the interior revolution, and a recipe for good luck

I’m going to say right off the bat here that I’ve got a recipe for you. It seems I’ve lost some of you here and on social media with all these march photos, and if you’re on the brink of going that way, that’s okay–it’s your choice to make, whatever your reasons. But if a recipe is what you’re here for, I’ve got one. And if the other stuff is what you’re here for I’ve got that too. Pick and choose. All are welcome here, and I hope that comes across through the screen.

So we marched. Like most of you last week, as far as I can tell. I have a lot to say about the weekend, but I’m actually going to go back to something I wrote and never got a chance to finish and publish before we went. Here goes:

So we’re getting ready for the march, heading down to DC tomorrow. We talk about this every day–how do we feel, why are we marching, what will we do, why are we marching.

I try to remember that there are so many people who are celebrating, that there were people feeling panicked and scared when Obama was getting ready for his own inauguration. I try to stand in those shoes and keep perspective.

But this is where I get stuck. It’s not the policies that scare me–I’ve been through administrations I don’t agree with, and I know it’s part of life and democracy. I’m scared of volatility and the legitimization of hatred. I’m scared of a leader who chooses to use his voice to shout at SNL and Meryl Streep and “losers”, taking time away from the essential work of leading this country. I’m afraid of the demonization of the media. I’m afraid of the people who cheer him on, who see the example of such vitriol and decide to emulate it. That’s what scares me.

I’m also scared of my own instincts. I find myself thinking that I’m thankful I can pass. Whatever identities I might actually encompass, I can pass for a middle-class, straight, white woman. I don’t even look Jewish, as I take after my father. I live in a little liberal county in a liberal state.   I will be ok, I think. My family will be ok. 

I admit this to you, but only because I’m  sure that this–the instinct to keep my head down and hope to pass–is the scariest thought of all, and the surest sign that I need to run directly towards the action and stay there. Whether marching is the best way to do that, I don’t know. But’s it’s a way, and that’s enough.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with people about whether or not they should support the march, how they feel about pink hats, whether privilege (white, middle class, straight, fill in the blank) prohibits them from having a right to march. I think that all these conversations are essential, but that in the end it’s also essential to show up and be a body. It’s important not to be distracted by reasons why not. It’s important to run straight towards it.

The girls have been asking me if we’ll be safe down there, and all I can say is I don’t know. I give them the choice- to march or not. But Sadie responded in a way that’s stuck with me. We will talk about this day all my life, and I’ll say I was there. Whatever happens from here, we’ll know we were there.

And we were there, and I’m so grateful. Because most of all it was good to have so many examples of good and kind and peaceful humanity packed into such a tiny space. It fueled me. I’m proud of children for being such kick ass protesters. And now, in addition to all of the actions and the calls and the showing up, I’ve been thinking about an interior revolution.

Obama was an inspiration for me. He inspired me to run for office, to commit fully to my county, and to consider myself a patriot. It was personal. And now, I’m finding our current president is inspiring me in a different way, although it’s just as personal. I’m rebelling against my own internal Trump, every day.

When I feel the urge to be petty, or to cut someone down. I rebel. 

When someone doesn’t shower me with love or adoration and I feel reactive and want to throw a tantrum, I rebel. 

When I feel scared of things that are other or different than me and feel the urge to push them away, I rebel.

When I feel the urge to speak impulsively on social media, I rebel.

When I start to think of this country as a place filled with hatred and ugliness, I rebel. 

That’s where I am with all of this right now.

It’s going to be quite a time ahead, and we’re going to need each other. Even if you don’t agree with me, we might need each other even more, need a place we can find common ground. And today, I want to share a recipe for good luck, because we all need that right now.

Hoppin’ John is traditionally New Year’s food–good and simple rice and beans that bring luck for the year ahead. I’ve been making Hugh Acheson’s recipe for years, shifting and changing it with what I have. Hugh makes it with a ham hock which I never seem to have at the right moment, so this version is vegetarian. I usually double the recipe and eat it all week, here with a fried egg on top, there with some greens or chorizo mixed in. It’s not particularly pretty (especially as I’ve photographed it–cold, on the kitchen table, packing it up on my way to work), but it’s really good. It’s fuel in the best sense, and a great recipe to have in your line-up.




  1. Penelope says

    Solidarity from across the seas – and thank you for standing up for women and marching. I wept seeing photographs of marches around the world; there was a glimmer of (fierce feminist) hope. I just woke up to some pretty scary news, about people being prevented from coming home to the US because of their ethnic background and their religion, and I’m finding it so hard to hold onto that hope.

    The apolitical culture of blogging has always seemed strange to me, and I think in times like this it’s positively dangerous. Please don’t stop writing; don’t stop speaking out. x

  2. Lisa says

    Honestly Alana I have been waiting for your post on the walk all week. Thank you for going to DC and thank you for being such an awesome rebel! Your post after the election was so inspiring. I took such courage from the title and the image of your daughter running straight toward it. We all need to keep our hope and convictions alive and strong and keep running straight at it, together. (Thanks too for the recipe!)

  3. Jacquie says

    Beautiful words!Seeing posts like this is more important then ever,,for everyone.Realize you need a thick skin in these times.Hope you keep it up(:

  4. says

    It is… disheartening, I suppose, when someone you follow and admire busts out with certain views or opinions that don’t align with your own, and I’ve experienced that. Some celebrity whose work I loved suddenly opens up about some of that stuff, and I recoil in horror. It very much changes how you see them, and affects how you feel about their work, too. On the plus side, for every person who has that reaction, there’s probably another who breathes a sigh of relief that, thank goodness, they can keep liking that person. So you keep doing you, because you is pretty awesome (not that I think you were remotely in need of permission or blessing to do so!).

    Stay strong down there in the States. The rest of us are pulling for you.

    Also, I had no idea there was any actual use for parmesan rinds. I’ll have to keep that in mind next time I have one…

    • alanac says

      Ah, thank you, Brenda! We’re relying on you out there. We need you more than ever. And thank you for your words (and for your permission, which helps :) It’s funny there’s a third option that I’ve seen a few times in the past few months, and it’s maybe the one that feels best to me. There are readers who don’t agree with me (I suspect abortion might be the wedge, although I’m just guessing here), but they say “I’m still here, and I’m going to stay because I feel we still have common ground.” Those have been so good.
      And yes, yes- parmesan rinds! It brings a great deep flavor to any bean or soup, essentially like a vegetarian ham hock. So good.

  5. Anne H says

    Thank you, thank you so much. Keep on marching, blogging, running for office,and including recipes. Everyone who speaks up without including hatred, anger, or their own personal religious beliefs is greatly appreciated. It’s nice when there are political leaders we agree with but we have to be extra strong when those leaders are out of power. Keep up the good work and thank you again.

  6. Annie Reichelt says

    I’ve admired your work for about a year. I bought your cookbooks for my school and tell my students these are the cookbooks I’d write if I wrote cookbooks. But I don’t write cookbooks. I teach science. Thank you for marching and blogging and writing cookbooks. I am going to follow your blog since it sounds like people are bailing on you. I have the exact same thoughts about this election and its aftermath. Stay strong and keep cooking.

    • alanac says

      And thank you for teaching science! Important times for this, and for helping kids find their way through these next years. Thank you, Annie.

  7. says

    Thanks Alana. You go, girl. It matters, all of it. Words matter, and love matters and hope matters and to be able to disagree non-violently really, really matters.

    I resist too, and I think of what the dhammapada says, “Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed. This is an ancient and eternal law…”

    This is the shadow side of our collective humanity coming out…fear of the “other” whom or whatever that other may be. But when all is said and done, we all need each other, and we are all we’ve got, all the billions of us here together. I guess with over 7 billion people on the planet, it’s not likely that we’ll all be operating out of our hearts at the same time. But maybe by adding some love to the soup, as your post just did, it makes it one heart closer.

    Well done, and thanks for your service.
    Hugs to all of you from St. Louis.

  8. Margit Van Schaick says

    Alana, I counted on you to do what you did–marching, and to say what you said–“Run straight toward it!”. Thank you for your guideposts for how we can practice COMMUNITY. And for the practical and delicious recipe. Now we. Need to hold steadfast in our resolve and continue to practice CITIZENSHIP by “running straight toward it, and reaching out the hand of friendship and help to our fellow human beings. As an 8-year-old refugee immigrant to America following World War 2, I love this country and I am deeply concerned about what has been happening. We all need to speak up for what is good, to live as leaders for that. I keep thinking about what Obama said in his Farewell Address.

    • alanac says

      Thank you, Margit. You know, I’ve thinking about that address lately. Honestly I was disappointed in it then- I think I wanted him to swoop in and save us! (As if he could). But I’ve returned back to it, and you’re right- it’s really important.

  9. Ariel says

    I have been feeling scared and overwhelmed and uncertain how I can make a difference. Thank you for the reminder that doing something is better than nothing, that showing up and being a body is important, and that living life in accordance with humane and compassionate values is revolutionary in its own right. Keep writing and keep rebelling.

  10. Jen says

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. If I wasn’t home with a newborn, I would have been out there too! I share your feelings about wanting to keep my head down and try to wait out this presidency. I think it would probably be relatively easy for me. I live in a white, upper middle class area, surrounded by many similar people who will (probably) get through this time relatively unscathed. And that’s such an ugly thought….
    Prior to having kids, I lived and worked in DC. I held a (relatively) high level position in the intelligence community and had some access to senior leadership. This new presidency has really made me question myself. If I were still there, would I be strong enough to speak truth to power, regardless of the consequences? Would I be willing to put the career I worked so hard to achieve at risk? Or would I just keep my head down, perhaps complain to friends and coworkers, but otherwise wait it out? I’d like to think I would take a stand, but I just don’t know…
    Perhaps it’s because I’m a mother of three young boys I want to raise to treat others fairly and lovingly, maybe it’s because I am free from my professional constraints as a stay at home mom, or maybe I was always strong enough to speak out, but I feel compelled to become active during this presidency. I don’t know what that looks like yet – marches, getting involved in politics locally, or maybe working with a charitable organization, but I am going to become more involved. In a strange way, perhaps I have Trump to thank for that?!

  11. Ally says

    Thank you so much for this post! I found your book in the library and the cover picture drew me in! Well, I’m in for life now! I told my Husband that when we have the funds, I’m going to buy your books!
    Politics are a very touchy subject but you’ve stayed true to yourself here, just like I’ve come to expect by reading your books! I applaud you and your good work! It’s nice and comforting to know that we have common ground!
    And I made giant muffins today from your book! BEST MUFFINS EVER! (and I work in a bakery…shhhhh…)
    Stay sane, Sister!

  12. Emily says

    Thank you Alana. I’m a fan in New Zealand, apparently one of the preferred havens for Americans seeking an escape. But there’s no escape for any of us if Trump can undo years of work combating climate change with a stroke of the pen. Hard to know what to do from here, but I’ve been thinking that building skills of self sufficiency and reducing my own carbon footprint through cooking, gardening and preserving the harvest is a quiet form of activism too, and a way to stay grounded. Thank you for your inspiration in this. Best of luck

  13. alwayshungry says

    I’ve never been proud to be an american.
    Having been raised and having lived abroad for most of my life makes my relationship with my “americaness” complicated to say the least.
    I must admit that over the years I have even been embarrassed to say that I was a US citizen.
    And now this.
    How do I feel?
    I am proud of you.
    And so many others that are raising your voices even if they shake.
    I am impressed by my introvert cousin that finds the courage to go out and hold up a sign.
    I’m in awe when a friend of my dad’s tell his daughter that he will not erase the negative answers he gets on his facebook posts because he believes all sides must be heard.
    This horrible situation is really bringing the best out of so many.
    My new feelings have nothing to do with me, for I am far away and uninvolved.
    But I will convey them to others because over here we only get the really ugly stuff.
    You can tell your girls that word of their courage is being spread across the world.
    A quiet tide of change.
    Stand strong.

    On another note, my four year old son took a wary bite of dinner the other day and then said “what’s this called?-Hopping John-” he smiles” I like it!”
    Thank you as always for each and every post.

  14. marguerite says

    Way to go and be out there marching. Even way up here in northern Wisconsin, we took to the streets for all persons, especially the disabled young woman who spoke at our march and wanted to know how anyone could vote for a person who mocked a person with a disability.
    We marched for healthcare for all including my own 20year daughter who has insulin dependent diabetes and her healthcare like so many hang in the balance of a government that doesn’t feel that healthcare is a right.
    we marched for those who couldn’t march, and for those who do not have the benefits because of the mere color of our skin.
    we marched for refugees who just happen to arrive later in time than our own grandparents. This march was for anyone who may suffer at the fate of this current administration.
    Lastly, yes, we who are not recent immigrants and have white skin coloring must be out there to help those who will be subject to a society of hate.
    Sorry, if people will no longer visit your website, but sticking up for others is far more important than popularity.
    Way to Go!

  15. Kendra says

    So glad I checked the site today (I am not on instagram or Facebook so I wasn’t aware of your plan to march). I too was in Washington and was inspired by the great outpouring of kindness and compassion both from the marchers as well as folks living and working near the march. I am feeling energized to get more active in my community. But most importantly I feel more empowered to have civil conversations with those whose views differ from mine, because clearly the intense red/blue liberal/conservative divisions that have characterized the past few years have landed us in a big mess. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

  16. Hannah says

    YES! To you and your girls and to all of this. I’m with you 100% and love your honesty and your reflections about the danger we all face not just with this administration but within ourselves. We can’t let hatred become normalized, and we each have to work to recognize our own privilege (whatever it may be) and find ways to be advocates for those less privileged. THANK YOU. xoxo

  17. Monica says

    Totally echo this post! And on a totally unrelated note, I made the popovers from Homemade Kitchen this morning, and holy cow: school morning breakfast game-changer!! So awesome how easy and quick and delicious they are! Love all your work- it truly makes a difference in my life (kitchen), almost daily!

  18. says

    Have loved your cookbooks and seeing your smiling face here and there, at Bizalion’s back in the day, at the farmer’s market in the summer…and so happy I finally found my way to your wonderful site. Eloquent and thoughtful blog. Solidarity and Good Eating!

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