In celebration of our new book Brave New Meal: Fresh as Fuck Food for Every Table coming out this Tuesday, November 9 we’re sharing part of the introduction and a brand new recipe ripped from its pages. Don’t have the book yet? Fix that shit. Enjoy!
Not that long ago every social media platform was littered with poorly lit food photos captioned with enough hashtags to induce a headache. There was always another video with some rainbow-colored dish that nobody would ever eat. Delivery apps and takeout had reached a fever pitch, bringing the drive-thru into our driveways, all while exploiting restaurants and delivery workers. We decided it was somehow faster to wait an hour for food to get delivered by underpaid, overworked drivers than to make it ourselves in the same amount of time. We mindlessly threw away our money and health with all those takeout bags and plastic forks we got by the fistful. We worked 60- to 80-hour weeks just scraping by, while reassuring ourselves that we loved the hustle.
Ya know, the “rise and grind” bullshit. We ate what we could get, when we could get it, only looking to be full, not fed. We were redlining our diet as much as our lives to reach a goal that none of us were totally clear on. We thought the rise of self-care meant that we should spoil ourselves, instead of cutting out the crap that was stressin us out in the first place.
Food culture had devolved into only a couple of ways to eat: conspicuously consuming healthy or trendy food so that everybody could see how cool, disciplined, or dedicated you were; or shoveling whatever you could find into your mouth when you finally realized you hadn’t eaten in twelve hours. Most of us were living like this, in one form or another, and nobody seemed to even notice. We all sat on our asses while our relationship with food spoiled.
Sure, we’d order a side salad once in a while or give up sugar for a weekend or whatever we thought might count as “healthy.” But we didn’t mean it. Not really. We ate in our cars while talking on the phone; defrosted some cafeteria-style dinner we’d watch slowly dance around the microwave late at night; or we’d hit the drive-thru every day because any minute not spent working was a minute wasted. We shoveled bite after bite into our mouths so fast that we forgot what good food tasted like. We forgot we’re supposed to nourish ourselves, not just fill our bellies so we can move on to the next fucking hoop we hafta jump through. We were conned by convenience, and our relationship with food and our own bodies suffered. We’re just as guilty as the dumb fucks selling us snake oil or pictures of food they didn’t cook and never ate.
One way or another, everyone felt fucking terrible, and breaking the cycle felt impossible. Then, almost overnight, all that shit changed. The world stopped just long enough for all of us to get a glimpse behind the curtain. When work stopped or slowed, we all spent more time at home. Lots of us realized that we all worked so fucking hard that, with our punishing schedule gone, we had no lives. Our homes were just places we slept. We didn’t know how to fill the hours of the day because we hadn’t even had an hour alone with our thoughts in years. Finally at this slowed-down speed we could see all the cracks and breaks in our society that we’d been hustling too fast to see. Our world was deeply fucked up before the global pandemic, but it took the murky, unprecedented halt of so much of our daily lives for us to see that we shouldn’t fucking live like this.
Reassuringly, in 2020 many of us felt a tug toward a better tomorrow. Our brains went into caveman-mode and instinctively we had to start thinking about self-reliance, not self-aggrandizement. We all got back in the kitchen, some of us reluctantly, and our relationship with food was forced to evolve. Flour got scarce as we reconnected with baking. Collectively we remembered we don’t need to be so dependent on other people to feed ourselves. We realized that if we can commute an hour to work, juggle a dozen different schedules, remember everyone’s coffee order, and be on time to all the meetings then surely we could bake a fucking loaf of bread while in our pjs. We’re capable as hell. We’ve always known what we should be doing, but we were lulled into thinking about food as either a chore or a novelty. When you’re stuck at home for days, weeks at time, things come into sharp relief. When the world seems uncertain you hafta sit down and ask yourself, “what the fuck actually matters?”
Now is the time to be bold. Now is the time to try new shit and stop worrying if this means you have to be anything other than yourself.
IT’S TIME TO EAT LIKE YOU GIVE A FUCK.
Taking your health and what you eat seriously doesn’t mean you have to suddenly become a stuck-up asshole who’s no fun to be around. Keep your dumbass sense of humor but just eat less trash. These things aren’t in opposition, and don’t let some self-righteous shithead tell you any different. Being in charge of what you eat means you’re in charge of who you’re becoming. You are shaping your future. The food you eat quite literally becomes your body so you’re gonna want some building blocks that won’t crumble with a little breeze. Real food and no filler.
Every journey starts with a small step, so come on in and cook with us. Wash your hands. There are aprons behind the door if you need one. Grab a sharp knife and a dish rag. And if you ain’t cooking, you’re cleanin’.
Welcome to a Brave New Meal.
Michelle and Matt
And here, straight from our new book are our Buckwheat Persimmon Pancakes. Just in time for persimmon season. Be brave. Start with brunch.