This is What Democracy Cooks Like

January 30, 2017

Our community is a place where many—almost all—of us likely express ourselves through food. We cook for catharsis and for support, for release and for fuel, for ourselves and for others.

That's why we have a hunch that a lot of you are cooking as a form of political organization: Maybe that means you're bringing scones to marches (hello, mrslarkin) or taking extra caution to support businesses that employ immigrants. Maybe you're organizing potlucks in your community to meet neighbors you didn't know before November or hosting dinner parties with friends to talk through issues that are important to you. Maybe you're selling brownies and donating the proceeds to your organization of choice, or making a point to cook with new-to-you ingredients from particular parts of the world. Maybe you've noticed other people doing the same?

Variety is the spice of life. Happy Monday! Be nice to each other.

A photo posted by Liz Larkin (@sconeladylarkin) on

What does democracy look like—and cook like—to you?

Share what you've been doing, or what your friends or people you admire have been up to, in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • wildgreens
  • Bistra Ravenheart
    Bistra Ravenheart
  • Amy Bass
    Amy Bass
  • Panfusine
  • Betty Jo McDonald
    Betty Jo McDonald
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


wildgreens February 5, 2017
Food is political.
Bistra R. February 1, 2017
I also had the impression in the beginning that this website is open to everyone no matter the country and politics - because its one of the best foodies netwoks
Bistra R. February 1, 2017
well as in my country politics sucks right now and to me sharing recipes is kind of escape i don't think politics has to do something with food recipes sharing - but if I have to interpret the question in metaphore there is a freedom for every recipe and here comes democracy word - like not to follow traditional way of chicken soup(for example) but to make it your own way - add some tips from yourself
Amy B. February 1, 2017
I created a FB page, Comfort Food in the New America, which has a passionate following of folks disillusioned by the election. We post recipes and photographs of what we make, and have become "friends" with our food, carefully avoiding direct political conversation, just knowing we are all in it together.
Panfusine February 1, 2017
Food is the most basic of unifying factors that connect humans from a genetic level. Every one of us (including animals , birds & fish) are born with food as one of our basic instincts. cemented further by what AManda & Merrill stated in the article, about colonization and the spread of ideas were all dependent on the search for spices. Anyone who does not make that simple connection.. Sorry that they chose to shut themselves in ignorance with intellectual blinders around them.
Betty J. January 31, 2017
Sorry you feel that way. I do not feel that Food 52 did any thing but ask people to share their food sharing ideas. there were ones who shared who went on opposit marches. Many many big businesses donate huge amounts of money to political causes Food 53 is simple talking about food sharing--international food, what we gain from other cultures and love. sorry for you--it is your loss if you no longer read Food 52. Kisses all around!
Hannah H. January 31, 2017
At the airport this past weekend, there were stacks of pizza boxes waist high, cases upon cases of bottled water, bins of protein bars, sacks of oranges and bananas, and homemade cookies. Sharing food is a non-partisan issue, but if the right wing want to go hungry at their marches and stop eating meals together, I guess that's on them? I'm just glad I'm part of a community that comes together over a shared love of food and political action!
SarahInMinneapolis January 31, 2017
Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs: This is the kind of tripe you get with inane and insane political posts. Food52? Good luck with the shop and advertisers on Food52 beware: Many of us don't shop on web sites or buy products in grocery stores that support this garbage. Added Cabot Creamery Cheese to my "no buy" list this am when I saw the sponsored post on Pimento Cheese.
mrslarkin January 31, 2017
What did pimento cheese ever do to you? I'm genuinely curious now.
SarahInMinneapolis January 31, 2017
Nothing! But if this site is going to post illiterate political commentary as stories / posts, then the sponsors should know that a whole bunch of us -- more than half of the consumers in the country -- will not be supporting the advertisers subsidizing the illiterate political commentary. [There was another post today sponsored by Cabot Cheese. Thought that company should know exactly what they are paying for by sponsoring content: Ticking off half the people who buy their products.]
E January 31, 2017
Mmm more Cabot cheese for the rest of us, gonna buy extra to compensate for them losing your business :)
duckfat February 1, 2017
Half of the people who buy their products? I don't think so considering the popular vote and Trump's lowest ratings in presidential history in a little over a week.
Panfusine February 1, 2017
Cabot Cheese ROCKS! anyone who boycotts it.. entirely THEIR loss..
healthierkitchen February 1, 2017
Wow, Sarah, "illiterate?" Read pretty well to me. Your post is so much more divisive than anything from Food52. We hear you that you disagree with something, maybe that it sounded like the author was referring to a Women's March? Maybe you think you don't agree with one or more of the tenets of the marchers. Can't we have civil discourse, not immediate hysteria?
SarahInMinneapolis January 31, 2017
According to her bio here, the author of this post lives in a "New York bubble." Her words. Indeed. Ms. Jampel might be shocked to learn that the majority of Americans will not be "bringing scones to marches" where mothers parade their little girls carrying signs with F-Bombs and has-been celebrities smile through their too-tight-from-plastic-surgery faces and talk about "nasty women" and drop more F-Bombs. Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs? Please stop the political inanity and insanity on Food52.
duckfat January 31, 2017
Apparently you didn't attend a march in your area. I did. It was nothing like the picture you paint. And what if someone brought scones? How does that effect you? I wish someone had brought scones! Believe me my consumer boycott (can you say the word) extends far beyond yours, I'm sure.
SarahInMinneapolis January 31, 2017
Good for you! You ratified my point: Why would any apolitical biz allow inane / insane political commentary to affect its bottom line? Any biz that does that does it at its own peril. Will be very interesting to see what Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs choose to do. I can enjoy all their free content -- love the Genius Recipes -- but not buy a thing from this site or its sponsors. That biz model won't work for them, long-term. Won't work for any biz, really. Food52 is a fascinating case study for me.
E January 31, 2017
You do love the words inane and insane, some might call that inane and insane. As someone who works in the tech/start up industry.. Food 52 is actually doing swimmingly well sooo...

And enjoying their free content increases their page views, which is important for advertisers so you're inadvertently helping them :) Kind of like that Starbucks boycott that didn't go as planned
duckfat February 1, 2017
Nothing inane or insane about the comments here. Simply people telling stories about their experiences and how cooking and sharing strengthened their bonds with their friends, neighbors, and strangers met at a positive march expressing the First Amendment in hope for a better future.
SarahInMinneapolis February 1, 2017
Page views do not monetize a web site.
healthierkitchen February 1, 2017
Sarah - what you might find is that the majority of voters who disagree with your views also fuel a lot of the buying in this country. Why not try to understand each other? Not everyone at the march loved Madonna's speech. I didn't even hear it as there were so many people there. What I saw was hundreds of thousands of people peacefully stating that we believe in a diverse, free country. Maybe your way is not to wear a vulva costume. It's not mine either. But I support a person's right to wear whatever costume (s)he desires, even Kellyanne's fascistic several thousand dollar coat.
Panfusine February 1, 2017
well then Sarah, I think you just declared yourself as a gloating Freeloader.. Does not cast you in a positive light.
healthierkitchen February 1, 2017
Indeed, Panfusine! She will deign to use the free site, and the recipes of a broad swath of generous cooks from around the world. Does she not realize where most of the food she cooks comes from? The recipes?
Bistra R. January 31, 2017
I hope international people are ok to be members of your nice community, I am from Bulgaria and I like to learn
duckfat January 31, 2017
But of course!
duckfat January 31, 2017
We would like to learn from you, too!
Bistra R. February 1, 2017
thank you, of course i can share bulgarian dishes recipes
Paula D. January 31, 2017
Sad that Food 52 has to involve itself in politics. Another site that I won't support. Keep to the business you are in or risk alienating customers.
E January 31, 2017
mrslarkin January 31, 2017
So sad.
Betty J. January 31, 2017
I love Food 52 more than ever! And I am glad we can all comment here with relative civility--not hate. I like many of you cook food from all over and I haveaccess to small shops owned by individuals. As a landscaper who lives in a huge farming county I have many friends and collegues who are Mexicans. The ones I work with have become citizens but in the fields there are many who are "guest workers" brought here by fafmers to plant and pick our food. No matter what your political beliefs your food has come from their hands and their aching backs. Never forget that! And a touching cross cultural story--the Asahi Market family was sent to"camp" as my Mother-in Law calls it! The Lopez family, a local Mexican family stepped in and save the market. The Ashai family runs it today.
duckfat January 31, 2017
Great story and the way we want to think of ourselves!
Panfusine February 1, 2017
WEll said Betty Jo McDonald!
healthierkitchen February 1, 2017
love this Betty Jo! Absolutely, we need the reminder of where our food comes from. As with restaurant workers.
Abby January 31, 2017
I'm hosting and cooking for a Soup for Syria Supper in late February. It's part of a local initiative to raise funds for the UNHCR's work with Syrian refugees. I'll be coming to Food52 looking for great soup recipes!
luvcookbooks January 31, 2017
Made a huge pot of Black Bean Cili for family before I went out to demonstrate in support of the Affordable Care Act. Continuing to get a mocha at Starbucks (pro Trump boycott target for hiring refugees). No Uberdelivery service ever(collaborating w Trump).
Alexis January 30, 2017
I've been feeling a little down recently until I read this article and realized I can use my cooking skills as a force for good:

I'm currently trying to organize a chili cook off to benefit my state's ACLU
Betty J. January 30, 2017
I agree with E--and I was just thinking as I read the cookbook list and the comments how food tells the American story--people from all over the world (I well remember the parade of people from 160 countries in the Los Angeles Olympics) come here, go to school, work, befriend neighbors and everyone cooks. They cook food from home which they share with their neighbors and new food tastes are spread. It started long ago. Lewis and Clark camped for their first winter near a Lakota encampment and were kept alive by the dried squash by the Lakotans. In 2000 my children's garden grew the heirloom Lakota squash and won a blue ribbon at our country fair. This is the America we love and want to keep. I just got out my Mother in Law's Japanese cookbooks and smiled at her hand written notes in the margins; no matter how I try I can't make Sushi like she did. For a good read from a farmer's perspective on immigration and food read David "Mas" Masumoto's "Epitath for a Peach".
E January 31, 2017
Yeah! Thank you for sharing. Isn't this just one of the things that makes America beautiful? Where else in the world do you have so many cultures coming together, with the commonality of needing to eat? By living in America, I've come in contact with the cuisines and people of so many places around the world that I know I'll never be able to travel to, so I feel very blessed and humbled to have the opportunity to learn from my neighbors, coworkers, friends, and strangers. :)
mrslarkin January 30, 2017
How did you know?? Scones were a yuge hit on the bus. I also made a bundt cake for the ride back. Karen made deviled eggs. And Sally made a sour cream coffee cake. It was a long day. I made pbj sandwiches for me and Emily. When we sat down to rest and eat on the curb along the mall, watching the marchers and all their amazing signs, songs and chants, the couple next to us from Ohio were eating, too, and shared their smokehouse almonds with us. Have you tried those? Addicting stuff.
CM January 30, 2017
What started out as hosting a large group in my conveniently located DC apartment for breakfast before the Women's March appears to have resulted in my apartment operating as the center of my friend group's resistance efforts. Because I live walking distance from the White House, and because every weekend will now require action, I plan to continue hosting out of town guests coming to join the protests as well as group meals, which I have always done but which will now serve as a place not only for warm food and friends but for organizing, sharing opportunities for action, and for encouraging each other. I also will bring something to the active bystander intervention training I'm attending- because we'll need fuel to absorb all of the important information!
jp January 30, 2017
We had a group of people travel to the March for Life. I contributed water, fresh fruit and granola bars. I really wish I could have contributed homemade and healthy travel-friendly food.
I like the idea of providing food to people on the march, but since I couldn't be there I contributed to the road trip.
Anybody have some go-to recipes for road trips?
Sarah J. January 30, 2017
Hopefully you'll find some ideas here! and
jp January 30, 2017
Of course! Thank you!
Kristin L. January 30, 2017
I made chicken tikka for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it gave me an idea. My family is taking turns picking a country and then choosing a recipe to try from that country. My five year old picked Turkey, so we had the Turkish pancakes from your recipe archive - and we all LOVED them! My other son picked Chile, so I get to make empanadas this weekend. Can't wait to see what other fun foods and countries we get to learn about. Your site has been a great resource for this project!

I would also like to commend Food 52 for subtly (and not so subtly) encouraging these types of things. You seem unconcerned with losing a few readers and I love that. Frankly, no matter who you voted for in November, you should be extremely concerned about the events of the past week.
Lainie January 30, 2017
Why do the Food 52 writers seem to assume that everyone is unhappy?

Trump is doing exactly what the people of this country voted him into office to do. I don't want my country to experience the issues that France, Germany and Scandinavia have suffered due to the overload of refugees their liberal politicians welcomed with open arms without a thought of how to deal with them once they were within their borders.

BTW - I am very amused at the lengths that liberals will take to politicize every topic and promote the progressive agenda which was repudiated in the last election.

Suzanne B. January 30, 2017
Thanks, Lainie. I agree!
E January 30, 2017
How do you know we all are liberals? In fact, in my group of friends, we are actually fairly centrist. What is going on is NOT normal, even among those who call themselves conservatives. My conservative friends are equally as appalled as my very liberal friends. As such, we look to food as a source of joy, since even in the most trying of times, joy is needed.

BTW - I hope you have a very, truly blessed day. :-) God Speed!
Bevi January 31, 2017
We don't know and it may be some time before we do know what circumstances brought about the election results, so I wouldn't crow about the outcome. Voter suppression, foreign influences, and purposeful de-registration of voters all played parts as means to the end (of times).
eternalgradstudent January 31, 2017
I live and Germany, and would like to say that I am proud of my adopted home for warmly welcoming people in need of a new homeland. Your scare mongering against refugees is ill-informed and shameful.
Abby January 31, 2017
Why do you assume that political activity is liberal? The most recent march in Washington was for Right to Life. There is nothing partisan about discussing the ways we use food in our political activities, it's something we can all share, that can bring us together across party lines.
LT January 31, 2017
Hej Lainie, I live in Scandinavia and just wanted to report my personal experience here. Yes, we have a lot more refugees in recent years and this population change is felt in the culture. But we also recognize that our culture is dynamic, ever-changing, and adaptable. And it is through food that many of us here first encounter and come to understand other cultures—especially from refugees who are starting new restaurants and food businesses. In fact, we look to the United States as an example for this type of dynamic culture that can exist in a working democracy. Isn't that the foundation of the US? Please help me understand this better. Many of us here are willing and able to accept this influx of refugees who are in desperate need of stability and a secure place to raise families. Refugees have the lowest status in terms of human rights—it is a painful and desperate experience which can only be overcome by the charitable expression of love from one person to another. Please help me understand a better way to meet the global refugee crisis.
healthierkitchen February 1, 2017
thank you E!
mia February 1, 2017
How sad and shortsighted that you can't see the ways in which your life as an American is already enriched and supported by the immigrants who live there.