MLK Days of Yesterday
Some people are tough. I’m not one of them. When I have a sniffle, it can seem like the end of the world. And right now I have a full blown head cold. Thankfully, I have good health insurance, so I don’t have to worry if things take a turn for the worse.
Except for trips to the kitchen for chicken soup, and my plan to take a hot shower later today, I’m staying in bed.
Last night I went to sleep early, thinking that today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Since it’s a holiday, nobody would be expecting a post. But then I looked through the archive, and came to realize that I have always had new content on the MLK Days of yesterday.
I suppose, for some reason, MLK Day feels more important now than ever. Still, I don’t like to break from precedent, so today I have a little bit of a retrospective.
2012: Religious Rice
This one I actually tied back to MLK. I was even indignant that we celebrate Dr. King’s birthday on a day that’s not his birthday. But without a good recipe for pecan pie to share, I took a leap and wrote about bringing a dish to my synagogue’s monthly potluck. And even though people said nice things about what I made, the rice was undercooked. No amount of prayer could help it. But with more time and heat, the leftovers were quite good.
This next year I didn’t even try to connect the post to the holiday. I was apparently on another diet, and excited that the candied DuChilly hazelnuts from TC Paris Bakery were diet approved. More than anything, this post reminds me that I haven’t spoken to Chef Paul for a long time, and it’s been even longer since I’ve enjoyed some of these very special treats from his kitchen. When the going gets rough, it’s good to remember the pleasure providing properties of sugar.
2014: Espresso Jocks
Why didn’t MLK Day get any play in 2014? Well there was actual news to report. Luen Proft took home the Barista Albany Championship for Lucas Confectionery. That was huge. The first year a guy named David Schulman took the prize for the Hudson River Coffee House. But this was a bigger deal to me, because it meant the Confectionery was grooming some serious talent to complement its serious coffee program.
Even though the holiday itself wasn’t called out by name, at least I was aware of the three day weekend. Actually I was bummed out because my long weekend plans were foiled after an ice storm forced me off the highway on my drive to Providence. That meant no meatballs for me. Although we did get an unexpected meal at Friendly’s where I rode out the storm with the fussy little children.
2016: Old Starch
Again, not one mention of the holiday, although there is a pretty great picture of a poached egg on homemade hash. But this post wasn’t just about hash. It was about all of the delicious ways I have found to use up leftover starches. Cooking with leftovers is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. Minimizing waste while creating something appetizing is a hobby more people should cultivate.
Speaking of things that more people should cultivate, a growing awareness of social justice should be right up there. Now more than ever. On the radio, I heard a reading of Dr. King’s 1963 I Have a Dream speech, and there was one paragraph that struck me as particularly cogent today:
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, ‘When will you be satisfied?’ We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: ‘For Whites Only.’ We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until ‘justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.’
I’m going to try and be more mindful in the future of this day of remembrance. It’s important. Because while in some areas there has been progress on civil rights, we have a long way to go.