Tag Archives: nattering social justice cook

Nattering Social Justice Cook: Time to Fix the Missing Stair

The following is my personal opinion and unconnected to any SFWA activity. I am speaking as a member of the speculative fiction community, one that has been involved in it for a decade and a half now, and one that has watched its internal workings with interest.

I met Monica Valentinelli in 2016 at GenCon. I don’t know her well, but I’m proud to count her as a friend and she is one of the people I have consulted with about issues gamewriters face and what SFWA can do to assist them. She has been a valued bridge-builder, and I trust her judgment. For those who don’t know about the recent events prompting this essay, here is her account of the event as well as some reactions.

Monica is currently being punished for speaking out, with vitriol, suggested boycotts, and more, all for going public about her decision. Forces with an interest in women not speaking out have decided to make her a cautionary tale, particularly since she’s dared to lead to other people, including men, to follow her example.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Supporting The Next Generation

If you don’t know about DonorsChoose, it’s a great program that lets you support individual classroom projects. I sponsored one in honor of my aunt Nona. Here’s the lovely thank you note I just got.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: How to Prepare to Protest

If you are one of the many of us going off to protest, to bear witness, to object, then I want you to be prepared. Beforehand: Make sure someone knows you are going, and that they will check in if … Continue reading

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What I Wrote in 2016 and The List of Award Eligibility Posts I’ve Found

Oh, it’s that time! The season of looking back at the year and seeing what you did or didn’t get done. And the season for starting to nominate for awards. I’ve been reading and recommending for a while now, but it’s always fun to read all the wrap-up posts and find anything that I missed. I do have a monster post full of some of this year’s reading, but I’m still working on that. (When I have it, there will be a link here.)

Writers wondering whether or not they should put up an awards eligibility post, the answer is yes, yes you should. Do us all the favor of collecting your stuff and making it easy to find. If you’ve got a lot, point out some favorites.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Prepare to Ride, My People

To those who have said “wait and see” about the results of the election, so far I have seen the following results and feel that I am sufficiently prepared to venture an opinion.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Stay the Course

Like many of you, I was taken aback by the results of the recent election, to the point of depression, dismay, and concern for our future. Part of my past week, though, was spent in Chicago at a conference for nonprofit leaders, and that served as a heartening antidote in some ways.

Part of it was the reminder that our world holds people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or if they’ll have a dry place to sleep that night. That there are children who are abused, animals who are tortured, eco-systems being destroyed, nations being oppressed. That so much is wrong. That so much needs fixing. Is it odd to say that was heartening? Because it was so inspiring to be around hundreds of people who have given time and energy and so much more to help others.

It underscored the fact that we are not islands. We are part of humanity, a deep, rich pool in which we swim, and we will either do so or sink, collectively. The question of where to start with that is one that divides many of those who desperately want to fix things. And the truth is this: that helping wherever and whenever you can is fine, no matter what form it takes. The act of helping others enriches our souls and keeps them nourished.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Be Kind to Yourself

Being a little silly sometimes is also good for one’s mental health.[/caption]Gail Z. Martin has organized the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign, and when she asked me about participating, it seemed important to add another voice.

In knocking around this world, one of the few things that has sunk in well enough to make it a daily maxim is this, “Be kind to yourself, because you can depend on yourself.” Build a treat into your day that is aimed at increasing your happiness in some small way: lunch outside, a long walk, that book on Amazon you want every once in a while.

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Nattering Social Justice Cook: DIY Cooking Kits

Within the last few years, an industry has sprung up aimed at people who don’t know how to cook but yearn to do so. The basic model of such companies is that they deliver kits for making a homemade meal: the ingredients, with any pre-work like peeling or trimming already done, and a set of instructions that includes step by step photographs pretty enough to be in a food magazine.

I tried one of these services a year or two ago, lured by a good coupon deal, and did get some value out of it, but cancelled the subscription before they could start hitting me with the non-coupon costs. For someone utterly foreign to the idea of cooking, these might be useful to show how easy it is to create a tasty meal, or for someone scared of failure, they might build confidence. But the amount of wasteful packaging was striking, and that seems a bad thing to me. I don’t like creating garbage, because among other things, it means I must expend effort taking it out, but also because it’s bad for the planet.

The average American generates 4.3 pounds of garbage per day. That’s over a pound and a half over what the figure was in 1960. So we’ve gotten, overall, less efficient rather than more, while at the same time depending on resources that are diminishing.

Every one of the kits came in cardboard packaging around a styrofoam box with two large ice packs. I stuck a few of those ice packs away for re-use but there are only so many ice packs any household can use and they’re not recyclable because they’re filled with some sort of chemical solution. Every ingredient was packaged separately, down to tiny plastic bottles holding approximately a teaspoon of soy sauce. IF I had weighed the garbage against the end result, I would have found the garbage far in excess of the end result.

I think people should know how to cook, because it’s a skill that helps them make their life better in a number of ways. I freely acknowledge that people with few resources will have a hard time cooking, yet be in a position where the practice would benefit them tremendously. There are some low-cost appliances that can be of much use here, like a rice cooker, hot plate, or toaster oven, but using those efficiently takes a certain degree of skill and knowledge. These kits aren’t going to teach people some important basics, such as how to shop economically/efficiently, how to store ingredients, or how to prepare food.
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