Hi everyone! I have missed your stories and our community.

It has been a long time!

It has been a long time since I have asked anyone for their story.

I have put this project on temporary hold.

It truly felt ill-timed to ask people for their stories as they faced the Covid pandemic and its far-reaching fallout.

It seems we all need to be taking care of our essential needs now.

I hope you are all able to eat food that makes you feel comforted, strong and loved.

Once we have found some semblance of stability we will have the time, desire and ability to put energy into sharing our stories again.

In the meantime...Stay Healthy, Stay Strong, Stay Resilient!

0 views0 comments

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

There is hard cracked leather underneath my bare sweaty legs.

The upholstery above my head is hanging down and dirty grey.

It may break down again.

It may leave us on the side of the road, to stand on steaming asphalt

while plans are made, hood open to what I don't want to see.

I try to keep very still. I try to be weightless.

I try not to notice how loud, rough, and smokey it is.

I pretend I don't care.

I pretend I don't need it.

I am little,

my back is pressed against the seat's back

and my legs are straight out in front of me.

It's early in the morning, it's summer, and we are somewhere in the city.

There is no air-conditioning, the windows are down, and the smell of burning oil floats

between us.

My father is driving us to a bakery outside of our neighborhood.

He says, "They know what they're doing, it's a drive but...

They know what they are doing."

He nods his head up and down with each word. Convinced.

I relax a little. He doesn't think the car will stop working.

I try to see everything outside my window, but we are moving to fast

to get the details I want.

We walk in, into another world, the tiny brass bell on the door jingles.

The air is a heavy mix of fresh bread, sweets, and coffee.

I look down at my slip-on red sneakers.

I am standing on a narrow sea of shiny black and white tiles.

Red on black and white.

My father's shoes are brown leather, they turn to face left and stop.

I look up and see a long glass case; a spotless see-through shield

that divides two worlds.

On one side, there are absolute promises of sweetness

in all colors and shapes, waiting quietly to be chosen.

On the other side, there are strangers lining up, talking,

wanting things, the bell jingling, and me.

I stare through the glass shield.

My eyes are hungry.

Brown sugar clumps dusted with confectionary sugar

on top of buttery white cake.

I smell cinnamon.

Bombolini (doughnuts) with the cremes and jellies poking out

making different shapes, big sugar crystals coating them all.

I smell hot milk, raspberry, and sweet fried dough.

The biscotti with sliced almonds making unique patterns

on their smooth sides.

These must be dunked before biting.

I smell anise.

First, I stare at the things I know my father always gets.

Then... I let my eyes roam. It is overwhelming.

I see creams bursting out of pastries sprinkled with chocolate chips,

and pistachios.

I see coats of powdered sugar clinging,

fruits glistening in sugar glazes heaping,

shiny coats of dipped chocolate surfaces,

pink and green sprinkles leaving no space between them.

Dark chocolate, raspberry, and apricot centers.

I see the round, rectangular, square, crescent, and tubular shapes,

of cookies, cakes, pastries, and pies.

Some are light and puffed up high, some are dense and low, layered or filled, or both.

I want to kiss them all!

I want to be an opera singer, my arms raised up high, singing out my love for all I see

behind this clear glass shield.

I hear my father say, "pick one little treat, one little thing, for the car ride home,

our secret, one little thing."

But how can I choose?

My heart races, I have little time. My father does not like to wait.

I open my eyes as wide as I can, maybe that will help me see more?

No. I pretend I am a bird, an eagle. Yes, it is good to have "eagle eyes".

I am soaring alongside the glass shield with my "eagle eyes" and WHAM,

I see it!

The most beautiful, perfect, rectangular, chocolatey, colorful prize

in this universe of prizes: The Rainbow Cookie. My rainbow.

I grab my father's pant leg and bring him over so I can show him.

I point, there is a speck of air between my finger and the glass.

I am careful and steady, I know the rules.

I hear the woman behind the counter say "Certo! Certo!"

She is happy with my choice!

She grabs a small piece of wax paper and hovers over the tray,

she is hunting for the best one. I love her too!

She picks one and for a tiny second it disappears underneath her hand

as she lifts it up and away from the rest.

She doesn't give the rainbow to my father but instead waves me over

to the low counter. I follow her, excited. She reaches over and places it in

my open palm, and smiles at me.

I smile back at her even though I am very shy.

The bell jingles for us as we leave.

Back in the car I keep my palm open and stare at my treasure.

I wonder why it is called a rainbow cookie when it is so much more

like a mini color stacked rainbow cake.

I touch each layer with my left pointer finger,

there are three: bright green, yellowish-white, and pinky-red.

They are soft, moist, and dense.

There is a red jam soaking into each color and a thinly spread chocolate icing

on the top and the bottom.

I bring it up to my nose and inhale.

It smells chocolatey, almondy, fruity.

I bring it close to my eyes and inspect every texture.

I see where the knife lifted up the chocolate icing at it's edges.

I move my open palm up and down to feel it's weight.

It weighs less than jacks and more than a softball.

The chocolate part is moist but it isn't melting in my hand.

What genius invented this?

My father says "eat, eat, finish it before we get home."

But I don't want to. I want this moment and this rainbow in my hand

to last forever.

My father says my name but I keep my eyes studied on this gift.

He switches on the radio. I hear violins, cellos, and a flute (or piccolo?).

The car stops longer than it would for a street light or a stop sign.

I look over at the driver's seat.

My father's car door swings open and he is getting out.

We are home.

I don't know what to do.

I can't open the heavy car door with one hand.

Will my father open the door for me?

I look down at my right palm and all it holds.

Then, my door swings open, "Come on, come on, let's go" he says as he grabs

the bakery bags and the fat New York Times from the back seat.

I am too little to be left in the car alone.

"Come on, come on, scoot out, scoot, scoot, scoot".

He has forgotten what is in my hand.

I scoot slowly and carefully, I keep my hand steady and out in front of me.

I walk close behind him, he becomes my shield, but he is opaque not glass.

He pauses at the kitchen door (kick, kick, kick)

"Open up my hands are full...for chrissake"

One second left, I bring my rainbow to my mouth and whisper

"I love you" and pop the whole thing in, bam, safe.

My mouth is completely full and I hold it still, no chewing.

The door swings open and it is loud and fast inside that kitchen.

I head straight to my bedroom, eyes forward, and I make it unnoticed.

I sit on the edge of my bed, on my purple bedcover with tiny yellow flowers.

My rainbow is still whole in my mouth.

I close my eyes and try to smush it between my tongue and the roof of my mouth.

I am trying to eat it without using my teeth.

I taste almond, chocolate, raspberry, lemon.

I realize I have to chew or I'll choke.

But, I chew slowly, slowly, slowly.

Almond, chocolate, raspberry, lemon...almond, chocolate, raspberry, lemon...

the flavors leave my tongue and bit by bit go down my throat.

My stomach will have it all soon but time is moving slowly and my mouth is not empty yet.

I think: don't ever forget this, don't ever ever forget this.

Don't ever ever ever forget this.

And I haven't.

me and my dad, the only picture I have of the two of us together.

me at 5 years.

I am a woman in my 50's now, from the east coast and living many miles and years away from the scene of this memory. My father and I went to many different bakeries, on Sunday mornings, throughout my childhood. He was always searching for the best one and I was always happy to join. The bakery I wrote about was the one I remember the most. Maybe it was the first one he took me to. We were a team on those bakery runs, each allowing the other their own experience, he liked new possibilities, and I loved the details. I don't have Italian bakeries where I live now, and I no longer have my father. But, I do have cherished memories, like this one, that I keep very near and alive in my heart.

my dad

by Katey Furgason

Thank you for reading my story.

This memory has never faded and I wanted to write it out and share it, to place it in the world.

I think the memories we keep are the narratives of our lives...they reveal to us who we were and what shaped us into who we are.

For many reasons I have always found comfort in latching onto chosen details; to be active in choosing what to focus on. Maybe that helped me feel in control of my environment, maybe it's just what my heart and mind do. I learned something in the process of writing and structuring this memory... in retrospect, it seems I was practicing how to move from discomfort and fear to calmness and joy, in a short time.

59 views0 comments

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

Throughout human history food has been used as a means to:

survive, thrive, connect, protest, punish, support, rebel, define, and fuel us.

Each time period, culture, region, family, and individual has their own story.

This week we take a look at how, for the past 500 years in the US, Black Communities and organizations have recognized and harnessed the power of food to their advantage.

"Black Communities Have Always Used Food as Protest" For 500 years, Black communities in America have sustained and supported protests through food. By Amethyst Ganaway Updated June 14, 2020

Huey Newton (right), the founder of the Black Panther Party, sits with Bobby Seale (left) at party headquarters in San Francisco. Photo: TED STRESHINSKY / CORBIS / GETTY IMAGES Black people in America have used food as a means of resistance, rebellion, and revolution since being forcefully brought here in the late 1500s. Food has always been a part of the culture and identity of Black communities and has played a role as a source of both comfort and strength for a people constantly subject to abuse, discrimination, and misunderstanding. In African-derived religions, worshippers leave food offerings to orishas, the minor gods and goddesses in the pantheon of West African beliefs. Believers left Ogun, God of the Forge and War, offerings of nuts, berries, meat, and roots from his believers before they went into war. Yemaya, ruler of oceans and the embodiment of Black femininity and power, has her own favorite foods: watermelon, molasses, and maize, as well as fish, poultry, and nuts that she prefers in thanks of her blessings. So even when those same foods revered by the gods and goddesses of their ancestral homelands were turned into means of stereotyping and racial profiling, Black people were able to maintain a closeness with one another through the meals they ate. When the Transatlantic Slave Trade began, enslaved Africans would braid seeds and rice into their hair. This wasn’t just a reminder of home; it was a tangible act of rebellion and resistance and a necessary means of survival in a world unknown to them. Brought to the Americas’ coastal and subtropical lands for their abilities to grow specific crops like rice, people like the Gullah Geechee were able to survive in lands not their own, and were able to maintain a throughline to their traditions by growing plants and eating similar dishes that they had always known; a practice still carried on by communities in the Lowcountry today. As soon as the subjugated people could, they openly rebelled with their captors, through revolts, countering slavemaster violence, and acts of covert insurrection, often centered around food. By taking provisions from their “masters” and raiding the white plantation owners’ personal larders, they sustained their livelihoods and actively acted against their abductors. Often outwitting the subjugating white owners and overseers by claiming that if they were the property of these people, and they grew the food for them, it was just as much theirs as his, equating it to “taking the meat out of one tub and placing it another.” The same cooks—often women—who were revered for their culinary abilities in historical cookbooks and whose recipes are resurfacing today were spitting in and poisoning the food of their kidnappers and their children, and killing them. The pain and deaths the jailer masters faced from the poisoning and theft of food paled in comparison to the atrocities and horrors they inflicted on the forcibly imprisoned. Not all acts of rebellion based around food were necessarily violent. Farming as resistance isn’t a new concept, although there has been a resurgence of farming in communities that have been hit especially hard by gentrification and food apartheid. These communities, largely Black people and other people of color, are often in places that don’t have any source of fresh food for miles. Throughout and after slavery was abolished in the Americas, Black people farmed and gardened to find sustenance literally and figuratively in trying times. During enslavement, people would often have their own gardens to make up for the food the enslavers didn’t or wouldn’t provide. Growing the foods of their homeland like okra, peanuts, benne, watermelon, and more, not only were they able to eat and be connected to their culture (an act of rebellion in itself), they arguably made one of the most significant impacts on what is known as American cuisine. The debt that is owed by America to Black people is so much greater than the forty acres of land that was promised, but never received, and that has accrued interest for over 400 years. To those poor souls who don’t know Black history, the beliefs and desires of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense may seem unreasonable. To Black people, the ten points covered are absolutely essential to survival. We have listened to the riot producing words “these things take time” for 400 years. The Black Panther Party knows what Black people want and need. Black unity and self-defense will make these demands a reality.  - HUEY P. NEWTON, CO-FOUNDER OF THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY OF SELF DEFENSE MAY 16, 1967With enslavement also came enforced Christianity (and other religions) for many of the Africans, African-Americans, and their descendants. The church was often the only place they were “allowed” to meet, and service wasn’t complete without sharing food and meals with one another. These church services and gatherings around tables often became a way to speak and pass coded messages about rebelling against the institutions in place. Even now, organizations like the Black Church Food Security Network provide services that ensure their communities are represented and served local, fresh food from farmers. Churches, mosques, and places of worship often house and host food banks and food drives, and are often the first to respond when their communities are lacking in nourishment. That’s continued for the history of America as a country, up to today. In the 19th and 20th centuries,, Jim Crow laws systemically and purposefully discriminated against Black communities. During the civil rights movement, food was there in the middle of it. The famous Woolworth sit-ins sparked nationwide protests after four Black students from the Historically Black College and University, North Carolina A&T, sat at their local Woolworths counter to protest the segregation that still occurred although Brown vs Board was deemed unconstitutional. Many African-Americans took “shoebox lunches” on rides though the especially hostile Jim Crow South since restaurants would refuse to serve them. Also pivotal was the less-documented work of Black people who fed and sustained protesters throughout the civil rights movement. One food justice activist was Georgia Gilmore, a Black woman who fed civil rights activists and leaders in her Montgomery, Alabama, home. After losing her job as a cafeteria cook because she participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, Gilmore opened her own doors at the suggestion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders. Georgia Gilmore not only fed the leaders, she helped start the Club from Nowhere, a covert baking club that would sell church cakes and use the money to fund protests. In Atlanta, the restaurant Paschal’s—which is still operational today—became a meeting place for famous African American entertainers and leaders. As one of the only white tablecloth restaurants in the South that allowed African Americans and Black people to peacefully enjoy a meal in their dining rooms, Paschal’s often became central to planning protests for the civil rights movement. Food was a central part of the mission of the Black Panther Party and their contributions to African American activism and resistance, as well as their contributions to the American educational system. Started in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, the Black Panther Party initially began as a way to combat and prevent police brutality in Oakland. Deemed as “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country” by the U.S. government, the Black Panther Party implemented programs that held their government and society accountable for their actions (or lack thereof), and that provided compassionate aid to their communities. Food was an explicit part of the mission. When co-founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale co-wrote the Ten Points Program, a set of guidelines to the party they published in the second edition of the organization’s newspaper, they underlined their commitment to food justice: “We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.” Noticing that most students didn’t eat or had never had breakfast before school, the Panthers began to provide free meals for all students in their communities. Despite attempts to thwart the Free Breakfast Program, including police conducting raids while children ate, the government followed suit years later and began a similar program of their own. Though mainstream media characterized the Black Panther Party as a violent group of militant thugs, the truth is they were a group of Black people who believed in radical liberation for their people and who were terrorized by every facet of their society, and who believed that something as simple as feeding a child breakfast could make their country a little better. With Black nationalism and radicalism also came the term “Soul Food.” By reclaiming Southern and African-inspired dishes and ingredients, Black Americans were able to once again reconnect with each other and their people across the diasporas. Authors, chefs, and many others involved in Black resistance found solace in participating in “self-conscious work of cultural construction” and creating a sort of new identity through home cooking, restaurants, cookbooks, and gatherinngs. Through “radical” organizations like the Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, and Organization Us, Black people continued to feed each other knowledge and the foods of their cultures. It’s impossible to put the thousands of years of Black history, revolution, and food into one story, but as we see another generation take to the streets to demand justice for Black lives that have been lost, and for retribution for injustices inflicted over hundreds of years, food finds its way into the resistance again. Many restaurants are still closed or in the process of reopening because of COVID-19, and some are seeing damage from rogue rioters. Food publications and companies are just now taking to social media to declare their newfound commitment to anti-racism while simultaneously forgetting to mention that an entire population of people have been and continued to be herded and hunted, slaughtered at the hands of people who live in a world of similar connivance. While food companies, upscale restaurant groups, and brands post their stances on protesting and social injustices on the internet, Black communities keep up the work of feeding their communities and supporting protests. Black lives lead the vanguard toward equality and revolution as they have done so many times before. We are demanding, not asking, for “Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice And Peace.”


The purpose of this blog is to bring people together.

Food is a common human thread.

No one survives without it.

When we begin to wrap our stories around this thread we create an unbreakable rope

that weaves us together.

We create a way of connection, understanding, and compassion.

Let's keep wrapping those stories around that thread!

Join in, we need your voice too!

Thank You!

19 views0 comments

© 2023 by Nature Org. Proudly created with