TinyLetter is a magical thing. Anyone who has the drive can send out a regular missive to their readers on any topic they want! After LongHouse, my friend Sarah decided she’s get her food writing fix through her own TinyLetter. And Scrump was born.
As Sarah says, “Scrump is best read like the back of a cereal box: alone, while chewing, devoting only about 20% of your brainpower.” It’s a mix of stories, photos, stray observations, and fridgies (fridge-selfies) from her friends. (Yes, I got to have a fridgie in Scrump!)
While Scrump is always humorous–Sarah’s hilarious–it also takes on bigger issues. Though that’s unfair. Food is a big issue. (Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs over at Food52 summed it up better than I could.) So I loved Scrump #2, the issue right after the election. In it, Sarah wrote about going to a small shawarma shop near her home in New Orleans. She and her boyfriend got into a conversation with the owner’s adult son about the food and his own childhood in Iraq. They go back to the same shawarma shop the day after the election, feeling deflated about the result but good about supporting a local place run by folks originally from Iraq. It’s small, she thinks, but it’s something:
It is meaningless, in the long run, that we chose Shawarma on the Go for dinner on Wednesday night. I’m not a fool. But in my exhausted state, it felt like the resoundingly right decision. I wanted to show up and to be grateful for their presence in our neighborhood and our country. I also wanted to eat Shawarma on the Go, because it’s delicious. I thought of our conversation with the owner’s son, so delighted to share such an integral part of his childhood with us. His food and drink. Part of what I love about food is how it is at once personal and universal. It’s an easy way to build a bridge between two people from very different places or points of view, or from the past to the present. What an incredible thing, to say to someone, Here. Taste this and you somehow are connected to me, my family, my childhood, my country. I am sharing that with you.
While many of us are still, bleary-eyed trying to figure out what we can do, how we can move forward and reject hate, Sarah offers a small, consistent method: share food, learn about it, talk to people.
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