add salt to taste and garnish with hot pepper.

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BURGEONING BLACK COMMUNITIES

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

A CONVERSATION EKOW STONE

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How are you engaged with the food system? In a nutshell, I would say I’m an urban farmer. I work at FoodShare, a food justice organization in Toronto. And I work on a small farm, like two and a half acre farm in Etobicoke, northwest of the city. I work day in and day out there to maintain production, and vitality, on the farm. My official title is ‘youth engagement coordinator’ —so basically, I engage the youth that we employ as a part of the School Grown program here at FoodShare. So I engage the youth that we employ in kind of experiential learning, I guess, kind of hands on farming skills, everything from sowing seeds, pruning tomatoes, harvesting, composting, all that sort of stuff. Also, I used to be in the food service industry before COVID. How do you see anti-Black racism playing a role in what you do? Well, it came up a lot in the service industry. It was just a weekly, normal thing, because you're there, serving predominantly white people, right? And since there’s this tipbased system that you need to supplement your income, and because of the nature of the environment, you can't really stand up for yourself. You can't disrupt the customer's experience in any way—you know, activate their fragility, or ‘offend’ them. So I think I took a lot of bullshit from white people working in that industry. And also just the entire dynamic of just serving white people food that I can't really afford. It's something I’m so glad to be free from. I definitely don't think I'm going to go back to that industry.


More broadly, I think the idea of ‘modern’ agriculture as an institution is tied up with whiteness too. You know? I think these ideas of whiteness and ‘modernity’ are inextricable. ‘Modern’ agriculture is very out of touch with the fact that it's working with other living beings. And I find that especially in industrial agriculture, but it’s also embedded in the cultural and behavioral norms of white settler colonialism. The way that they view the land is like, ‘this is an inert medium for me to produce, to extract products to manufacture, to ship, to sell, etc.’ There’s a lack of reverence for the land. And there's a lack of understanding that this is like the living skin of Mother Earth, you know? There's just an emptiness there. (I’m making very broad generalizations here—there are pockets of white folks who realize how the world works as an ecosystem, like organic agriculture or permaculture, but these can also be problematic too.) So yeah, that's what I kind of see, like, in the most macro sense, this idea of domination, a system of disregard and extraction, is built into our food system, and it’s a value system that is very colonial in its approach. There’s just no respect for the land. What’s your food system dream? I mean, it's definitely not fully developed yet. I guess it'll always change. I used to be

very, very, idealistic and very radical in my views, about, you know, what needs to happen. Like, I thought we had to completely unmake the world, you know what I mean? And while that might be theoretically true, growing up having to pay for my own shit, and now with COVID, and seeing where a lot of working class Black people are at— trying to put food on the table, maybe wanting a house one day, wanting to know that their kids are gonna be good—I’ve realized you have to kind of step out of this academic Marxist bubble sometimes to think about people’s real lives. So I think one part of my food dream is just like having a main street in a neighborhood, in a burgeoning Black community. There’s places that kind of look like this, you know pockets in Jane and Finch or parts of Scarborough, but I mean something bigger. Somewhere where Black people can just buy, you know, injera, okra, scotch bonnet, fufu, all that stuff on the same block. A place where, when a Black person spends a dollar on food, it's not going straight into a nonBlack person's hand. Somewhere where it's not white upper-middle class demographics owning the storefronts, but Black people. A Black middle class. Capitalism very much governs how material resources are distributed across time and space, right? So, it would be great to see a food system of the future that looks like an integrated network of businesses and cooperatives where food is being produced and being shared with the same people. People with the same lived experiences.

EKOW STONE

My experience at the farm has honestly been pretty blessed, honestly, like, almost everybody at the farm is Black. So the opportunities for anti-Black racism to come up have been very, very limited, just by like, the sheer demographics of who I work with.

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THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

I just see places—like Ghana, where my father is from—being heavily exploited by these multinational corporations and industrial interests all the time for resources. And those resources get bought and manufactured, shipped around the world, and then introduced into the North American corporate economy. So, why can’t we just cut out the middleman? Why can’t we just have a food system where the plantain is not grown in Guatemala by Dole, but is actually grown in the Caribbean or in West Africa by Black people, local farmers, and is shared directly with Black communities in Toronto. I know it might sound very neoliberal, but like, I don't think it's some sort of crude capitalist dream. I mean, I think Black people working in solidarity economically will in itself be very disruptive.

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I'm not really about trying to get included into white institutions. I don't really care to be a part of anything that white people have built for themselves. You know what I mean? That's their thing. And they can have it. I'm interested in the economic sovereignty, cultural sovereignty, food sovereignty of Black people. So, you know, finding a way that we can pull resources, get land for ourselves and by ourselves is something that is more of interest to me. Instead of putting time and energy into reforming and becoming more integrated into these white institutions, it just seems like a lot of that energy can be put into trying to develop our own, as we try to sort of cohabitate and exist in these ecosystems. It doesn't necessarily need to be an

antagonistic thing. Basically, you can just stay over there, you can give us some money because of the unjust ways that y'all have made this money (through colonialism and exploitation) to ease your conscience or whatever, and whether you want to support or not, we can build up our own thing over here.


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EKOW STONE


ROASTED CHICKEN BY LALI MOHAMED

Somali Seasoning Xawaash reminds me of the shoreline my mother grew up on. A small peninsula on the horn of Africa. A country held affectionately by the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

INGREDIENTS l chicken

It’s been 18 years since I’ve seen my mother and the rustic scent of toasted seeds, pods and bark still remind me of that shoreline. Since then, cooking has become a way for me to whisper I love you to my friends and my partner, to hold on to something that once was. Sometimes, it’s a way to return to that shoreline in my memory.

l

Here, you combine cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon bark and whole cloves to create a quartet of flavours that sing. I toast, you grind, we season.

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

Roasted Chicken with Baasbas As the days get darker, nothing brings warmth to our kitchen like roasted chicken. Tender, juicy chicken with crispy skin. A brine, like buttermilk, goes a long way in keeping your chicken tender. And a little baking powder in your seasoning will help you get perfect crispy skin.

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buttermilk

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baking powder

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cinnamon clove

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chili

l

cumin

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thyme

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ed pepper flakes

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salt & pepper

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cilantro

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scallions

l

lemon or lime

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TIME TO COOK! 1 Place that chicken in a buttermilk bath overnight. Add thyme, salt, pepper. 2 The next day drain that buttermilk and pat your chicken dry with a paper towel 3 Combine baking powder, cinnamon, clove, chili, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

5 Squeeze lemon or lime over chicken and sprinkle with scallions and cilantro. Enjoy!

Sometimes I like to drizzle baasbas, a Somali hot sauce, on my chicken. Throw cilantro, a few green chilis, garlic, lemon juice and vinegar in a blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Dip or drizzle to your heart's content!

ROASTED CHICKEN

4 Roast those wings for 40mins, in a preheated oven at 400ยบF, flipping halfway

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MISIR

BY EDEN HAGOS

This recipe reminds me of my family. It’s one of the first Ethiopian recipes I learned and the dish I eat most often. When I think of misir, I remember dinner with my grandma and extended family. In Ethiopian Orthodox Christian tradition, fasting from meat and dairy twice a week and weeks leading up to holidays is a big part of the culture. I looked forward to those days because I knew I’d have lots of misir. My mom taught me how to make this dish before I moved away for university. Both my parents taught me a few essential dishes I needed before I left. Eating misir makes me feel at home. TSome food (fasting food—the Ethiopian vegan dishes) are some of my favourite Ethiopian foods. It's always delicious, flavourful, hearty and affordable. No matter what, I know I can add some berbere spice to some lentils or get some turmeric, cabbages, and other delicious vegetables in a pot and make something so comforting.

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

Misir is one of the easiest vegan Ethiopian recipes to make. I encourage everyone to make a pot of misir for themselves and enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS l 11/2 cup of red lentils 1/4 cup of crushed tomatoes

l

1 large onion; finely chopped

l

1 jalapeño pepper

l

3 tbsp of berbere (Ethiopian spice mix)

l

2 cloves of garlic

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4 tbsp of oil

l


TIME TO COOK! 1 In a medium pot, heat a couple teaspoons of canola oil. Add finely chopped onions and cook until caramelized. 2 Add Berbere spice and finely chopped garlic and stir. 3 Add lentils, crushed tomatoes and just enough water to let the mixture simmer and cook through lentils 4 Once the misir begins to thicken add a whole jalapeĂąo pepper.

MISIR

5 Serve with 100% Teff Injera or rice if you don’t have access to injera bread.

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ACKEE & SALTFISH

A STORY BY MAAILAH BLACKWOOD

I’ve been a pescatarian for about 3 and a half years. That presents a lot of challenges when it comes to eating traditional Jamaican foods, because this means no oxtail, beef patties, curry goat or anything of the sort. But one thing that I’ve still been able to eat (thank god) is ackee and saltfish—the national food of my home country, Jamaica. This recipe reminds me of my big, loud, funny, complicated, and loving family. On Thanksgiving, Christmas mornings, Easter, and after mass on Sundays I’d wake up with the delicious aroma of grandma’s cooking and I’d find her in the kitchen making ackee and saltfish. Having emigrated to Canada at a really young age, I have a complex relationship with my Jamaican heritage, which often leaves me feeling alienated and like a foreigner observing my own culture.

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

However, my love and knowledge of this dish, the national dish, is something that I will always have with me—thanks to my grandma, and I can’t wait to share it with a family my own one day.

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Jamaicans have a very strong oral tradition, and many stories, songs and recipes are passed down through generations by watching, listening and learning. As such, when I asked my grandma if there was a recipe for this she replied, “mi nuh cook with recipes.” Eventually, after spending enough time with her in the kitchen and watching her make this dish, I think I have it down pat.


Below is a conversation we had as I watched her make it one Sunday morning: GM: First you have to soak the salt fish (overnight if possible) MB: How much salt fish and ackee? GM: Half pound of ackee and half pound of salt fish MB:

Are we using canned ackee?

GM: NO! Mmm-mmm mi nuhuh cook with tin ackee—, no, mi nuhuh like it. MB: Okay grandma. No tin ackee. What are we doing now? GM: Boil the ackee and the salt fish MB:

For how long?

GM: Yes. MB:

Until caramelized?

GM: No. MB: Okay? So how do you know when the ackee is cooked? GM: You try it…. Until it’s soft. MB:

And the salt fish?

GM: Until it’s not as salty MB:

Okay, it’s done. Next?

GM: Put the ackee in the pan with the onions and tomatoes. MB:

Then what?

GM: You just boil it until it’s cooked… 1 hour, 3 quarter hour (45 mins) Now what else do we put in it?

GM: See mi nuhuh cook it like some people… mi nuh put red pepper, just tomato and onions. Like when they cook it, they put red pepper and all sorts of sweet pepper. mmmmmmm. Mi nuh grow up with it suh. Oliver* seh all you need to put in it is Tomatoes and black pepper. MB:

Got it! Okay so now we fry the onion?

e u n i t Con

ACKEE & SALTFISH

MB:

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GM: You mix it up, then put black pepper. I like a lot of oil in there, but no body is cooking with a lot of oil these days and I like a lot of black pepper. MB:

Ah! Wait what you doing now?

GM: Turn the stove on high to stem up the fish with the tomatoes and the thing. MB:

The what?

GM: The tomatoes and the fish and everything MB:

Oh okay.

GM: And then turn of the stove and cover it

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

*Jamaican Samuels, King of Comedy in Jamaica

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ACKEE & SALTFISH


JERK CHICKEN FRIED RICE BY TRISTIAN LEE

This is a comfort dish that takes two cultures that I grew up in and mashes them together into one tasty dish! My parents used to make fried rice as a quick weeknight dinner, and jerk chicken was an occasional treat. This is the best of both worlds. This is one of my favourite things to make, because you can scale it up or down depending on how many people you want to cook for. With the marinade you can do it quick and easy, or you can put more of the ingredients together yourself. It all depends on how much time you have on your hands. You get the nice heat and kick from the Jerk Chicken marinade while the nutty flavour of the sesame oil ties it all together. On days where you have some leftover chicken and cooked rice, it makes for a more interesting meal than the usual meal prep. Marinating the chicken can be done overnight, but if you don’t have that kind of time, at least a half an hour works.

YIELD

PREP TIME TIME

SERVING

up to 24 hours 35 mins 1, with leftover marinade

INGREDIENTS FOR THE JERK SAUCE For the Marinade Buy a bottle of jerk marinade at the store if you are short on time, or: 1 medium onion, finely chopped

l

2 scallions, chopped

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2 scotch bonnet chillies chopped (if you can’t find them at your grocery store, 2 Thai chillies without seeds will work). If you don’t want too much head, opt for 1 jalapeño, seeded.

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3 cloves of garlic, minced

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1 tbsp of Five Spice Powder

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1 tbsp of allspice berries, coarsely ground

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1 tbsp of black pepper, coarsely ground

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2 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 tsp of dried thyme

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1 tsp of nutmeg (freshly grated if you have it)

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

l

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½ cup of soy sauce (you can use Tamari as a substitute)

l

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

l


INGREDIENTS FOR THE FRIED RICE l 2 skin on bone-in chicken thighs 150g fridge cold cooked rice (jasmine, basmati, brown, or black rice will all work and yield interesting results)

l

1½ tbsp of sesame oil

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1 tsp of oyster sauce

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1 tbsp of butter (you can omit this if you are lactose intolerant or opt for 1 tsp of ghee)

l

1 pinch of sesame seeds for garnish

l

green onions for garnish (optional)

e u n i t Con

JERK CHICKEN FRIED RICE

l

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TIME TO COOK! Making the Marinade Cut up all your ingredients for the marinade. Don’t worry too much about evenness or fineness. We’re going to be pulverizing it all, anyways. Seed the Scotch Bonnets. The seeds contribute to the overall spiciness of the dish. We want it hot, but not unbearable. Put all the ingredients for the marinate (except for the Scotch Bonnets) into a food processor (a blender will work just fine) and pulse until you have a coarse paste. Add the Scotch Bonnets last and pulse for 2 seconds. Marinating the Chicken Take your chicken thighs and cover them liberally in marinade. Poke holes into the flesh of the chicken thighs to let the marinade soak in deeper. Put the rest of the marinate in a storage container for later use (it will keep for about 5 days depending on how much it has been blended).

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Put in the chicken in the fridge for up to 24 hours (preferably at least 30 minutes). Take the chicken thighs out of the marinade and place them on a rack or a plate and put them back in the fridge to let them dry out (this can be done for up to 12 hours). The trick with drying them out is to help them get crispy in the oven.

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Cooking the Chicken Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If you have an air fryer, you can preheat it to the same temperature. Put the chicken on the top rack for 35 minutes. In an air fryer, about 25 minutes should do the trick. The skin of the thighs should be crispy. If not, put the chicken back in on broil for 2–3 minutes. Take the thighs out and let them cool slightly on a plate or cutting board. When cooled, cut up the chicken into bite size pieces, making sure there are no bones. Take your green onions (if you want them) and cut them into little coins. Put these on the side, separately, to add into the rice. Making the Fried Rice Add the butter to a skillet or non-stick pan on medium heat. When you get little bubbles, you know the butter is ready. Add your cold rice and oyster sauce to the pan on high heat. Let the rice start to heat thoroughly. Once this is done and the oyster sauce is incorporated, add the sesame oil on top. Take your chicken thighs that you’ve placed aside and add it into your fried rice. Mix around until everything is incorporated and the chicken smells fragrant. Place onto a plate and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Add soy sauce/ sesame oil to taste. Enjoy!


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JERK CHICKEN FRIED RICE


BUILDING SOLIDARITY WITH MIGRANT WORKERS

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

A CONVERSATION ELIZABETH MUDENYO

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How are you engaged in the food system? My name is Elizabeth. I am a community engaged artist and organizer. I’m a volunteer for Justice for Migrant Workers (also known as Justicia). Justicia is a volunteer-based collective that has roots here in Ontario, and across the country in other places like British Columbia. We do a lot of organizing and advocacy work around fighting for migrant farm worker rights. I started volunteering for them in 2016, after going to a screening of ‘Migrant Dreams’ (a documentary about workers in Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Program). After watching it, I was like ‘what is going on? And how can I get involved?’ Before seeing the film I had no prior knowledge of or participation really in the food system. And when I saw the film, Justicia was about to kick off this ‘Harvesting Freedom’ campaign. It was a caravan from Toronto to Ottawa, recognizing fifty years of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. And they wanted to do a fundraising event in Toronto. My background is particularly in project and events management, so I was like, ‘events? That’s something I know how to do!’ So that was my first engagement with the collective—organizing this open mic session—and it’s grown over the years. I’m part of the social media committee now, where we do a lot of awareness raising and public education. What’s wrong with our current food system? This program is designed in such a way that it is particularly Black and brown folks being


Even though our entire food system relies on the participation of these workers, they face severe food insecurity. They work more than twelve hours a day, make less than minimum wage. They’re tied directly to one employer. They live in these cramped housing conditions. They have limited access to healthcare, or employment insurance, all the benefits that Canadians have. There were immigration programs that preceded this one that invited white folks to come here to work, and they didn’t face these same barriers. They were able to get permanent residency. Black and brown migrant workers have no pathways to permanent residency here because they don’t come from, you know, the ‘global north.’ They come here, year after year, spend months working here—removed from their families, just making enough to send back home. But they don’t actually have the opportunity to apply for citizenship, or to make a home here. You know? It’s this idea that they can contribute to the economy, but they don’t have the right to benefit from it. It’s reminiscent of the plantation model in so many ways. And the aesthetics of the food system is that agriculture is, you know, white family-run farm. While in the background there’s this Black and brown labor that is totally erased. Voices that are totally erased, deaths that are totally erased.

What needs to change? What we’ve heard from the workers themselves is that they want the opportunity to apply for permanent residency. Access to the benefits they pay into. We want open work permits, so they're not tied to the employers—no more indentured labour. There needs to be more of this separation between their labour and their humanity, you know? We need to create decent living conditions —conditions that don’t imply that they’re just workers, but that they’re people. People who can actually make a home here. People who can form and build communities. Change needs to happen in the towns where these farms are, too. So many of these communities are mostly white, and these Black and brown workers are seen as the ‘other.’ These communities need to be rebuilt, permanently shifted to reflect the workers that live there too. People need to get used to Black and brown folks being around because they live there. And they need to see them as whole people, as part of the community, not just as workers. I think we need to do more relationshipbuilding, too. Like we need to continue to grow that solidarity, those connections that we have with workers as a community of organizers.

ELIZABETH MUDENYO

extracted from their home countries—from the Caribbean, and Mexico, and Guatemala. And they’re being exploited for their labour.

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CURRY CHICKEN BY KELISHA MAY

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

Curry chicken has been a staple in my home. It brings about fond childhood memories where family get-togethers were common. As weird as it may sound, my mother's curry chicken recipe takes me back to good times. Though the curry chicken recipe I use isn't EXACTLY like my mothers, she claims to really enjoy it (which is an ego booster because she's a tough critic). Playing around and figuring out how to make this recipe my own has been a meaningful experience for me, especially right now with Covid-19 being so unpredictable and scary. 2020 has brought a lot of change with it. Grief, sadness, loneliness has definitely been themes during this time for me, but the pandemic has allowed me to reconnect with my family and cook together, and this has brought me so much joy. This curry chicken recipe has brought me a lot of peace and joy, and I'm quite thankful.

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I have been quarantining since the beginning of March and while my entire family and I have been stuck indoors, I've been practicing my cooking skills. I want to give a heads up before talking about my curry chicken recipe —I'm not the greatest at cooking. I come from a long line of fabulous Jamaican cooks, and unfortunately, that skill did not trickle down to me. Still, I have found much peace in learning how to cook lately, and my parents (who are brutally honest by the way) have taken a liking to my curry chicken. So here is my recipe!

INGREDIENTS l 1/4 cups of olive oil (however you can use any type of oil that you have) 1 large yellow/golden onion, chopped

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2 garlic cloves, chopped

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2 tbsp of curry powder (I use whatever curry powder I have laying around the house)

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thyme, to taste (I LOVE thyme, I can't really say how much I use, but I know I use A LOT. Let your spirit guide you and tell you how much to use)

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half a scotch bonnet pepper (if you really like spice like my family and I, keep the seeds in)

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1 cup of water

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1 pinch of sea salt

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1 pinch of black pepper

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1 pinch of goya adobo

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1 pack of halal chicken that is thoroughly cleaned and skinned (you can use any kind of chicken)

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1/2 cup of water

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TIME TO COOK! 1 Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, add in your chopped onion, curry powder, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, and thyme. 2 When onion starts to golden, add in your chicken and stir until chicken is covered with curry powder. 3 Put the skillet lid over the skillet so that it starts to create gravy. Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir regularly so it doesn't stick to the skillet (or use a non-stick skillet/pot if you have because it'll save you the stress and annoyance of meat sticking to the pot.) 4 Depending on how the gravy is looking (if it's too thick or you don't have much gravy to begin with) you can add half a cup of water to the chicken. Stir the curry chicken around and put the lid back on the skillet. 5 Cook for 45 minutes and ensure chicken is not pink! 6 Serve with white rice, rice and peas, quinoa, etc. Enjoy! CURRY CHICKEN

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JERK CHICKEN PLANTAIN BURGER BY SHAMIKA GREENE-ROSE

Taste of the Caribbean was the food festival to be at last summer in Montreal. The street was filled with a distinct smell of barbeque and spice, the colours were vibrant, and the music was “tun up”. I was on the hunt for a much-hyped Plantain Burger from a very popular Jamaican restaurant. I arrived at their stand and the line was long; but I knew there was no way I was leaving this festival without that burger. Half an hour later, I got my burger and braced myself for a bite—and I wasn’t blown away. I was actually disappointed! It was a regular cheeseburger, but with a plantain bun. I thought, “who eats a burger and plantain? Why would you put beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise between plantain?”

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

Although disappointing, that burger inspired this recipe. I’m not sure if it's original, but I haven’t seen anything like it. Tender, spicy, pulled jerk chicken and creamy coleslaw sandwiched between two sweet, crispy plantain “buns”. Add a side of rice and peas and enjoy! This burger is a combination of what I would normally eat plantain with— although, for us Caribbean’s, plantain eat with everything! That being said, feel free to make your own plantain burger creations and tag me! @theshamikarose

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A little about me, I’m a Jamaican-Canadian who grew up in Scarborough. I’m currently studying nutrition with hopes to be a dietitian. I think it's important to recognize that your cultural food is just as nutritious as the food advertised by food guides, meal programs, etc. I find that when people try to eat “healthier”, they often reduce the consumption of their cultural foods. We are in the process of decolonizing many aspects of our lives, and our diet should be one of them.


YIELD

SERVING

8 burgers

INGREDIENTS l 1–3 pieces of bone-in chicken thighs, skin on or off (dark meat is best for pulled chicken; breasts would be too dry) 2 tbsp of jerk seasoning (you can make your own or you can buy one, Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning)

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¼ cup of jerk marinade (again, you can use your own. I used Grace Jerk Marinade)

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2 ripe plantains, 2 green (unripe) plantains (green plantains help firm the bun, while the ripe plantains add sweetness. Keep in mind, the riper the plantain, the sweeter the plantain bun).

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coleslaw (avocado slices are a great substitute!)

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Use your discretion with these measurements, I’m not a professional! These also work perfectly as sliders! Just make your plantain patties smaller.

e u n i t Con

JERK CHICKEN PLANTAIN BURGER

vegetable oil

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TIME TO COOK! Instructions for the chicken 1 Season your chicken as you normally would—everybody does it differently! If you’ve made jerk chicken before, season and prepare the chicken as you like it. After seasoning the chicken, add the Walkerswood Jerk Season, mix and let marinate for a couple hours or overnight. 2 Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Using the stove-top, place chicken in a pan (I used an iron-cast pan) and brown on both sides on medium heat. Add the Grace Jerk Marinade, cover the pan with an ovenfriendly lid (I covered it with foil paper). 3 Bake, covered, for 90 mins, or until the chicken is extremely tender.

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4 Remove chicken from the oven and transfer it to a large bowl. With two forks, begin shredding the chicken (it should fall off the bone).

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5 While shredding your chicken, put the pan back on the stove-top, uncovered, and reduce the leftover liquid by bringing it to a boil. Add the sauce to your shredded chicken (use as little or much as you like).


Instructions for the plantain buns 1 On the stove-top, heat vegetable oil on medium-low 2 Peel and slice your plantains in halves and lightly fry in oil (do not cook all the way through). 3 Place lightly fried plantain slices in a large bowl and mash together. Add a pinch of salt. 4 Make patties out of the plantain mash (about ½ an inch in height and 3-1/2 inches wide. If your making sliders, reduce the width, but keep the height) 5 Fry your plantain patties, about a minute on each side for 6–10 mins, depending on your stove. 6 Let dry on paper towel.

JERK CHICKEN PLANTAIN BURGER

7 Assemble chicken, coleslaw, and plantain buns and enjoy!

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CARVING OUT SPACES FOR BLACK VOICES A CONVERSATION HANSEL IGBAVBOA

How are you engaged with the food system? So I'm an artist, a storyteller, a creative entrepreneur. That's how I like to define myself as just a storyteller in general. I have learned and practiced over the past few years to bring my art and storytelling into the food space. I am currently involved with doing research on the contemporary and historic interaction of Black peoples and the food system in Canada and then capturing that interaction using art, film and other means of storytelling.

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

Food has always been of great significance in my life. I always wanted to be a farmer when I was a kid. And that interest in food led me to organizing around student food insecurity on my university campus So, it kind of came full circle—with me now organizing with Black farmers, food growers, food activists, and others in the community.

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What is wrong with our current food system? To understand what is wrong, we must first ask ‘who is the food system serving?’ Is the system providing for those who are hungry in more ways than craving or needing food? Or, is it constructed to serve deeply racist, colonial structures that run on a simulation of scarcity? One that denies people their basic human rights? I have come to believe that the latter is the reality of the current food system in Canada. Everything is wrong with the system—from the use of temporary migrant labour in the agro-industry, to limited access to food for communities suffering at the hands of state-sanctioned oppression, and the overdependence on food charity.


for me as a young Black person, "Food has always And emerging into the food space, where is my Where do I fit in here? When been of great opportunity? my needs and experiences are rarely in the food space, where am I significance in reflected supposed to come in? I say we throw it all and instead look to more sustainable my life." away, community based food systems. What do you want to see changed? What I want to see changed in Canada, is for Black folks to be able to have more control over how our food is produced, and what kind of food is being consumed. I want for us to have more communityfocused and community-based local food systems that actually serve us I want a system that is liberated from the shackles of a racist, colonial regime. One that respects the land, as well the lives that live and thrive off it with love and respect.

HANSEL IGAVBOA

For this to happen, it will require more than just food charities, it will require radical shifts in social, economic and political structures that continue to keep people impoverished, and subject them to racism and other state-sanctioned violence.

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CRANBERRY SPICE CAKE BY ANNA RUSSEL

Oddly enough, I actually found this recipe in a Walmart flyer about 10 years ago. I tried it one year at Christmas and it instantly became a hit with my family. The subtle cinnamon; crunchy pecans; tangy cranberries and sweet lemon icing combine to create a deliciously simple dessert that, for me, packs a lot of the goodness, scents and tastes of the holidays into one dish.

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Out of all the dishes I make—even full meals like dinner, lunch, or breakfast—this is the recipe that always gets the most attention every year. Over the years, I’ve altered the recipe to suit the consistency and texture that I like. This recipe has travelled from Toronto to the West coast of Canada in B.C., all the way down to Jamaica for my extended family to try. I’ve shared the recipe with so many family and friends, and found myself making four or five extras to give away last year because of the high demand. It’s truly a staple at my family dinner table every Christmas and I feel, at this point, the holidays would be incomplete without it.

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When it comes to history and recordkeeping within Black communities, at least within my own personal experiences, knowing our histories can be challenging. Being from Jamaica, and then being here in Toronto, in the diaspora, we’ve been removed twice from our homeland. So the ability to maintain records, to know where you come from, becomes challenged. This recipe is the start of creating my own history. For myself, and for my family in the future. When my mom cooks ackee or oxtail, she doesn’t write it down, it's just in her head. These recipes

are passed down almost like broken telephone in this oral tradition. But so much gets lost as a result. I love this recipe because it's something that I found that resonates with my family, I’ve written it down and recorded it, and I know I can bring it forward to share with future generations— almost as a way of making up for the lost history of our past.


INGREDIENTS FOR THE CAKE BATTER Dry Ingredients 1 ½ cups of flour

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1 tsp of baking soda

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1 tsp of baking powder

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1½ tsp of cinnamon

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¼ tsp of nutmeg

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¼ tsp of salt

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Wet Ingredients ¾ cup of milk

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¼ cup of 18% cream

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2 tsp of vanilla yogurt

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2 eggs

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1 cup of brown sugar

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½ cup of melted (not steaming) butter

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¼ cup of chopped pecans

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2 cup of frozen/fresh cranberries

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INGREDIENTS FOR ICING ½ a lemon (squeezed juice—fresh lemon works best)

TIME TO COOK! 1 Preheat oven at 350°F. Coat a loaf metal tin with a thin layer of butter and flour (or however you do). 2 Whisk dry ingredients together in a smaller bowl. Whisk wet ingredients together in a bigger bowl (except butter). 3 Add dry mix to wet mix slowly while whisking the bigger bowl. 4 Melt butter and add it to the mix, whisking as you do. 5 Stir in pecans with a spoon. Rinse cranberries and add to the mix, stirring them in. 6 Add mix to loaf pan and put in oven for 70-80 min at 350°F. 7 When cake is done, check it’s cooked through and put it by the side to cool. 8 Meanwhile, get another bowl and pour in half of icing sugar. Then add the lemon juice. Add icing sugar as necessary until the icing is just thick enough to lightly coat the cake.

¾ cup or as needed of icing sugar

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9 When cake is cool, pour icing over it and serve. Enjoy!

CRANBERRY SPICE CAKE

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A MOTHER'S LOVE

Before my mother's tongue I never knew Ackee to be a traditional fruit Unaware of kitchen tables that bread cultural truths Overwhelmingly present in every soulful steps taken in preparation of this food Before my mother's hands

A POEM BY KAREEM BENNETT I never knew curry chicken would withstand walls beyond my mother's kitchen to not only nourish the souls of our stomachs but sink in to souls of our linguistic functions A wise man and/or woman once said friends are like ginnip, you won't know if there good until yuh bust them skin. From this, the analogy I extracted became not only an ancestral gift but a pathway to where language, love and culture exists From Jamaica to Toronto, my mother has engraved her ethereal prints from a sands and soils to damaged concrete mix. From community oriented parishes to 12 story buildings made of steel and bricks.

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Before my mother's love I stood as an image of my father and a mother's son both willing to sacrifice everything they are to manifest everything that I am.

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Origin of "A Mother's Love" I am the youngest of 5 children that my mother raised here in Toronto. Writing this poem gave me an opportunity to embrace how much of a powerful figure my mother is in my life. Donna Bennett was born Aug 1, 1966 in St. Ann's, Jamaica. Growing up, my mother never had the opportunity to grow up in a two-parent household, but being raised by her Aunt, Grandmother & Grandfather proved to treat itself as more of an impactful foundation for growth. My mother is my best friend. Poetry was her first love growing up in a parish—she idolized Louise "Miss Lou" Bennett for her powerful poetry. My mother, since arriving in Canada,

has encountered and conquered many adversities that come with migrating to North America from the Caribbean— challenges such as employment, education, housing and poverty. Her heritage and culture is what has kept her wealthy through generations beyond material luxuries. She instilled in us things the academic institutions never took the time to comprehend, teaching us about life from the comfort of our living rooms and the dinner table in our kitchen. Through this, we were able to not only participate in a dialogue that shaped our language, but learn more about ourselves as we grew older.

A MOTHER'S LOVE

Artist Statement & Poem Dialogue Kareem Bennett is a multidisciplinary creative, community youth worker, and mental health advocate based out of Toronto, ON. From living on the margins as a young boy into young adulthood, his work serves as expressions of lived experiences manifested as a third generation Jamaican/Canadian male youth from inner-city Toronto. From mental health to racism/sexism, his creative works focus on creating dialogue for the unhealed and unheard looking for an outlet to express themselves. Whether blending elements of poetry, storytelling, neo-soul and hip hop to illustrate his narrative experiences, or photography and vintage aesthetic styles of film, Kareem strives to build towards open concepts of Black Masculinity through his creative works and invites dialogue to address the challenges young black men face in our communities.

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OREO BIRTHDAY COOKIES

BY CHANEL MCBEAN "BUTTERCREAM BEANIE" There’s someone celebrating a birthday somewhere in the world... Birthdays are a big deal where I am from! My birthday, January 10, is one of the biggest. Big up Capricorns! Gang Gang Gang! Birthdays are great to reflect and celebrate. I try to make a bucket list of things to do that will make me happy. Even if I don't get a chance to do them all, I’m content spending my day with loved ones, good food and baked treats.

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

This yummy cookie is literally some of my favourite things combined and great for celebrating or just to have! The OG chocolate chip cookie is classic and Oreo cookies are bomb too. I love it when my chocolate chip cookie is a little soft, chewy, moist and has crispy edges so this cookie is a hybrid between the classic chocolate chip cookie and an Oreo sugar cookie with sprinkles bursting through. Now you tell me, doesn't that sound delicious?!

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This recipe always puts me in a good mood and reminds me of good birthdays. Not only do I like to make it for mine but I like to make it for my friends and family members' birthdays too. But it's great for any occasion really, like a Sunday bake with the kids. It really is a great pick me up. If you’re feeling a bit down, the chocolate chips, Oreo bits and sprinkles can change up anyone's mood. It's also comforting having a good chocolate chip cookie to enjoy with milk, or almond milk for plant-based folks. I highly recommend giving this recipe a try, it's a party for your taste buds!


YIELD

PREP TIME

2 hours 10 mins

TIME

11 to 13 mins

DURATION

7 days, dough lasts for 3 months

SERVING

24 people

INGREDIENTS l 2 1/2 cups of flour 2 tsp of cornstarch

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1 tsp of baking powder

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1 tsp of baking soda

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1 tsp of salt

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1 cup of butter, softened (room temperature)

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1/2 cup of granulated sugar

TIME TO COOK! 1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. 2 In your stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together on medium speed 3–4 minutes or until light and fluffy. 3 Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Then, add vanilla extract and beat until smooth. 4 Turn down your mixer to low and add in flour mixture in three (3) intervals beating after each addition until well combined. Lastly, add in chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, Oreo bits and sprinkles.

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1 whole egg (room temperature)

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2 egg yolks (room temperature)

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1 tbsp of vanilla extract

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1 1/2 cup of chocolate chips

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1/2 cup of white chocolate chips

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1/2 crushed Oreo cookie bits

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1/2 cup of rainbow nonpareils (sprinkles)

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5 Use ice cream scoop or a spoon to scoop cookie dough and roll into balls (about tablespoon size). Place cookie dough balls onto cookie sheet. And refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 6 Place on parchment paper lined cookie 11–13 minutes then allow cookies to cool for at least 4–5 minutes then enjoy OREO BIRTHDAY COOKIES

11/2 cup of brown sugar

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TEFF COFFEE CAKE BY HANNAH GODEFA

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

The idea for this cake came to me when I INGREDIENTS FOR THE CAKE started to think about how versatile the l 1 for greasing the pans, a neutral oil teff grain is. It’s an ancient grain that is full of fiber, rich in iron and naturally gluten-free. l 250g of brown sugar Red teff flour bakes into a beautiful, rich l 3 large eggs brown. The form is influenced by the Austrian-German tradition of coffee cakes, l 1 cup of neutral oil (I use avocado) however the ingredients are staples of l 170g of teff flour Ethiopian culture. l 130g of all-purpose flour I am preceded by a history of extremely talented women. My mother is an innovative l 2 tbsp of cinnamon cook and illustrious baker. She was educated to be an engineer and then switched to a l 2 tbsp of baking soda lengthy career in medicine later on in life. But what I remember most growing up was l 1 tsp of salt the fresh loaves of steamed poppyseed l 80g of toasted walnuts, chopped bread on our kitchen counter every week. The counter is the center of our home— l 80g of toasted almonds, chopped meals are shared together religiously with l 11/2 tbsp of ground espresso boundless conversation and laughter.

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I can see my mother, sitting on her stool in the kitchen brewing coffee—every morning at dawn and occasionally in the afternoons on special occasions. She passes around the pan of roasted beans and gestures for guests to enjoy the scent and it permeates our home. This cake is an ode to her: the coffee cream—indulgent, the toasted almond—sharp and grounded, the sweetness—precise, not overwhelming.

2 tbsp of boiling water

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INGREDIENTS FOR THE FROSTING l 1 tablespoon of ground espresso 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

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1 teaspoon of maple syrup

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½ teaspoon of salt

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200ml of Greek yogurt

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250g of mascarpone cheese

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TIME TO COOK! 1 Prepare the cake first—preheat your oven to 350°F degrees. Use a neutral oil to grease two 9-inch cake pans and follow up with round parchment paper.

5 For the frosting, beat together mascarpone cheese and Greek yogurt until combined. Add espresso powder, brown sugar, salt and maple syrup until it's smooth. 6 Spread your frosting on the first cake, and add the remainder of your toasted walnuts and almonds. Then add the second layer and frost the top of the cake with remaining frosting and leftover almonds/walnuts.

2 In a bowl mix together brown sugar and eggs. Add your cup of neutral oil and mix well.

4 Divide the batter between the two cake pans evenly. Bake for approx. 40 minutes until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a wire rack to cool further.

TEFF COFFEE CAKE

3 In a separate bowl, bring together teff flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, salt. Add to egg and sugar mixture and fold the mix together with a spatula until combined. Separately, mix together your espresso powder and boiling water. Add to your overall mixture and fold half of your toasted walnuts (about 40g) into the batter.

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DISMANTLING RACIAL RESTAURANT HIERARCHIES

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

A CONVERSATION ADRIAN FORTE

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What’s your role within the food system? I'm a chef, consultant, culinary producer, I do private dine-ins. So I'm also a private chef. Food styling. I do a multitude of different disciplines within the same craft. But um, yeah, to sum it up, I'm a chef, but I wear many different hats. Where do you see anti-Black racism come up in the restaurant industry? I would say in all facets. Like, to be honest, it doesn't really happen to me now as much because of notoriety—people know me now. But when I was coming up in the industry, working as a line cook, stuff like that, what I found is that most of the guys who are general managers, or who work in front of house, they come from these small towns and move into downtown Toronto, and they have a certain mindset of how they feel about a certain racialized group, right. So, they have this mindset, and then they try to enforce those ideologies onto the rest of their non-Black or people of colour staff. And as a result of that, what ends up happening is that it creates this weird, toxic environment where, you know, they're all cracking jokes, and they're all saying these racist things, because the restaurant industry is very much a boys club. Like, we could just admit it—that’s what it is. Even when I was a chef, I had general managers that I would bump heads with, because of their views. Like they just talk a certain way and it's very difficult to curb their way of thinking. I've dealt with it in ownership, where I had a situation where someone was being


towards me. And I brought "I've seen staff get discriminatory it to the ownership of the restaurant, and were kind of just like, ‘oh, like that treated a certain they person could never be that way because I've him for years.’ And they kind of just way, because of known dismissed it. So I put in my two weeks cause it’s like you’re just gonna anti-Black racism, notice, dismiss what I'm saying to you because you like you know this person more? I've seen it all." feel You’re just not listening to your staff.

It’s also engrained in how the brigade system works—you know, it’s obviously from French cuisine, and it’s just literally a pyramid. The chef is at the top and everybody else trickles down, and respect works the same way. So I feel like the people like the dishwashers and the bussers, they get the least respect because they're at the bottom. And oftentimes, they are people of colour. Mhm. That's what it is, you know, when you first start off in the industry, you get hired, you start off, usually as a dishwasher, or a busser, or prep cook, and you have to prove your worth in order to move up. If so, you move up into

ADRIAN FORTE

But yeah, it's in every facet of the industry, from the cooks, to the servers, to the hostess, it's all there, I've seen customers get treated a certain way. I've seen preferential treatment, I've seen staff get treated a certain way, because of anti-Black racism, I've seen it all. It’s on so many different levels, you know? Like, throughout my career, as a cook, as a chef, as an owner, I've just seen so many different types of it. Sometimes it's passive, sometimes it's not. It really just depends on where you are and who you work with.

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THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

the brigade to be able to like be an actual line cook, and then eventually move up and you work, and you become an associate, and then move up, move up, that's just basically what it is, right? So a lot of the time, through systematic racial practices, the head chefs—or whoever's in charge of these restaurants—you know, even if they know someone's really good at their job, if they're a person of color, they'll keep them there for a little bit longer. Like, they don't even realize they’re doing it—it's like subconsciously, they're being racist. I've had situations where I've worked at restaurants and other people move up before me and I'm like, ‘I was here before this guy.’ And then they’re like ‘oh, well, you know, he works a little bit harder than you work,’ there's all these other different excuses, right? But it's very much a boys’ club, and people are always going to look out for people who look like them. So that's just what it comes down to. And sometimes they're just not even doing it consciously. They're subconsciously doing this, right? So it's a little bit more deeper than that.

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And with cancel culture, it’s a little bit more difficult to spot now more than ever. Everyone’s a little bit more on edge. So even if someone’s racist, they’re not going to show that because they know the ramifications. They’re not just come out and be like, ‘I don’t like Black people’ because they don’t want it to hit social media, they don’t want to get fired. So I feel like now, people are being more covert about their racism in the industry, but it’s there.

"To get respect as Black chefs, we have to collectively push the culture forward."


I think, first and foremost, we need to do away with tipping, and just pay people more money. Mhmm. Right, that whole system is flawed. I don't think it should be the onus of the patrons to make sure that workers are being compensated fairly—that’s the responsibility of the ownership. I think that's a major thing, especially now, people are going out there and risking their lives to serve you, so they should have a proper wage. Especially if you look at what the cooks make, because they are the ones who really feel it. Not the chefs, not the guys that are higher up in the brigade, the actual cooks that are just on the line. I remember being in line cook and having to survive literally off of scraps, because your pay is so bad. You're working all these hours. And I've seen so many different restaurants do so many things, for them to survive as a restaurant, like I've seen restaurants implement a stipend where they say to you, ‘oh, you're gonna get paid $150 a day,’ and then they'll try to get like 16 hours out of you, because they're paying you X amount of money, right? So it's like, these owners find all these different loopholes, and ways to save money, and to make money. So I think overall, that it would be a better

restaurant ecosystem if we just paid everybody more money. In terms of anti-Black racism, I think if we’re gonna fix the system, we need to provide more opportunities for Black people and people of colour, and I think that starts with us. Like we just need our own—if we have our own restaurants, our own businesses, we could hire our own. I always preach to other chefs of colour when I meet them, I'm like, we’re not in competition. Like, I want us to all do well, I want us to push the culture and the food forward. Because that's how we're going to make progress for ourselves. To get respect as Black chefs, we have to collectively push the culture forward. So whenever I meet other Black chefs, I try to support them as much as possible. Because for me to get the AfroCaribbean food to the point where I want it to get to, I need everybody else to push forward as well, in terms of creativity, and working together, and doing events— things like that. If you look at other cuisines that weren't getting respect before, they created that space for themselves by doing their own thing. So I think we need more cohesiveness in terms of how we're doing things. More solidarity. Working together. If we show value in the work we do collectively, then other people can see our value, we create our own value that way. ADRIAN FORTE

What would a just restaurant system look like to you? There just needs to be a complete overhaul. And one thing I could say is that with COVID-19 happening, it’s kind of pushed people to reanalyze the overall system. It doesn't work. And hopefully something new can be birthed out of this and people can learn.

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WATERMELON PIZZA BY NOEL CUNNINGHAM

Melon is the perfect comfort food, especially among the black community. It can be seen at all BBQ’s in the summer when in abundance. This dish is easy to make, creative and it’s also nutritious. This is one that the kids will also enjoy. It was created back 2017 for cool summer eats ideas and it’s a recipe that people enjoy making. I came up with the idea for this dish because I wanted the kids to think it was pizza. This is a fun way to get them eating their fruits, enjoying yogurt and staying hydrated.

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I love a good watermelon salad, watermelon and ginger drink. During the summer I enjoy sitting outside and enjoy a slice or two. Making this melon pizza is creative. I get to replicate a regular pizza but with all fruits. It’s cool and filling which makes a good snack.

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YIELD

TIME

10–15mins

SERVING

8–10 people

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FROSTING l 1 watermelon 1/4 cup of coconut yogurt

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4 strawberries, sliced in quarter

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4 raspberries, cut in halves

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8 blueberries

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2 ounces of pineapple, finely diced

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TIME TO COOK! 1 With a sharp knife, cut watermelon in half down the center. Cut a slice 2–3 inches thick. 2 Using a spatula, spread yogurt evenly over the watermelon and add fruits on top, as desired. 3 Sprinkle with freshly chopped mint or toasted coconut for extra sweetness, if desired.

WATERMELON PIZZA

4 Cut melon into 8 wedges and enjoy. I made this recipe in May 2018 for the Jamaica Gleaner’s “Fun treats for your tots this summer” food spread. But I believe that just about anyone will enjoy this juicy breakfast treat.

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SHUSHUMOW BY NATESHA

When we think of comfort food, we usually think of meals. But as a baker, I often think of desserts. If I think about Somali desserts, Shushumow would be first to pop in mind. That's how much it connects me to my culture. I know, it sounds crazy, but I even feel more Somali just by making it.

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Many are unfamiliar with Somali cuisine so I took this as an opportunity to showcase my favorite Somali dessert in hopes it becomes a favorite for you too. Shushumow is often enjoyed in holidays and celebrations. When family would come over, they would always make a quick stop to the Somali sweet shop to bring over xalwo (Somali tea candy), shushumow, and cookies. As a child, nothing was more exciting than running to the door to greet the guests, and receiving these special sweets. Now as an adult, whenever I eat shushumow, I am reminded of my childhood. Days of wide eyed wonder and excitement over the simplest things....Cookies!

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I learned to cook and bake at a very young age by watching videos online or the women around me. As I got older I would add my personal style to the dishes and developed passion for it. One summer, I was surfing YouTube and suddenly decided I should take my cooking to the next level. So I perfected every Somali dish I knew. It was super fun. Shushumow however, was difficult as I was very particular with how I wanted it to look and taste. I followed many recipes but the one I’m sharing here, is from xawaash restaurant owners and youtubers. I've tried many, but their shushumows were the best I've ever tasted. Cooking this dish makes me feel happy, at peace, and excited all at the same time. I love baking, but I love baking Somali desserts even more. It reminds me of the beauty of my people, and my country. It restores in me, hopes to someday restore the beauty and peace my country had for so long and lost so quickly to war. Although I have never been, I'll always refer to Somalia as "my country" as it's the land of my ancestors and parents. I have a deep love for my culture and people.


SERVING

50 shushumows

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SHUSHUMOW l 3 cups (420g) of all-purpose flour ¼ cup (50g) of granulated sugar

l

TIME TO COOK! 1 Measure the flour into a bowl, and add the sugar, salt & baking powder. 2 Add the oil. 3 Add the egg (or 3 tbsp of oil).

¼ tsp of salt

4 Add the water.

¼ tsp of baking powder

5 Mix well for 5 minutes, or 10 minutes if mixing by hand.

l

l

⅔ cup (158mL) of canola or vegetable oil

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1 large egg (or 3 tbsp of canola oil)

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⅔ cup of water

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INGREDIENTS FOR COATING l ½ cup of sugar ¼ cup of water

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6 Shape the dough into a disc and let it rest for 10 minutes. 7 Cut the dough into 1-inch balls. 8 Put the dough on the comb or fork (watch the video). 9 Flatten the dough on the comb. 10 Roll it up to shape the shushumow. 11 Deep fry the shushumow on medium heat for 10 minutes. 12 Transfer the shushumow to a colander. 13 Melt the sugar and water. 14 Add the shushumow. 15 Mix well until the sugar crystallizes.

SHUSHUMOW

YIELD

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RECLAIMING ANCESTRAL BLACK FOODS, RECLAIMING SOVEREIGNTY

How are you engaged with the food system? I’m a Ghanaian-Canadian Black woman, who was born in Ghana, but raised in Canada. I’ve lived in the Jane and Finch community for the past 20 years. And the community has played a role in terms of shaping my identity, shaping my lens, my perspective of the world, and so much of who I am, right? As a person, just in terms of what it means to be a Black person, or an African person living in Canada.

A CONVERSATION I’m someone who is interested in food. I'm

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ABENA OFFEH-GYIMAH

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interested in farming. Um, I'm interested in preserving ancestral foods. Literally, talking about ancestral foods and farming feels like it's a part of my blood. And I think a lot of this interest is really tied to health and wellbeing. I come from a family that is really rooted in health and wellbeing. So I think a lot of those things were implanted in me without really knowing it and have manifested as I became an adult. When I was younger, I developed terrible allergies after visiting an uncle in Japan. So I had to start learning about food and what to eat. Then I saw a job ad to work at a farm as a youth farmer. So I saw that and I thought— perfect. If I learned to grow my own food, I wouldn't have to eat the crap out there. I want to learn to grow my own food. So I applied. At Black Creek Community Farm. So I started as a youth farmer, growing food, and for me it's actually full circle because my grandmother is a farmer, right? Learning how to grow food for me was transformational, like seeing a seed. And


then seeing the seed put in the soil on the earth, learning about compost, learning about pollination, learning about Indigenous ways of growing, learning about combining and planting. It was a whole different world for me. I completely fell in love and I knew from then I wanted to grow food and be a farmer.

If you do research on a lot of ancestral foods, very often, unfortunately a lot of Black history on Black foods in this part of the world tends to start with slavery and colonization, right? But, if you do research about these ancestral foods—like millet, or teff—you’ll find that these foods were domesticated 4,000 years ago. Which means that Black folks on the African continent were growing, preserving, and saving food 4,000 years ago—they were not standing around waiting for white folks to come and rescue them. More than that, there was already trade happening back and forth back then. Like,

ABENA OFFEH-GYIMAH

What do you think is wrong with our current food system? Do you have 500 years to spare? Oh my God. Okay. Where do I start? Our current food system was intentionally built the way it is, on the backs of Black and Indigenous People to serve white, rich people. It's not just about race, it's also about capitalism, classism, and white supremacy. White supremacy—it's not about individual white people, it’s a way of seeing the world, right? In terms of language, in terms of policies, in terms of practice, in terms of education or religion. It goes all the way back to conquest.

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and banana came from Papua New "Everything in plantain Guinea, made its way to Madagascar, and over to Ethiopia in West Africa—over these cultures then 4000 years ago. So there’s this history of between Indigenous Peoples—one that goes back to trade didn’t necessarily involve colonization. And has to do with African Indigneous the community, this worldviews—‘property’ or ‘ownership’ wasn’t and it goes back a part of these cultures or languages. in these cultures goes back to the to preserving Everything community, and it goes back to preserving earth. the earth." the Then fast forward to when the Portuguese

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came to West Africa, dealing with gold, and saw that they could make money through slavery. They came with their Eurocentric philosophies around wealth, ownership, property, controlling other groups. And those are the values that the current food system was built on.

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Black people were brought over to North America as slaves, right. As property, as commodities—to grow food, and to build American capitalism, right? They grew indigo, they grew cotton, they grew sugar cane. They were disconnected from their own ancestral, Indigenous foods. And our ancestral food is literally a part of our DNA. So the very foundation of our existence in North America is rooted in this disconnection, this commodification—this system wasn't ever built for us to be free. So what I'm trying to say—by giving you this long history—is that it's a system that's been set in place, it's a system that has a language, it's a system that has tools. It's a system that


What does your dream food system look like? I think a system that honors, highlights, and gives the right to farmers who grow their own food. I think that the people who grow the food for us to eat should have ownership of the food system. Right. We can't have people who are farming, who have to buy their own lunches, have to buy their seeds, and then have to go to a corporation to sell their crops at a loss. We can't have 60% of cocoa growing in West Africa by farmers who don't even know what chocolate tastes like. How is that an acceptable system? So, I think it's having the people who grow the food having control of the food system. Looking at the values of sovereignty, really. And, and I think for me, starting there, and then we can reimage what is possible. A system where seeds are not owned. Instead they’re shared collectively by the people who grow it and by the community that grows it. It’s also looking at the impacts of globalization and making changes to our foreign policies. Our foreign policies have destabilized parts of the world, which forces people to leave their traditional lands to go work in other places. Like migrant farm

workers here who don’t get paid a fair wage. Or, tomato farmers in Ghana who sell their tomato farms because they aren’t making money, and leave to go work in a tomato factory in Spain just to be able to make a living. It just doesn't make sense. We need fair policies that don’t displace people, that make sure people get paid decent wages— we need to stop looking at things as isolated and understand that all of these systems are connected, right?

ABENA OFFEH-GYIMAH

has practices and policies. So even if we, you know, bring more Black people to the table, the system doesn’t get better because it’s still embedded in the language and the values of white supremacy. If you invite a bunch of Black people to the table, it’s just Black people on the necks of other Black people. Do you know what I mean? You can't, you can't eat at a table that was built to break your neck.

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MOSAIKO

BY ALEXANDRA LAMBROPULOS

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a mosaic is “a combination of diverse elements forming a more or less coherent whole.” This definition can also sum up my experience (and I’m sure many others) of growing up straddling the fence between different cultures at once. This can be tough, especially when you look like you belong to one culture more than the others, but I‘ve found that the best way to find my footing within all of them has been through food. The best part is that this connection can occur in a variety of ways, I’ve learned a lot just by making traditional dishes, reading about them, or just plain eating them. One of these foods is one of my favourite desserts, mosaiko, which in Greek literally means mosaic.

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The following recipe was passed on to me by a dear family friend during a recent visit to Greece, who helped to fill the void when my papou (Greek for grandfather) passed on by continuing to share with me cultural insights and bits of wisdom

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through one of the ways he enjoyed the most, cooking. We spent the entire day cooking our way through a series of dishes both familiar and unknown to me. This dessert was one of them. Yet in each bite of mosaiko, I am reminded of the marble cakes my papou would regularly make and send to us in a bright shoe box and the chocolate candies that would accompany my father after returning from each visit. In each slice, the speckled pattern reminds me of my own family’s unique mosaic of culture, history, and journeys that have brought us here to Canada. Perhaps this dessert’s greatest reminder is that the best way to learn about a culture is by sharing it. Mosaiko is powerful because it is not just for eating alone, but with others as it is shaped into logs that make it easy to slice or give, as is. I hope that you do share it with someone(s), and most importantly, I hope that you enjoy it.


INGREDIENTS l 200g of dark chocolate, coarsely chopped 150g of heavy whipping cream

l

125g of hazelnuts

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100g of sugar

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250g of butter

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100g of confectioner’s sugar

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5 tbsp of cognac or rum (optional)

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50g of cacao powder

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275g of Papadopoulos cookies (if you can’t find these, any ‘petit beurre’ type of cookies will do)

l

MOSAIKO

e u n i t Con 83


TIME TO COOK! To Make the Ganache 1 Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. 2 In a medium saucepan, add the cream and warm it until it just starts to simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. 3 Using a wooden spoon, mix the two together until fully combined. To Make the Hazelnut Brittle and Prepare The Cookies 1 Prepare a heat-proof plate or flat surface with parchment paper on it. 2 In a medium-sized pan with medium heat, add in the sugar and let it melt until it becomes like caramel. 3 Quickly add in the hazelnuts and stir so that it’s well coated.

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4 Scoop the mixture onto the prepared plate and flatten it to create an even layer and let it cool.

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5 Once it has hardened, use a rolling pin (or whatever else you have on hand) to break it into smaller pieces. 6 Take this time to also break up the cookies into smaller pieces.


To Make the Frosting 1 In a smaller bowl, using an electric beater or hand whisk beat the butter until it is soft. 2 Add in the confectioner’s sugar and cacao powder and mix until combined. 3 If adding cognac or rum, add it in here and mix until combined. Assembly 1 Add the hazelnut brittle pieces, the cookie pieces, and the final ‘frosting’ mixture to the ganache and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is well-coated. 2 Cut a large piece of plastic wrap and an equal-sized piece of parchment paper and layer one on top of the other. 3 Spoon the mixture onto the parchment paper according to your desired thickness. 4 Roll it up into a log shape, twists the ends to close, and place the mosaiko in the freezer until completely solid. 5 To eat, remove from the freezer, slice, and enjoy!

MOSAIKO

6 When finished, re-wrap and freeze for next time.

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FOOD POLICY FOR THE PEOPLE

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

A CONVERSATION MELANA ROBERTS

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How are you engaged in the food system? I wear many hats, but ultimately my work bridges the areas of social justice, community capacity building and social policy to address challenges in the food system. First and foremost I see myself as a community advocate, and second to that, a food policy expert and a bridge builder between institutions and communities and across different parts of the food system. At its core, my work focuses on bringing issues of equity, justice, access, power and governance into question to develop a local and national food system that is more reflective of community experiences and needs, particularly the interests of Black, and Indigenous peoples who are most impacted and disenfranchised by the structural inequities in our food system. There really isn’t enough discussion on how to bring an anti-Black racist lens into food policy work. We need to be asking, how can we use an anti-Black racist lens to improve our food system, meet people where they’re at, and address the systemic barriers that have left Black Torontonians 3.5 times more likely to be food insecure than white households in the City. We need to ask: who has the power to determine what the food system looks like, and what can we do to change it? The way I've approached this work has really evolved. I started by doing international community development work—mostly around poverty reduction, HIV/AIDS education and community health initiatives. I was keen to do work that challenged intergenerational poverty by building local


When I came back to Canada, I was eager to gain a better understanding of the local food system in Toronto and feel more connected to what I ate. That’s how I became involved with the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council. After attending two meetings, I applied to join the Council and in my first year was hired as Chair. I chaired the Council for four years, and that quickly led me into doing food policy work in various spaces. This work was so energizing because I was able to connect with so many residents

and youth who were doing such incredibly powerful work to address challenges from community food security, to cultural food growing, start a peer-to-peer farmer training series for seniors, pushing to get better local procurement from their universities, or trying to start a BIPOC youth farm. But I quickly became frustrated when it became clear this work was largely invisible in policy making spaces. What’s more, the people leading this work were largely absent from decision making processes that affected their day-to-day lives. That’s what made me think about how to create more opportunities for grassroots leaders and initiatives to access policy spaces. These questions quickly led me into the world of politics, where I became a political staffer for a City Councillor at Toronto City Hall. I was able to work on food issues and really began to build my own understanding of how policy can be used as a tool to shift the structural barriers that communities face. I think that's what led me to the work I do now – I'm currently the Chair of Food Secure Canada (FSC). FSC is a national policy advocacy organization, working with diverse food systems actors, like farmers, academics, Indigenous Peoples, nutritionists, community food organizations and others to advance food sovereignty through fighting for a more just, healthy, dignified and sustainable food system, that democratizes governance and supports people, communities and the environment. What is wrong with our current food system? The first thing that comes to mind is that

MELANA ROBERTS

capacity to empower communities to be the drivers of their own development, defined for and by themselves. I was fortunate to do this work with Black and Indigenous subsistence farming communities in Guyana (where my paternal family lives), Ecuador, Costa Rica and Guatemala, while working for a variety of organizations abroad. Living in rural jungles, and in remote mountain regions, far from stores and community markets, we grew everything we ate—my favourite of which were coffee and callaloo. That experience was really transformational for me. It was the first time I truly considered all the diverse parts comprising our system or the conditions under which my food was grown. For the first time, I understood that being connected to your food source and food systems can be an integral part of community healing, and connection, and was a viable way to live life. These communities were sustainable micro ecosystems, and despite living in material poverty were rich in community leadership, health, all the basic resources and of course, good food.

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our food system is very disjointed. We’re all dependent on food—whether we're animals, organisms, or people—we are all interdependent, and the fact is our decisions impact the environment and outcomes for other people, in our own community and beyond. Yet, the food system and policies created to support and administer it are very disconnected. We have more than 10 Government Departments that deal with food, and that is just at the Federal level. Decisions that have shaped our food system are often made in silos, which has created a food system that undermines the natural ecosystems that exists—disregarding traditional knowledge and small-scale regenerative approaches that build resilience and can improve community food security. These approaches ignore the complex and interlinked infrastructure and relationships that allow a food system to function effectively, and ultimately, undermine structural pathways to deliver on the right to food.

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The reality is, this disjointed approach does not impact all people equally. Racialized folks are disproportionately impacted—Black folks, Indigenous folks, people of color are least represented at food policy decision making tables, yet are overrepresented in statistics on low-wage, precarious food work, farming, food insecurity, chronic diet related disease and impacts of climate devastation. Temporary Foreign Workers, or migrant laborers, who are predominantly racialized—often from Mexico, Jamaica, or from other places in the Caribbean and Asia—come here to pick our food, are not paid fair wages, are unable to

benefit from our health system, have little to no freedoms to work where they choose or enjoy any of the benefits of life in Canada. They’re just used for their labor and then disregarded. Similarly, grocery store workers, many of whom are immigrants or are racialized, have been forced to put in extra hours throughout the pandemic but have not been compensated adequately for the increased health risk of working during this period. I am currently conducting policy research on farm land access, and the disparity and challenges faced by Black, Indigenous, youth, immigrant and other persons of colour in farming. These challenges are significant compared to non-racialized farmers, yet there is no policy framework to address the complex challenges around land access, capital, knowledge and access to labour they face. The lack of systemic interventions, despite the sheer burden faced by BIPOC communities, can be understood as part of a legacy of anti-Black racism, antiIndigenous racism, and white supremacy. The structures are upheld by policies and practices that are entrenched in Canadian institutions and reinforced by attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination, and is deeply embedded in our food system. So, I think that’s a fundamental challenge—both for us to grapple with and to combat. But if we hope to build a better food system for all, we cannot ignore the detrimental effects on our physical health, mental health, and emotional wellbeing.


What changes would you like to see? Right now I'm doing some research, as part of a policy leadership fellowship called Action Canada. My research is focused on exploring how to address barriers that diverse groups face, including Black or immigrant communities, Indigenous Peoples, women, youth, and LGBTQ+2Sii in entering the agricultural sector workforce. I think that’s one of the areas where I would like to see the most change. The agricultural sector is predominantly white, predominantly folks in that field have a certain class and background. So I think that there's a real opportunity to address a lot of inequities there, and see more community leadership, whether that's having more land in the hands of Black and Indigenous folks to be able to practice traditional ceremonies or teachings, connect with the environment or heal on the land. More opportunities to have space to share knowledge, and grow, and build community are a critical part of building a deeper connection to food work. There are so many incredible Black farmers here in the city who are completely disconnected, and experience significant challenges accessing land, accessing capital, accessing knowledge, sharing knowledge, and so on.

I’d really like to see more Black leadership in the food space. We need to create opportunities and incentives, and targeted benefits to have more Black folks in certain roles in the food system, so they can be compensated for their time and skills. I think there also needs to be a huge shift in governance, and what the leadership of our food system looks like—at every level. The decisions being made are not meeting the needs of our communities. It's clear: if we continue to exclude community voices from the conversation, if we continue to have a lack of political will to make decisions that are going to prioritize Black, Indigenous, and people of color, then I think these systems and deepening inequality will persist. I truly believe that people know what they need, what needs to be done, and what support is required—whether it's the funding, the resourcing, the space, or the connections to make it happen. So, from the seat that I'm sitting in, I’m wondering: how can we drive that? How can we create more capacity to build community leadership and power? Finally, I think I’d like to see big shifts in how we fund grassroots projects and groups doing food work. If we could improve access to stable funding and public space, we could really begin to propel the state of community capacity, resilience and leadership forward. I think the best part of the moment we’re in is that change is in reach, so the time for us to demand something better is now

MELANA ROBERTS

I think the greater awareness we can build is on how food policy is shaped by a history of colonialism, and discrimination, how it shapes our lives and can impact outcomes for BIPOC communities, the further we will be in addressing the most fundamental challenges facing our food future.

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JAMAICAN FRUIT CAKE BY SHAKIRA MOORE

The Jamaican Fruit Cake or as it is fondly referred to: Jamaican Christmas Cake is a spiced fruit cake, without which would make for a dull Christmas celebration. This cake is a combination of flavours and ingredients that bring delight to the dinner table. Much like our family, it, too, is a combination of unique personalities, each coming together to make the family uniquely what it is, especially during the Christmas holidays.

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I have fond memories of my childhood, watching my mom bake this cake. The highlight was not the cake itself but being able to lick the bowl and any remnants of batter. My sister and I would wrestle over who got to lick the wooden spoon. As I got older, I realized not all Christmas cakes are equal and so I got the recipe from my mom and would bake my own cake. Presenting to family to taste was nerve wracking because they didn’t mince their words in providing feedback. But it felt good seeing my family enjoy the Christmas cake; as sharing food is an act of love.

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There was a point; because of work and not spending time with family; my love for the Christmas cake faded. In making the effort to have family time I rekindled my love for the dessert and nothing beats catching up with family over a healthy slice of cake and a generous serving of Sorrel drink. Christmas cake is as Jamaican as Jerk Chicken! My holiday isn’t quite right without it! Anywhere I am in this world, if I can get a taste of home, all is well with me.

Our preference of the texture of the cake, how much wine or rum is used and how many fruits are used also mimic our family dynamics. There are family members who we connect with on a deeper level than we do with others. Christmas is the time where we make all the exceptions and indulge. There are people who will avoid alcohol all year, but will enjoy a slice or two, and if no one is looking, they’ll enjoy a third slice. As we choose to indulge and enjoy this delicious fruit cake, so should we try to enjoy the time spent with family as life can be so short. Be kind to yourself and to your family. Your family doesn’t have to be the one you’re born into, it’s also the one you choose. Whatever the circumstances, Christmas is the time you are reminded that love, unity, togetherness, forgiveness and making amends can be as sweet as the Jamaican fruitcake—if done with a sincere heart and genuine love.


INGREDIENTS l 1/2 lb of mixed fruits 1/2 lb of raisins

l

1 cup of red label wine

TIME TO COOK! Soaking Fruits Method 1 Chop fruits finely and place in a large glass jar with a cover.

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1 lb of butter

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3 cups of brown sugar

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4 cups of flour

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4 tsp of baking powder

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10 eggs

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2 tbsp of browning

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1 tsp of vanilla

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1/2 tsp of salt

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2 Pour Red Label Wine and White Rum into a glass jar. Stir and seal the jar. Ensure that the fruits are covered with the wine and rum mix; so the fruits can soak. Allow fruits to soak for at least 24hrs before adding to cake batter. Fruit Cake Method 1 Cream butter, sugar and browning until soft and fluffy. 2 Sieve all dry ingredients into a big mixing bowl. 3 Beat eggs. Add to the creamed butter, sugar and browning. 4 Add fruits along with the remaining rum and wine to the creamed butter and sugar. 5 Gradually add flour and fold in. Do not over mix batter. 6 Grease and flour 9' round baking pan. Pour mixture shake to even out the mixture in the pan. 7 Bake at 350°F for 1½ hr.

JAMAICAN FRUIT CAKE

1/2 cup of white rum or red rum

l

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SORREL

BY SHARAY DENNIS

My mom makes sorrel twice a year every year, at Christmas and for our family picnic. She finally taught me the recipe a few years ago but I still like it better when she makes it.

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It’s a Jamaican tradition to make sorrel at Christmas. My grandma taught my mom —as the eldest girl—and they’d make it for the whole family. After immigrating to Canada, they still kept the tradition alive. My mom started sharing it with friends, coworkers, and my teachers. Now that she taught me, I share it with my friends too. Last year we made 50+ bottles. The only way to get a bottle, is to return the bottle from the year before.

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Sharon's Sorrel INGREDIENTS l 1 lb of sorrel (I use a package of dried) 2–4 oz. ginger (or less to your taste)

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2 quarts of water

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sugar

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wine (optional)

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Grace Strawberry Syrup

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8–12 pimento grains

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TIME TO COOK! 1 If Sorrel is fresh, wash sorrel thoroughly, using the fingers to lift it from the water. 2 Put dried/washed sorrel into a nonstainless steel container. 3 Wash, then peel ginger by scraping. Grate it and add to the sorrel. Add pimento grains. 4 Boil water and pour over sorrel. 5 Cover and allow to stand 4-6 hours or overnight. 6 Strain. Sweeten to taste with sugar and syrup 7 Add optional rum or wine to taste.

SORREL

8 Serve with ice cubes.

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WABUL

BY YAMARI MARTIN

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

This is a porridge style dish by the Miskito, Mayangna, Rama indigenous peoples from the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and Honduras. This region is historically, culturally and geographically poles apart from the rest of the country, where Indigenous and Black peoples have lived together for centuries. Traditionally, wabul is made with a special hollow wooden mortar, but at our home here in Toronto, we use a fork and plate since it’s the easiest and fastest way of mashing plantains. Wabul can be made with many types of fruits, such as green banana, bananas, mangoes, cassava, breadfruit and others. This dish has always been a source of nutrition and spirituality for our communities since time immemorial.

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Whenever I have a few very ripe plantains hanging around, this is one of my favourite comfort foods, for a rainy day, when it's cold outside, when you want something simple but very filling. I’m always asking my mother or my older sister to prepare it for me. My mother likes to remove the seeds from the centre of the plantains, my older sister and I aren’t quite so patient, and I am enchanted watching soft ripe plantains swimming amongst silky coconut ribbons around in our dutch pot. There’s no need to add any sugar here—the ripe plantains are sweet enough to stand on their own. Wabul fills you up and warms you from the inside out, the nutty, vanilla-like odours that emanate from the bowl will soon have you reaching for more.

YIELD

TOOLS

1 pot, 1 large spoon, 1 fork, 1 large plate, 1 can opener

INGREDIENTS l 3–5 of very ripe plantains (depends on size) 1 can of whole coconut milk

l

If desired: 1–2 sticks of cinnamon

l

3–4 cloves

l


TIME TO COOK! 1 Peel the ripe plantains and set into a plate. 2 With the fork, mash the plantains until completely smashed. 3 Add plantains into the pot and set on the stove-top. Turn the temperature on low heat. 4 Once they soften from the heat, open the can and pour the coconut milk into the pot. If you would like to add cinnamon sticks and cloves add now. Stir to incorporate into the plantains. 5 Slowly turn the heat to medium and continue stirring. The consistency should be that of porridge, if it is too thick add water or your choice of milk until desired consistency is achieved. 6 Cook for about 10–15 minutes on the stove-top when it just begins to bubble.

WABUL

7 Remove from heat and serve hot. This can also be served chilled for a summer treat.

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JASMINE FLOWER TOAST A POEM BY JR TOMLINSON

Going into my senior year of kindergarten, you can imagine the amount of changes happening! Of all the changes, the best was my grandma coming from Jamaica. If it wasn't for my grandma coming to live with us for a few years, Who knows what kind of person I could've become! The best part about kids that age Is that they'll run your ear off for days Quickly, grandma and I hit it off. But it wasn't always that easy. That is not until she introduced me to hardo bread. At the age of 5, You'd think I had tasted it all But my grandma, she saved me from Dumpsters bread And just know I would be at her feet at her beckoned call

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

Not to boast, But my grandma made the best toast That flowering love, in every bite Plus some plantain! Who said heaven couldn't exist on earth?

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It was if she had the Midas touch of preparing snacks I couldn't even pay attention to playing at school Because I knew grandma Esmine, Had that Allens hardo bread waiting for me We'd go on walks and joke all the time I'd make her laugh by putting sunglasses on my behind


"Hey grandma, Shake your booty!" I'd say Her high-pitched laugh brightened everyone's day. Seasons changed, but her snack-mastery only got more refined I would even question my parents' cooking skills Just based on my granny snacks I can say in big that it must've been a good year for Allen's stocks But alas, we as humans grow old, I had graduated to grade school. No half days really killed me. I no longer had that solo time with granny. Somehow she wasn't as sad as I was Probably since she was making the snacks. Times had changed, but little did I know It was the first heartbreak that allowed me to grow.

JASMINE FLOWER TOAST

Our jasmine flower stood as tall as a tree Missed by us all and forever in my dreams One day I hope to enjoy some of your Jasmine flower toast again.

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Artist Statement I am a 29-year-old man based out of Toronto. Twelve years ago, I decided to take up music, and it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made. It helped me begin to appreciate music as an art, and opened the door for me to appreciate other art forms. My modus operandi would generally be to stay connected with your family, choose your friends wisely, and to treat others as you'd like to be treated. I hope to learn as much as possible and to meet as many great people as I can until my departure from this land.

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

About the poem Being the first ones from each of their families to arrive in Canada, my parents made it a point to ensure that my sister and I both had everything we needed in order to succeed. They also made it a point to keep our ties close to our family in Jamaica. Along with that was bringing my grandparents over for a couple years each, so that my sister and I could have the opportunity to develop a relationship with them. It was these relationships built at such a young age that helped me appreciate my family back home.

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For years to come, I would visit them yearly and we'd see how each other had grown. This year, I was fortunate enough to see my grandmother when I visited Jamaica to bury my uncle. Sadly, due to complications she passed during the height of the pandemic. Though the loss hit my family quite hard, I couldn't help but to think of one of my first and fondest memories of her.

I wouldn't consider myself a poet whatsoever; so when writing this poem, I thought of it as writing a letter to her. I pictured her, up above, pulling up a chair with her RedRose tea and reading my poem, smiling. It was my attempt to pay homage to a beautiful and charming lady who continues to keep my (very large) family together.


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JASMINE FLOWER TOAST


A LETTER FROM THE ORGANIZERS

Sheldomar Despite all the ups and downs this year has brought, I am so honoured to have been able to work on this project with some incredibly talented, brilliant, and thoughtful folks. I believe that food is inherently significant to each and every one of us as it has the power to bring people together, nourish us, comfort us, and heal us. It has been a gratifying experience to centre that belief and the voices of Black youth to work with friends, new friends, and community in creating something that is so meaningful to us—and hope that it resonates with you too.

THE SOUL FOOD PROJECT

A warm thanks to everyone who supported us from the beginning and along the way. Big thanks to FoodShare for their admin support and the Confronting Anti-Black Racism unit of the City of Toronto for granting us funding to be able to hire Black artists to design and illustrate this project. Special thanks to jade, Tobi, Andrena, Chawntay, Kal, and each person who contributed either a story, recipe, or time for a conversation; look at what we’ve been able to accomplish!—Peace and love!

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Tobi This cookbook has been an outpouring of love from the community and I thank every contributor, my co-organizers Jade and Sheldomar for having a vision, the creative team Kal, Chawntay, and Andrena for your talent, and the folks at FoodShare and CABR for the support. I'm excited at all this book personifies simply by existing. With it, we honour oral traditions, food sovereignty, Black stories, Black youth,


the Earth for its abundance, the workers and farmers we rely on for our food, and this land we've settled on—or through resilience has become home. I hope this brings you as much joy as it's brought us. Thank you for downloading a copy—please pay it forward. jade This project has been an absolute labour of love! It’s been such an honour to have folks share their stories with us—to absorb and feel and taste these deeply personal experiences. Being able to be a part of holding space for those stories, documenting Black youth experiences, and amplifying those voices has been a true exercise in gratitude and affirmation for me (read: Black youth stories are important). 2020 has been a very long year, and a very difficult one—knowing that this project was born out of those hardships is a comfort. My deepest thanks to the community— everyone who took the time to contribute to this collection (a special thanks to those who are still my friends after I messaged them thirty plus times reminding them about deadlines); to my co-conspirators, Sheldomar and Tobi, who endured my essay-length group chat messages; to the creative team—Andrena, Chawntay, and Kal, who brought these beautiful stories to life so skillfully; to the folks at FoodShare— Leslie and Paul, who have supported this work since the outset; and to the CABR team, who believed in us.


In recent times,

we have seen the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement—both in the streets and online. During this time, social media has been an important site of resistance—particularly for many Black youth, but it has also been flooded with images of violence and brutality being enacted on Black bodies. This is all happening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when these communities are unable to physically come together to share space and reconnect. A time when Black youth are being disproportionately impacted by both the pandemic and institutional violence, as a result of systemic anti-Black racism. Food can warm us, it can be comforting; it can remind us of home, of family, our roots; it can bring people together, as a meeting point. Our relationships with food can also be fraught. Food is political. It is also a means of survival. Every recipe tells a story. The Soul Food Project brings these stories togethers—of love, of comfort, of culture, of survival. Community cookbooks are part of a longstanding tradition of communities coming together to support themselves—to take care of one another. The Soul Food Project is a community cookbook highlighting diverse Black youth voices from across Toronto. This is a collection of recipes, stories, conversations, and creative pieces on the food that feeds us in so many ways—a collective meditation on the dishes that bring us joy, comfort, and warmth as a way of building a sense of community and connectedness.


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