Monday, February 13, 2012

This blog has moved!

Hello All,

It's been time for a change for a long time now. I've just moved to a new web address!

Hope to see you there,

much love,


Monday, February 6, 2012

Anti-Oppression Training

On a whim, I signed up to be a volunteer at the Centre for Women and Trans People at U of T. It happened as I was browsing their website under the guise of an outreach worker.

Shyly, I walked in, poked my head into the big room that is the centre. I had dropped by to sign up as a volunteer in person. There were people scattered about the room, but a cluster were preparing food. The coordinator put down her portobello to stand to greet me, with much kindness in her voice.

My next visit was for the training itself. A weekend crash-course in how-to-NOT-be-oppressive. Oppression, what a loaded word, one that I tend to avoid. It's up there with Colonialism, another key word of the weekend. And finally, paternalism and capitalism. These are inescapable broths for the soup in which we are cooking.

The workshop for volunteers was a wonderful experience to meet others who wanted to strive for social justice. Each, with their own agenda of passion for topics of feminism. Was it the disabilities studies major in the corner? Was it the one who cried out against fat-phobia? Was it the one who wanted recognition that gendered colours for children was ridiculous? It was someone who declared that we each have our privileges, we each have the capacity to be oppressive to others, yet we each also have the capacity, the agency to be compassionate. We also each have the capacity to feel oppression in unique ways, and, notably, to feel oppressed by others stabs much more deeply than it is to inflict it upon others. All wanted to unite for a common goal, to be heard and recognized, yet all were still afraid to speak up, afraid to say the wrong thing. 

We are never perfect. However, we would be foolish not to reflect on how our actions and the actions we are responsible for in groups affect others. There are times to be quiet and times to speak up boldly.

Today, I invite you to say a compliment to a woman you know. She deserves it. And don't let her brush it off,  "oh, it's nothing." It is something, to you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Warm-yourself-up Chili

Nothing like a hearty bowl of chili, served with grated mozarella and sour cream (or yogurt). MmM! This recipe is and adaptation from one on

Red Hot Chili Peppers by Cao Quan-Tang
 • small package of ground beef (or Yves fake meat)
 • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
 • 3 cups beef broth or onion broth
 • 1 can of kidney beans
 • 1/2 can of crushed tomatos
 • 2 soft fresh tomatoes diced (a good use of tomatoes that have been in the fridge a bit too long...)
 • 2 large onions, diced
 • 1 large potato diced
 • 2 sticks of celery chopped finely
 • 2-3 carrots chopped
 • tomato paste (optional, to thicken)

 • 6 cloves garlic, minced
 • 3 tablespoons chili powder
 • 1 tablespoon sugar
 • 3 tablespoons cumin, ground
 • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
 • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
 • 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
 • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

It's easiest if you start by chopping everything ahead. In a large pot, heat the brown the ground beef, making sure to continuously break up large pieces with a spoon or spatula. Add onions, potato, celery and carrots to the ground beef and cook over medium heat with stirring until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, sugar, thyme, cayenne powder, oregano, and black pepper. Heat over medium heat with stirring for 12 minutes. Pour in the broth, kidney beans, diced tomatoes and crushed tomato. Stir to mix well. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 2 hours before serving or refrigerating. If too liquid, add 1 can of tomato paste. Serve with grated cheese and yogurt. Makes excellent leftovers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Food and You

by Oxfam International Youth Partnerships (see them here).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dear readers,

This has been an extremely busy fall and I am going to put this blog on hold until after Christmas. Please check in again later!

Thank you,


Friday, October 28, 2011

Choice vs. Life

The pro-choice vs pro-life debate is peppered with extreme clashes of fundamental values, emotionally charged circumstances, and socioeconomic inequity. Stir into that a little political power and demographic overpopulation, and you’re reaching into a really sticky issue.

 Often thrown amidst the mix of why we believe in life over choice come thoughts of our own birth, or the birth of people we cherish. If I had not been born? If they had not been born?

Certainly, I think it’s unfair to regret and grieve for something that did not happen. And, even in giving women the choice to give birth, it will continue to be that those who are, are and those who aren’t, aren’t. No one can know what would’ve been. I think by questioning this, we lose sight of our reality. Our own birth was never a question, because we are here.

I feel for the women who undergo an abortion and must defend themselves till the end, sometimes in their own heads as it is constantly rubbed in their faces in visually gruesome pro-life campaigns. Can they not grieve for a child they never wanted? Perhaps the child that they could not afford or the one they were not allowed, they need not rationalise it. The aborted foetus never was and never will be.

And furthermore, to force a woman, as in the past, to carry her child to term and give it up for adoption seems to be an even crueller sentence. Knowing that she cannot keep it and will not keep it, to go through the process of pregnancy and the intensity of birth, she will grieve doubly but will not be permitted to show it because she wanted to get rid of the child.

To be born unwanted from your mother does not mean unloved, nor does being the product of a violent encounter. But women, being the only half of the population to be capable of doing it, need to be able to make an empowered choice, un-coerced. Once that choice is made, they need immense support. Regardless of the outcome, I believe that both lanes are dark ones, to keep the pregnancy or to lose it, I feel the women lose a piece of themselves. She is the only one who will live with her choice, no one else may feel it the way she does.

And when she is put through the intricacies of visualizing unborn foetus’ eyes or limbs, you throw salt in the wound and impose her body as a reproductive machine. It is not her alone that is upholding the survival of the human race, and if a man can’t give birth than why should she?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fruit-From-Your-Foodbox Crumble

My friend baked this today, roughly by following this recipe. Delicious! Looking forward to the cooler weather for some baking and roasting! It's also Halloween (and the same friend also carved the pumpkin!)!

1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh or ground nutmeg (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (84 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup (30 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup (40 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans

2-3 tablespoons (30 - 45 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour)
1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) Granny Smith Apples or other firm, tart-tasting apple - peeled, cored, and sliced into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks
1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) ripe Bartlett or Anjou Pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries and/or strawberries

Apple Crisp: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray with a cooking spray, a 9 inch (23 cm) deep dish pie plate or an 8 x 8 x 2 inch (20 x 20 x 5 cm) baking dish. (Can also make 8 individual ramekins.) Set aside.

For Topping: Place all the topping ingredients (flour, sugars, spices, butter, oats and nuts) in a food processor and process until the mixture is crumbly (looks like coarse meal) and there are no large pieces of butter visible. (This can also be done with two knives or your fingertips.) Set aside while you prepare the filling.

For Filling: In a large bowl combine the sugar and cornstarch (corn flour). Peel, core, and slice the apples and pears and toss them, along with the berries, in the sugar mixture. Once thoroughly combined transfer to the prepared baking dish. Spread the topping evenly over the fruit.

Bake for approximately 35-45 minutes or until bubbly and the topping is golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers and reheat before serving.

Makes about 6 servings.