One of the things I like best about my job as a food blogger is the community. I’ve said this many times, but in general, folks who read and frequent food blogs are kinder than most people on the internet. This past month was a testament to that. In the span of a few days, I posted two Instagram posts that were near and dear to my heart:
The first was an Instagram post about this Filipino cassava cake recipe that I shared earlier this month. On Instagram Stories, I talked about how, growing up, I was self-conscious of the Filipino food my mom would pack me for lunch. Several of my classmates would make fun of the lunches. As a result, I grew up equal parts protective, defensive, and embarrassed of Filipino food. Sharing the cassava cake was a big step for me—I was worried that you guys would find it “weird” and “gross” like my childhood classmates. But instead, many of you took the time to learn about the traditional Filipino dessert and even baked it at home, too! Furthermore, many Asian and Latinx folks DMed me privately to tell me that they shared the same childhood experience and lingering conflicted feelings about their cuisine. Although it was shocking to see how many folks experience the same thing, it was also uplifting to see how many of us have grown to embrace and be proud of our culture. A big thank you to everybody who took the time to support me and share their stories.
The second was an Instagram post about the tumultuous current affairs in my city of Portland, Oregon. Truthfully, this post was one of my most controversial posts to date. It proved to be even more divisive than my “Just Wear A Mask” cake (which, lol, I was expecting to be controversial because masks have been SO politicized in this country), my last update detailing my personal experience with Bon Appetit, my rambling thoughts on #BlackoutTuesday, this cookie cake with the word “fuck” cheerfully emblazoned on it, and even this very personal blog post about my reaction to Trump’s election all the way back in 2016.
Many of you responded with kind words of empathy and support, but the post also picked up some steam from folks who did not agree. There were a handful of folks who were incensed that I was veering from my usual content of recipes and pretty food photos. There were others who believed that, in my criticism of the federal officers’ violent tactics in my city, I was also supporting the looting and destruction of Portland (which…you guys! These things are not mutually exclusive. I don’t support the feds violently assaulting protestors. Nor do I support protestors looting and destroying businesses in the city I LOVE so much. Condemning one does NOT condone the other!). Then there were just the trolls who were 0% interested in food, me and my account, and were just there to stir shit up and go hard on Trump no matter what.
However, even despite this chaos, I was still able to have some productive conversations with the real community members who disagreed with my opinions. And at the end of the day, I obviously don’t expect all my followers to have the same political beliefs that I do. Because yes, I know that not everybody is a left-wing super-feminist foul-mouthed Democrat like I am. Oddly enough, I’m not posting about these issues because I think it will win me any brownie points or more followers and readers. In fact, I’m well aware that doing so frequently costs me both, lol. But I do it anyway because these are issues that are important to me.
And if you are somebody who doesn’t necessarily agree with what I’ve said, but decided to stick around anyway… I see you and respect you. Thank you for your kindness, and thank you for keeping an open mind.
In Case You Missed It: New Recipes
And in case you missed it, I published and updated the following recipes in the past month. Here’s a round-up of everything new:
- Mini American Flag Cake
- Chocolate Strawberry Snack Cake
- Kentucky Bourbon Butter Cake (This is a MAJOR update to one of my favorite recipes from WAY back—be sure to check it out! I first made this cake back in 2012. It’s such a good recipe that I’ve made it at least once a year since then!)
- Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies (Sadly, this recipe is exclusive to Instagram only; access the recipe by heading to my profile and clicking on the saved highlight. Saved highlights are the circles of food underneath the bio; clicking on one will take you to a video tutorial of the featured recipe. You may need to scroll right to find the tutorial for these cookies.)
- Filipino Cassava Cake (The day this went live, I shared some very personal Instagram Stories about how much it means to me to be able to share this recipe with you guys. Again, thank you so much to everybody who showed their support with kind words and shared experiences!)
- Small Batch Cheesy Garlic Bread
I also created a really, REALLY in-depth guide about all the tools, equipment, and cake pans you need for small batch baking: The Absolute Best Small Batch Baking Tools.
Support Me On Patreon
Developing and updating these recipes requires financial resources from ads on my website and paid partnerships with brands. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, many brands have limited their advertising budgets and cancelled sponsorship opportunities. You can read more about the situation in the April and May updates from this year. So if you are able to financially support my work, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. In addition to enabling me to keep developing more customized recipes suited to your needs, Patreon supporters help shape future recipes on Hummingbird High and get access to exclusive recipes and Instagram Story tutorials like these Small Batch Blueberry Scones, this Very Small Batch Yellow Sheet Cake, Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls, and more.
Food for Thought
This past month, I also spent a LOT of time thinking and reading about food beyond the baking recipes you see on this blog. Here are the ideas and issues that resonated with me:
- This was eye-opening: Who Died For Your Dinner? Buzzfeed takes an in-depth look at the coronavirus human costs of a 4th of July meal in the middle of a pandemic. Sigh.
- What we lose when we call paratha “flaky bread” and bibimbap a “rice bowl”. Required reading for all recipe developers and food bloggers.
- Also important: “The Color of My Skin Is Sometimes Confused With the Scope of My Talent.” This wonderful essay by Tara O’Brady articulates so many of the internal tensions that BIPOC food writers struggle through when asked to share a recipe from their heritage.
- Are small flour milling companies like Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Baking Company the future of the economy?
- Truthfully, I’ve always been a little weirded out by Trader Joe’s use of “cutesy” names like Trader Ming’s for Asian products, Trader Jose’s for Hispanic products, and Trader Giotto’s for Italian products. It looks like Trader Joe’s is finally changing them—all thanks to a petition started by teenager Briones Bedell. In the petition, Briones argued that the names are microaggressions that perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Go Gen Z, go!
- On a similar note, in my last update, I wrote that Aunt Jemima was one of the companies changing their name to move away from racial stereotypes. But this deep-dive by The New York Times into the real Aunt Jemima was a wonderful read and fascinating piece of history.
- In the last few weeks, many employees of famous chefs at renowned restaurants around the country have come forward to talk about their abuse and mistreatment under the chef’s command (the biggest of which was Sqirl’s Moldgate controversy; however, Portland also had its own hot mess to contend with). But let’s rewind—because how did we get here in the first place? I don’t know myself, but The New Republic argues that food media’s treatment of “chefs are the new rock stars” certainly has to do with it.
- It is a sad, sorry state of affairs that Deb from Smitten Kitchen is the only one sounding the alarm about how our government is failing to support parents during this pandemic. To her point: where are our policy makers? Why have parents been left to fend for themselves?
Recipes, Cookbooks, and Resources To Save
And here are the recipes and cooking-related resources I saved these last few weeks:
- Erlend and I had planned to go to Taiwan for our honeymoon this upcoming October. Since that’s no longer an option, I’ve been daydreaming of Taiwanese dishes to make at home. First up? This Taiwanese pork chop plate from The Woks of Life. Yum.
- My friend Edd just came out with an amazing cookbook: One Tin Bakes! The book is currently available in the UK, and will come out in the US in September. All recipes are baked in a humble 9 x 13-inch cake pan, including baked goods like bars, cakes, pies, and buns! I’m so excited to bake from it this week.
- Have you guys heard of Food Timeline (a.k.a. one of the most comprehensive archives for food history on the internet)? This Eater article was the first I’d heard of it, but now I’m hooked. Keeping my fingers crossed that it survives.
- A Field Guide to the American Sandwich. I’ll admit that I’m not the world’s biggest sandwich person, but some of these were pretty appealing!
- After Sqirl argued that their moldy jam was safe to eat, several sources decided to fact check their claims and talk to experts about what moldy food was actually safe to eat. The result was this handy guide by Eater and this Q&A by Grubstreet. But spoiler alert—uhhhh wtf Sqirl.
And On A Lighter Note…
- This diary of “Life After Sourdough” was too freaking real.
- I’m sure that, by this point, we’ve all seen those videos of cakes made to look like hyper-realistic pickles, shoes, toilet paper, and more. Here are the funniest tweets about them.
- TV’s Most Iconic Couples on Day Four Hundred and Thirteen of Quarantine. Hilarious.
Now, I hope you all are staying safe and healthy! Please let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, and feel free to share the ideas and issues that are floating around in your heads, too.