In January, 2014, Whole Foods launched one of their largest food campaigns to date: Collards Are The New Kale. Cashiers fastened buttons to their aprons, Whole Foods bloggers scrambled to publish collards-based recipes, and the whole produce aisle buzzed with anticipation. Kales understudy had finally ascended into the spotlight.
Have you heard the siren call of collards yet? wrote resident blogger Alana Sugar.1 Given the droves of people who swarmed the registry for Whole Foods collard cooking classes, it seems people heard the sirens loud and clear.
While Im almost certain Whole Foods didnt intend to imply that collards are a beautiful, alluring vegetable with sinister ramifications, much like the sirens of Greek mythology, that is exactly what they became. Cue: food gentrification.
Collard greens have held staple status in the diets of working class Black and white Southern Americans for centuries. Divorcing this vegetable from its roots in these communities to rebrand it for the affluent shoppers of Whole Foods caused prices to soar, rendering collards less affordable for people who relied on it for many of their dishes.
Black feminist and writer Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) drew attention to the parallels between this food market colonialism and gentrification when she tweeted:
When we talk about #foodgentrification were talking about the impact of a traditionally low income food becoming trendy.
Now, once-affordable ingredients have been discovered by trendy chefs, and have been transformed into haute cuisine, Kendall wrote. Food is facing gentrification that may well put traditional meals out of reach for those who created the recipes.
1 I want to make a note that crediting Alana Sugar doesnt mean I intend to villainize her, because everyones just trying to make a living and working as a Whole Foods blogger doesnt mean she created the campaign. Its systematic, okay?!
I live in Toronto. By demographical standards, it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Of 6.1 million residents in the Greater Toronto Area, 45.7% were born outside of Canada.
When it comes to food, Toronto is a city lauded equally for the diversity of its cuisines as it is its people. But are we truly worthy of this claim? For some, Torontos food diversity is less a reflection of its diverse population than its structural inequalities.
Take local Toronto business Chaiwala Chai for example.
You may recall the term Chaiwala from 2008 movie Slumdog Millionaire. Jamal, the protagonist, is an orphaned Indian boy who works as a Chaiwala (tea server) at a call centre. When Jamal lands on Indias Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? the show host refers to Jamal as a Chaiwala several times throughout the episode. In this case, the host uses the term Chaiwala as an insult; a synonym for poor, uneducated and lesser than. Jamal is then arrested on suspicion of cheating, because surely a Chaiwala couldnt be this smart. The job of a Chaiwala is highly stigmatized, deeply entrenched in caste system culture.
Which is why Chaiwala Chai makes a particularly surprising title for the chai company in Toronto, founded by Eamon and Becca two, young white entrepreneurs. On their website, Eamon and Becca refer to themselves as Canadian Chaiwalas. They share their story, where they toured the chai drinking nations of Asia before returning home to present their perfect blend to the people of Toronto.
Chaiwala Chai supplies over 47 cafes across Toronto with masala chai, including locales such as Jimmys coffee, Wandas Pie in the Sky, The Green Beanery, and more. What does it mean that this many cafes bypassed dozens of Indian food suppliers in the GTA to source their products from two white people with enough disposable income to traipse the entire continent of Asia, two people who have no apparent connection to the culture? 2
I spoke with Chinese-Canadian writer and activist Lorraine Chuen, who recently penned the piece Food, Race, and Power: Who gets to be an authority on 'ethnic' cuisines? on her blog, Intersectional Analyst.
Im not saying white people cant eat or cook foods from other cultures, but theres a structural pattern where white people are more likely to profit from other cultures than the people from those cultures themselves.
There are countless examples of the authority that white people (primarily affluent white people) are granted in Torontos food market, especially in the media. A recent interview with Rose & Sons chef Anthony Rose on their new Chinatown Sundays menu described Roses take on Chinese food as elevated. The interviewer has since apologized for their wording, but the question remains: why dont people want to eat their Chinese food at a Chinese-owned restaurant?
When white people want to eat non-Western food but they dont want to be in the presence of other racialized people, I think thats when these specialized 'ethnic' menus by white chefs become so popular. Thats my hypothesis said Lorraine. Its white people being served by other white people, with food thats made by white people and its like, We like everything about this culture except for the people, like we just want to have the experience without any attachment. Thats what makes me uncomfortable. As usual, people of colour are left out of the story.
2 Yes, this is an assumption, but a pretty educated one based on their company name.
While Lorraine illustrates the erasure of people, history and culture, Nabeel Shakeel Ahmed, a Pakistani-Canadian who came to Toronto in 2009, fears that even the most basic essence of his cultural cuisine has gone missing taste.
When Nabeel moved to Toronto, he sought to share an important part of his culture and identity with new friends: Pakistani food.
When I think of culture, I think of three things: language, art, and food, said Nabeel. Its an integral part of culture. Food is part of identity.
Despite dozens of Pakistani restaurants in Toronto, Nabeel found that most werent doing justice to Pakistani cuisine.
I dont go out to eat food from India or Pakistan. Im not going to enjoy it because its usually a watered down version. Its hard for me to share my culture, experiences, and identity with others. Its harder for me to connect.
One driving force behind the distortion of ethnic cuisines in Toronto is commercialization.
In order to set up shop in certain high income areas, the rents are so high that only the big brands with standardized, commercial versions of foods can be there.
Small restaurants, or those without a commercial edge, flee to periphery areas for their pared down rents areas fewer people are willing to trek out to.
Big brand restaurants cater to people who have enough disposable income to eat out on a regular basis, which is mostly white people.
So, when Nabeel ventures out for Indian or Pakistani food, once-familiar cuisines have been altered to suit the palates of white customers.
To make a masala daal, I would use turmeric, red chili pepper, coriander powder, cumin, garlic, and ginger, Nabeel said. He spoke slowly, deliberately, so I could note each ingredient. In the commercial version of daal there might be something like salt, crushed red pepper, maybe some bits of ginger, and thats it.
What makes a city like Toronto great is that we have so many cultures, but ideally we want the culture as it is, not a watered down version. We want to preserve that long term.
Nabeel offered a potential solution: Ethnic food producers need more opportunities to share their food with a broader audience; to share what they feel the best version of that food is, not what they feel the audience will most respond to. That kind of diversity is really important.
I wondered if there were further benefits to cheaper dishes. Could it be plausible that some of these restaurants were interested in serving simplified versions of their cuisines just to save money? After all, less complex recipes could mean cheaper product.
I didnt have to look far for answers, because Krishnendu Ray, chair of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University recently tackled this topic in a recent interview by Roberto A. Ferdman. According to Ray, even restaurants that want to serve authentic versions of their dishes are often unable to due to the low price ceiling imposed on many cultural cuisines in North America. Torontonians tend to regard ethnic cuisines as inferior, and expect prices to match.
Feldman writes, Despite complex ingredients and labor-intensive cooking methods that rival or even eclipse those associated with some of the most celebrated cuisines think French, Spanish and Italian we want our Indian food fast, and we want it cheap.
Businesses must make sacrifices to food quality when customers demand dishes at a fraction of their value. Especially when many of the complex spices and ingredients in ethnic foods arent as widely available as traditionally Western ingredients.
If Torontos food diversity is a reflection of its people, what does it say that restaurant goers are unwilling to value certain cuisines? What does it mean that the majority of these undervalued cuisines belong to people of colour?
Andrew and Sadi, two food lovers in Toronto, considered these power dynamics and decided to start 6ixspots: a blog that highlights human stories behind small-scale, immigrant-owned restaurants or restaurants with a transnational legacy.
As children of immigrants and avid lovers of cultural cuisines, they noticed their favourite immigrant-owned ethnic restaurants were rarely featured in Torontos media.
Its always the downtown core, mainly the West End restaurants that have a big social media presence, that get featured, Andrew said. Certain chefs are interviewed constantly. They know how to get press.
And even when cultural cuisines are highlighted in popular media, it is often a story told by someone else.
Owners arent really the owners of the stories, Sadi said.
Andrew joined in, Stories of ethnic cuisines are usually told on behalf of the the people making it. Like in the case of Matty Matheson or Anthony Bourdain. As interviewers, we try to step back and let them tell the story.
Sadi capped off our conversation: Our culture has become more about criticizing food than enjoying it. We tend to forget that there are people pouring their lives into serving us these dishes. My hope is that people can appreciate the human story behind it all.
Just this week, Tourism Toronto released its newest ad for the city a video titled The Views Are Different Here. It accentuates the vibrant, colourful landscape of Toronto, its people, and its food. It highlights inclusivity. Moments from the end, as the camera pans through Chinatown, the text on the screen reads: All flavours are welcome.
Toronto, if we want this to be true, lets put our money where our mouth is. Literally.
If you would like to learn more about food politics in Toronto or become a more critical diner, here are some places to start:
Use this article as a conversation point with friends and family
Read Lorraine Chuens experience with race, food, and power on Intersectional Analyst
Read human-centred profiles of small-scale, immigrant-owned restaurants at 6ixSpots
Listen to Racist Sandwich, a podcast on food and race politics here
Contact your favourite cafe on this list and ask them to source their chai more ethically
Going out to eat? Why not try one of the restaurants highlighted on Black Foodie or Halal Foodie.
Get excited for the opening of Nish Dish, a new Indigenous restaurant focusing on Anishinaabe recipes, as well as products from First Nations and Metis producers.
Looking to book your next caterers? Check out the Afghan Womens Catering Group.
Volunteer or Donate to Newcomer Kitchen, a project that supports Syrian refugee women in making traditional Syrian food in a fun, social setting.
Special thanks to Safah, Lorraine Chuen of Intersectional Analyst, Andrew and Sadi at 6ixSpots, Nabeel Shakeel Ahmed, Matthew Ha, Toula Nikas, Jess Shane, Dave Karrel, Robyn Simon and all the people who added to this conversation on Bunz Helping Zone and Young Urbanists League.
Narcissism is never a particularly attractive quality.
Which is rather ironic, considering narcissists believe they are simply the be all and end all, that everyone wants them or wants to be them.
Yet spending extended periods of time with people who are so egregiously obsessed with themselves can be simply exhausting, as they frequently find a way of veering the conversation back to themselves.
Making it all the more tempting to give them a taste of their own medicine, and find a way to annoy them.
Redditor RockyCasino was curious to hear people's favorite ways to annoy or anger narcissists, leading them to ask:
"How do you get under a narcissist's skin?"
A Bit Underwhelming, No?
"Grey rock technique."
"I don’t know if it was specifically designed to deal with narcissistic people, but it works wonders on people with NPD or just narcissistic traits."
"If they say 'I just won an award that’s only given to a handful of people. I really don’t work that hard (fishing for compliment) though, teehee!'"
"You just say 'that’s cool' and nothing more."
"They’ll try another line or two, so you may have to repeat the process."- False-Guess
Ignorance Is TRULY Bliss
"Don't try to."
"Just ignore them."- Envy_The_King
"Ignore them."- mimijane73ron swanson spinning GIFGiphy
Seriously, Just Ignore Them!
"Give them zero attention."
"That will drive them insane."- sigmindm
"My father is a narcissist."
"Ignoring them will almost certainly get under their skin and even make them angry."- handsomejack191
"Go no contact."
"It's the only way."- Motor-Beach-4564Go Away Reaction GIFGiphy
"Start communicating with the other people they manipulate."
"Narcissists will often pit people against each other."
"They like to keep the people they lie to separated so they don't communicate with one another and possibly figure out they're being manipulate."
"When you start communicating with them independently, it takes away the narcissists feeling of power and control."
Don't Take The Bait!
" think my mom's one."
"She LOVES pushing people's buttons til they snap at her, then acting like she's been wronged."
"But it totally enrages her if you don't engage her baiting game."- Altruistic_Proof_272
Take Your Pick...
"Things that worked for me were ignoring them, being very unemotional, not reacting to their contrived insults, limiting eye contact and keeping interactions very short."- Nice_Feeling4398
Move On, And Don't Look Back
"When you live a really happy life and forget about them."
"Like genuinely, take the time, heal from the trauma, block them from all social media, they will lash out, so it's best to establish distance before moving on."- MinghaolegsLeaving James Harden GIF by Farmers Insurance ®Giphy
Indeed, for people who thrive off of being the center of attention, nothing could possibly annoy them more than being ignored.
Unless, perhaps, everyone devotes their attention to someone else in plain sight of them...
With more and more unfortunate stories about misconduct in the news, there is an understandably low opinion of police officers in the United States.
Though we should always remember that the corrupt or ill-suited cops we read about in the news do not represent all police officers.
For law enforcement is by all means necessary, and can be an extremely taxing job, both physically and emotionally.
With many police officers coming in contact with people who have gone through experiences no one deserves to go through.
Redditor Fish_f*cker12300 was curious to hear some of the most unfortunate things police officers have been told by convicts they've come in contact with, leading them to ask:
"Cops of Reddit what is the saddest thing a criminal has said?"
Cold Comfort At It's Worst
"I nicked a guy for attempted murder once."
"I had met him before a few times, usually when he was a suspect."
"He just said 'even now, you're still the closest thing I've got to a proper friend'."- ConsTisi
They Learn At A Young Age, For Better Or Worse
"Work security in a town's retail supermarket."
"Watched the local drug dealer force his son of about 8 to shoplift some pastries."
"Nothing about this boy would have made him stand out as this man's son, just an ordinary looking kid but his father wanted to make him into a man by teaching him how to steal."
"Four years later and this boy is clearly his fathers son."- Seoirse82
Their Fate Is Already In the Cards
"Speaking to a juvenile in the cells with a butt load of warrants for stealing cars and armed robberies."
"Told me the only way he could get toys is if he stole them, and his parents would never help him with his homework but showed him what to say to get free McDonald's and how to avoid getting caught shop lifting."
"Some kids have no hope and are just going to end up in the system."- Terror_Tanuki
Some Rob Out Of Necessity
"A lot of stores were looted, and people were walking off with multiple TVs, appliances etc."
"Some citizen journalist was out on the streets, stopping looters, and interviewing them."
"It's winter, it's dark, and suddenly this little kid appears, holding a single bag."
"Couldn't have been more than 8."
"The citizen journalist stops him, and demands to see what's in the bag."
"He opens it up."
"One pair of pants."
"One pair of shoes."
"A three pack of underwear."
"This little kid had followed a group of adults into a chaotic situation and taken what he needed, and only what he needed."
"I can't watch the clip without sobbing."
"The interviewer sent the kid off with his little bag of one single, looted outfit."
"The final shot is of this tiny little thing, walking into the darkness, barefoot and alone."
"It was absolutely heartbreaking."- GCB78
Victims Of Circumstance
"Afghan in 2011-2012."
"Was on patrol pretty much doing cop work sometimes."
"We’d go door to door or compound to compound and our Lieutenant would talk to locals with our translator."
"During one of the meetings I was inside working as a sort of guard for my Lt."
"The guy he was talking to came up positive for gun trace residue and was a confirmed Taliban in the eye scanner thing we had."
"When my Lt questioned him before we detained him, he told my Lt that he didn’t want to fight us, but if he didn’t the Taliban would kill his family."
"I was 18-19 and my Lt was 24-25, now I’m 29 and I realize that war was all f*cked."- surf0302
Desperate To Change Their Circumstance
"I worked in a day program and a prevocational program."
"My clients came from institutions and were doing program as part of their conditions of release."
"One of my groups ran a hotdogs cart and they profit shared, after cart expenses."
"They made very little, they were on assistance so it wasn't an income supplement it was more of a perk."
"Anyways I had this one woman, she had been a sex worker since she 12, she was in her 40s."
"Her first week was a nightmare."
"She was late."
"Struggled to cut the onions."
"But she showed up each day late, frantic and crying to not be fired."
"She worked for 1 hour each day."
"The following week when she came to pick up her pay, a whole whopping $11.50, she burst into tears."
"I thought it was because it was it was so little money."
"She acted as if I had given her a thousand dollars and an Oscar."
"She clutched the little envelope and cried."
"She said 'it's the first money I ever made not on my back'."
"'Never thought I could'."
"We hugged she skipped off happily."
"Then I sobbed in the bathroom for 5 minutes."- MoxieAndSass
A Warning For Others...
"Sex worker asked if I had a daughter & likely could tell by my face that I did before I could answer."
"Tell her she's two bad choices away."- jjreason
Day in and day out, cops and others working in criminal justice are forced to come face to face with the fact that not everyone is dealt an equal hand in life.
And learn that some people break the law, not for self-gain, but because they truly and utterly feel that they have no other choice.
Making the need for programs to help them find a better path forward all the more important.
The term "fan" is believed to be derived from "fanatic" or "fanatical.
Meaning "a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal".
Indeed, some fans simply can't hide their excitement for their favorite franchises, sports teams, recording artists, or political figures, no matter how hard they try.
Resulting in the birth of such monikers as "Trekkies", "Beliebers", or "Cumberb*tches."
And while these passionate, some might say obsessive, fan bases often find compatriots at conventions, premieres and meet-ups, those unfamiliar with the apples of their respective eyes might be confused by their level of fandom, if not down right annoyed.
"What is the most annoying fan base?"
"This will probably get buried, but back in 2012-2015 I was in the Creepypasta Fandom."
"The people in that Fandom were psychotic, it was crazy."- ElenoaL
"Serial killer fans."- xcxaxsxpxexr
Bring On The Clap-Backs...
"The fanbase of Rupauls Drag Race is pretty notorious for sending death threats to the hard working talented people they’re supposed to be a fan of."- rubenblomRupauls Drag Race Reaction GIFGiphy
All Of Them. Literally, ALL OF THEM!
"Any fan base if you go deep enough."
"Just go to one of those subs for a small Netflix show you’ve binged in a day."- qwerty12qwerty
"Evil Is Out There"... It's The Fans!
"Coming from a genuine fan of the show, I think that the Supernatural fanbase needs to pipe the f*ck down."- AaryanKearns
My Favorite Group Is Better Than Yours!!!
"Kpop fans who take things a bit too far."
"I had friends who'd have fights over who is 'worthy' to be called the wife of one of the kpop idols, no they weren't joking."- CaprisalK Pop Reaction GIFGiphy
Hence The State Of American Politics...
"Politicians' fan base."- NikinhoRobo
It's A Hedgehog Guys...
"Sonic fans are always a gamble."
"They can be so god damn wholesome and nice but then you got the f*cking weirdos."
"I don’t mean the kids who make fan characters."
"I personally don’t know why they are hated I find it to be wholesome seeing kids make art based of their interests."
"Im talking about the people who rage over any criticism towards the games, comics, developers, etc."- CaptainCringeOng
You Know They've Gone Too Far When They Name Themselves...
"I'm put off by any fanbase that has a collective name."
"'The B-Hive' and so forth."
"In almost every case it feels really forced."
"Football (soccer) Twitter is full of d*ckheads too.'
'The further away from the team's home ground they live, the worse they get.'Euro 2016 England GIF by SporzaGiphy
"Playstation VS Xbox ."
'iPhone vs Android."
"Those people."- L33HDX
There's nothing wrong being a fan of someone or something, no matter how fanatical you get.
Though it would be in everyone's best interest to learn how to temper those feelings around others, as not everyone will share your passionate feelings.
Just ask any Yankees fan who's dared to wear their team's cap in Boston...
Usually when we meet someone for the first time whether at a social function, at work, or randomly in public, we generally have a good Spidey sense about the type of person they are.
Even with alcohol in the mix, our instincts can be dulled but we still continue engaging with someone who seems outgoing and friendly enough at the bar.
But we also have the ability to tell right away if that person doesn't have good intentions.
Curious to hear of possible identifiers signaling that someone is suspicious, Redditor PsychologicalPop8776 asked:
"What is a subtle sign someone isn’t a good person?"
These familiar types of behavior really shows a person's true colors.
It Works Both Ways
"They believe that respect is earned but demand it immediately from you."
Prelude To A Diss
"Or, conversely, when they love to constantly say 'With all due respect' right before they disrespect someone."
A World Of Their Own
"Someone who is incapable of reflecting. They are the centre of their own universe. They are unable to grasp the big picture or how they fit within it. Everyone has a place in the larger picture, which is their small view of the world."
"They share private information about others with you."
"Casual unnecessary lying."
Saying "sorry" is too much for some people to say.
Passing On Responsibility
"Not owning up to their mistakes and always attributing it to someone or something else."
"My mom's famous line when caught doing something wrong 'Well, I didn't know' instead of 'I'm sorry.'"
"Obligatory posting of The Narcissist's Prayer:"
'That didn’t happen.
And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
And if it is, that’s not my fault.
And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
And if I did, you deserved it.'
Sometimes, it's the visible signals that indicate what kind of person someone is.
"Littering. It's not a violent act or anything, but it does indicate a lack of respect that usually carries into other aspects of the person's life."
"Yes. Watched a guy stick his gum on the underside of the bar and instantly knew we wouldn’t be going on another date."
Parking Lot Protocol
"Yes, kinda along the same lines of people who don’t return their grocery cart. That lack of respect."
Communicating With Drivers
"I feel the same way about a number of things people do when driving, specifically using your turn signal. The use of your signal lets other drivers (and sometimes pedestrians) know your intent - allowing them to better anticipate your actions. Not using it indicates you are only thinking about yourself...which is probably how you live the rest of your life."
I was in a packed movie theater once when I saw a woman sitting by herself. She wasn't waiting on anyone but she still saved a seat on either side of her.
When a couple entered her row, one of them politely asked if it would be cool if the woman moved down one seat so she could sit together with her boyfriend.
The woman said, "No" and stayed in her seat. I could hear a chorus of snickers from other audience members witnessing this.
Shocked, the girlfriend said, "Really? You're a horrible person."
Yeah, sounds about right.
Throughout the entire movie, the couple–who wound up flanking the woman on either side of her in their respective seats–kept passing the popcorn bucket to each other right in front of the woman.
In addition to the movie, this was a satisfying plot line to watch.