Category Archives: Food for Thought
June 19, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
What is the word to express how I felt when I opened my laptop to see that nine people were killed at a Wednesday night Bible study? What word can describe the sorrow that washed over me as I saw the release of the victims’ names and thought about the lives that hate cut short? Is there a word better than unsurprised? Frustrated that hate once again rears its ugly head? Angry that I live in a country where someone can harbor and act upon racist ideology with lethal force in a sacred place?
I am weary.
I’m weary because I am black, I am an American and I’m a human being who is tired of seeing a world in which other humans harbor inexplicable anger toward a group of people for looking different.
I spent a lot of Thursday on Twitter retweeting folks who captured the frustration I felt after the church massacre in Charleston, S.C. late Wednesday night. I didn’t know what to say. Do I have a place to say anything? I’m just a food writer and oven reviewer, for crying out loud. But I’m a human. And I have a platform. And this is the time for the weary among us to step up for Clementa, Sharonda, Cynthia, Susie, Ethel, DePayne, Tywanza, Myra and Daniel.
Racism is real. It is both subtle and overwhelming. It’s hiring managers passing you up for jobs because of the “ethnic-sounding” name on your resume. It’s store managers following you around their business because of the color of your skin. It’s strangers assuming that you are an unwed mother. It’s sitting by as someone tells a racist joke. It’s not telling authorities that your roommate is planning a shooting spree on a group of innocent people. Racism ranges from inconvenient to deadly with lots of gray areas in between.
For my white allies: Recognize racism. Call it by its name. Acknowledge that racism and unequal treatment didn’t end with the Civil Rights Movement. Identify your own prejudices and ask yourself why they exist. Stop accepting casual racism by remaining silent. Have the tough conversations with your kids about how adults can hate other adults just because they look different. Empathize with someone who doesn’t look like you. Try to imagine the pain and frustration and weariness, and feel all of that, too. Use those feelings to propel you to take action.
For my black folks: We can’t just survive. We must thrive in the face of domestic terrorism. We might be weary, but we are resilient, too. Centuries of struggle have taught us to keep pushing. We must succeed in spite of hate. And we can’t let hate build and fester in ourselves.
I’m tired of being weary. You should be, too.
February 18, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I’ve crept out of the warmth of my apartment for two reasons this week: to walk Roscoe and make a run to Kroger for more groceries.
Winter has reared its DESPICABLE head in Louisville. It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s about to get worse as temperatures drop to -5 degrees tonight. Reporter Jacob Ryan did a story for WFPL News about being homeless in Louisville during this bout of winter weather. With the temperature dropping below 35 degrees, Wednesday night will be a White Flag night during which homeless shelters take in everyone who needs shelter. The shelters get overcrowded, and the food can run low. Here’s a blurb from Jacob’s article:
White Flag nights bring nearly 300 more people into shelters than other nights, said Natalie Harris, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless. There are about 650 emergency shelter beds in the city… Local shelters have already used up all the funding provided by the city this year for White Flag nights, Harris said. Now, they are “operating solely on donations.”
It’s easy to complain about being cooped up in the house for a little too long, or having to dig yourself out to get to work. Yet a bunch of our neighbors are scrambling for the necessities in packed shelters. Between a third round of Scrabble and another Netflix marathon, why don’t we take a second to give a little back to our Louisville neighbors? You can donate to the Coalition for the Homeless here.
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November 26, 2014 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I’m thankful that I’ve never gone hungry.
Sure, I’ve chomped at the bit waiting for my next meal. I’ve even been hangry a time or three. Fortunately, there has always been food in my fridge and cabinets.
That’s not the case for many families in our community. In Jefferson County, 17.2% of people are food insecure, according to the non-profit Feeding America. That means that 127,320 people have at some point had inadequate or uncertain access to nutritious food.
Dare to Care, a food bank that serves the Kentuckiana region, has done a lot to address hunger in our community. Tonight, the organization will host a candlelight vigil to honor Bobby Ellis, the nine-year-old boy whose death from malnutrition on Thanksgiving Eve 1969 sparked the Dare to Care movement.
Before you dive headfirst into the Thanksgiving spread tomorrow, take some time to remember a little boy who went hungry in our own city and consider what you can do to stop hunger.
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June 3, 2014 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
It seemed like a joke — a birthday party/backyard barbecue/banana pudding bake-off? So many slashes, so much to wrap my head around for one afternoon at my friend Christine’s house.
Nine bakers made their version of banana pudding. All the dishes were numbered so guests didn’t know who made each entry. Then, everyone scooped and ate to their heart’s content. Right as our bellies were about to burst, we wrote the number of our favorite entry on a slip of paper. The number with the most votes was the winner.
Somehow, this amalgamation of an event I attended last week not only worked, but stands out as one of the best parties I’ve attended as an adulthood (because honestly, nothing competes with some Chuck E. Cheese action as a kid).
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May 9, 2014 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
The horses have barely finished kicking up dirt at Churchill Downs, yet it’s time to turn around and celebrate another big occasion.
I’ve always thought that the Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day are just a little too close together to give moms in the state proper justice. You want me to pick a horse, down a couple of mint juleps, AND plan a bomb brunch and buy a fabulous gift for my beyond-fabulous mother all in one breath?
Month of May, have mercy on me.
April 16, 2014 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Sometimes, I can be pretty naive for my own good. Take this blog post, for example.
I’ve had a case of the warm fuzzies all day after attending my first Passover Seder on Monday. I spent a wonderful evening learning about the Jewish holiday, drinking a lot of kosher wine, eating my weight in matzo, and having some great conversations with folks I would’ve never met otherwise.
A few weeks ago, I had the tinglies after a trip with two of my best friends to Holy Family Catholic Church’s Friday fish fry, a Catholic tradition during the Christian holiday of Lent. There I was, in a gym full of strangers, eating a fish sandwich, listening to someone holler out Keno numbers over the crowd. It was the best Friday night I’d had in ages.
I’m not Catholic. I’m not Jewish. But both communities welcomed me with the one event that has the formative power to bridge divides — a good meal.
December 31, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Is 2013 already over? There’s so much food I didn’t get to. So many recipes I didn’t try. So many …
October 8, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I thought I had made it. I had a secure job at a huge company. I could pay my bills on time. I bought Rice Krispies instead of Crispy Rice.
For the past few months, I’ve visited more upscale restaurants high on the fumes of financial security. My budget has upgraded from dollar menu to value meal.
Then I received an $80 dinner bill that kicked me in the pants. I blame the
one twothree cocktails for my lapse in fiscal responsibility during a birthday dinner at a delicious restaurant that shall remain nameless (I’m protecting the innocent; it’s not the restaurant’s fault I balled so hard).
I felt all the feelings after that splurge:
- I felt full (seriously, that food was delicious)
- I was thankful that I could afford that meal
- I was guilty that I had abandoned this blog’s original pledge of eating frugally and had wiled out in the name of YOLO*
- I was sad that there are still folks in my city who can’t afford a meal anywhere, let alone an $80 one
- I felt motivated to refocus Ashlee Eats around the four tenets of my food philosophy: buy local, be green, eat frugally, and fight hunger.
I’ve eaten some delicious food since I started calling myself a food blogger. And sometimes, great food comes with an even greater tab. I’m not saying that I or anyone who can afford it should refrain from treating ourselves sometimes. I’m also not saying that I’m anywhere within spitting distance of rich, or even being able to regularly throw down almost 100 bucks for dinner.
But for me, that $80 ticket reminded me of how long it had been since I followed my own advice about eating on the cheap. It reminded me that I had stopped writing so much about hunger and frugality in exchange for the more upscale dining I’ve encountered. I stopped being a good steward of my own food philosophy, on this blog and in real life.
I’ll write more about good deals around town, either at fancy places or just regular ol’ spots. I’ll share more recipes, since you can save so much money by staying in a few nights a week. And I’ll broadcast more events that provide an opportunity to give back to our community so we collectively kick hunger’s behind.
Oh, and I’ve gone back to Crispy Rice.
*YOLO — You Only Live Once; an urban version of carpe diem; my motto for the past few months; an outdated term I refuse to abandon
August 21, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson