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About this Blog

What began as a way to show off the fact that I could make two kinds of cupcakes and two kinds of frosting in one day has evolved into a rewarding practice that fuels my passion for good food and continuously expands my range of culinary possibilities.

Although all the recipes on this blog are vegan (with the possible exceptional inclusion of honey), I do not write for an exclusively vegan readership: I’m always trying to find new vegetables, new spices, and new culinary possibilities, but you won’t find many meat substitutes from a box or cream cheeses made from hydrogenated beans here, just… food. My favorite culinary model here is 101cookbooks.com, which is actually not an exclusively vegan blog.  Hence the parentheses in my blog's name.

And, while recipes remain the heart and the focus of this blog, I do strongly believe that grocery-shopping, eating, cooking, and the discourses that we use to communicate about these acts, are always political. While veganism to me is not about purity or being holier-than-thou, I think that adopting a primarily vegan diet—besides being a much healthier way to eat—has significant political weight for several reasons:

1) eating lower on the food chain and consuming far fewer resources,

2) standing outside of the powerful agricultural-military-economic-industrial complex that benefits from keeping people uninformed and apathetic about where their food comes from, and

3) cultivating mindfulness about food more generally—a value that I see in other seemingly-prohibitive practices of eating, such as those in Islam and Judaism, as well. This goes far beyond thinking about the environmental impact of our grocery shopping: I’m interested in how the circulation of recipes and cooking practices reflects a history of complex cultural exchanges, and in how discourses of and attitudes toward eating reflect and construct cultural, racial, and gendered identity. Why, for example, are many of the national dishes of Senegal based on rice that was introduced into the country from Southeast Asia in the last century? Where do fortune cookies come from? Why are red wine vs. white, wine vs. beer, steak vs. fish, meat vs. vegetable, ALL gendered choices in my culture? Why are so many vegans and vegetarians queer and/or female? (some earlier half-baked versions of these questions: on "ethnic" food, on studying abroad in Senegal, and on Indian cookbooks)

My questions are too broad and wide-ranging to ever produce a thesis. Rather, this cluster of issues forms a lens that I think helps clarify why food is so, so important--I mean, beyond its immediate biological life-sustaining purposes. I haven't recently had the time or energy to branch out into posts on foodways and food justice as well as recipes, but it remains a huge interest to me.

About Julia

Julia lives in Western North Carolina.  In addition to blogging about food, she also teaches a wide range of courses in literature, composition, and cultural studies. A classically trained singer with a background in linguistics and a penchant for travel, her academic, creative, political, and culinary selves are inextricable from each other.

It was living, cooking, and eating in a vegetarian co-op house while in college that really fostered both Julia's love of food and cooking, and her awareness of the political, social, and environmental impact of the food choices we make every day.  It was also there that she learned about Carlo Rossi, Nag Champa, and having squirrels living in your walls, but that's probably beside the point.  In 2006, Julia also lived in Dakar, Senegal, an experience which further made evident the importance of food in a number of ways.  Then, in the time between college and grad school, Julia worked behind the counter/espresso machine in several upscale bakery-cafes in London and Chicago, where she learned more about nice food (and cranky people).

Living in an LA neighborhood that is home to Angelenos with Armenian, Thai, Latin American, Indian, and Korean roots was an exciting source of exposure to new foods and food traditions for Julia.

Julia feels silly writing about herself in the third person.


Salv said...

wow, i think you are amazing. You have such dedication and creativity. thank you for sharing your recipes!

Gauri Radha गौरी राधा said...

Nice bio!!

I'm Los Angeles born and raised myself.

Thank goodness we live here with so many vegan options around us :-)

Sublime Existence said...

Hi my name is jesse, I read your profile on another website which brought me to this amazing blog. I think you are really interesting and funny and more synonyms that imply awesome! I can't seem to find your profile anymore so I am leaving you a message on this. my e-mail is morrow-j@hotmail.com. I would love to discuss food and travel with you so more, I feel like we have a ton in common :)

Beige Ruth said...

Hi Julia,
I found your blog a couple of months ago searching for seasonal vegan recipies for sweetcorn, of all things.
I'm SO SO SO glad. My partner nearly had a heart attach a few months back and we have decided to try a vegan diet as a family to help love his heart and our bodies a bit better.
Well - I've never really cooked before - I'm 36 and I was a bit allergic to it...but not only have I started to really enjoy cooking but my partner has felt so loved by my cooking for him that our relationship is sort of growing too.
Thank-you for all the hard work and thoughtfulness and LOVE you put into your blog. Love really does grow love. Thank-you

mizkansas said...

Do you have a recipe for maafe??

Julia said...

@mizkansas, I don't, but now that you mention it, I'd like to try one! :) Any suggestions? Otherwise I may just google maafe and try a variation.

Julia Mickelson said...

Um, you ARE my alter ego, seriously. Many of my friends laugh at and make fun of the way I eat...and they now laugh even more because I found a local vegan restaurant close to my heart called Julia's Kitchen (my name is also Julia) that is as "weird" as I am. And now, I've found you. Vegan Julias unite!

I too studied linguistics and language in college and was born and raised in Long Beach, though I moved to Boulder, Colorado a couple of years ago. I also am an insatiable travel monkey and spent my honeymoon backpacking through South America for four months.

I'm actually a little tripped out to have found this blog, truly. My friends are always telling me to start my own blog about vegan food, nutrition, my lifestyle and whatnot, but it looks like you beat me to punch and now I can direct them to you instead--one "weird" Julia for another, same diff, right?

You probably get this a lot but, I would totally get the biggest kick out of meeting you when next I am in the LA area. All of my family is in CA, so I do make it back there about once a year or so. I'm not sure how to contact you directly as I haven't yet searched your blog for an email address, so if you reply to this comment, I'll supply contact information in another comment if you'd ever like to meet or chat on the phone or email about your experiences, food, or whatever else you may want to know about your alter ego. =) Most would say I have an obsession with food and nutrition, so I'm sure we'd have a bottomless pit of topics to discuss in that arena alone.

So, there you have it. I couldn't resist the chance to comment and connect with a kindred spirit. Keep on keepin' on, my friend and I will spread the word! Wishing you peace, success, and tasty vegan food.

The Yogi Vegetarian said...

Hi! I'm Sarojini of The Yogi Vegetarian; so happy to have found your blog; now following, and looking forward to reading all your recipes... :)

Georgy's Plant Strong Kitchen said...

Hi--I'm Georgy and I just started a vegan food blog so I could easily share my favorite recipes with family and friends. Don't know how I ended up on your blog, but I'm thrilled to have found it. My husband is half Armenian and your recipes look yummy. Our family has been eating whole foods, plant strong for a year and we have all lost weight and feel great. Thank you for sharing your recipes and I wish you all the best!