My guests today are Emma Rosen and Maddie Mays.
Joan Brunwasser: Welcome to OpEdNews, ladies. I understand that you recently poured your culinary efforts into activism. Tell us more, please.
Best friends forever. Maddie and Emma in Prospect Park in NYC this past fall, a favorite destination of theirs
(Image by Emma Rosen) Details DMCA
Emma: Thanks for having us, Joan! We are excited to chat with you. Maddie and I have been best friends for over 20 years. We both love to cook, me as a hobby, Maddie as a career. She is a personal chef (potentially transitioning into a new venture), and so, is plugged into a network of chefs, all of whom have been affected by COVID, many of whom are activists. When she found out about the opportunity to bake for a good cause, to channel our hobby into something that could advance the conversation surrounding racial justice in America, we jumped at the chance.
Maddie: Hi, Joan. Such a pleasure to talk with you. As Emma mentioned, baking has been a hallmark of our friendship since we were in third grade. During the past few months of quarantine, we've found a lot of calm and joy in Zoom baking dates. We've tackled everything under the sun from naturally fermented sourdough bread, to ice cream, lemon bars, meringue, savory buns, soft pretzels, even pop tarts. After seeing so many of our food-world friends posting about the Bakers Against Racism bake sale on Instagram, we thought this would be a perfect way to contribute to the antiracist movement in a way that was uniquely "us."
Joan: Go on!
Maddie: The Bakers Against Racism bake sale is the brainchild of three esteemed pastry chefs from Washington D.C.--Paola Velez, Willa Lou Pelini, and Rob Rubba. The founders provided us with all necessary marketing information as well as graphics we could use across our social media platforms. Their only recommendations for the project were to make 150 pieces of our respective baked goods and donate 100% of the proceeds to an organization that supports black lives. This flexibility allowed us to really let our creative juices flow. We respectively marketed on our Instagram accounts and through word-of-mouth to family/friends and ended up selling over 40 bags of cookies.
Joan: How did you choose what to make?
Maddie: We decided to prepare packages of two different cookies, both of which we made for the first time during quarantine. I made jammers, a recipe from the famed baker Dorie Greenspan, which is essentially just a jam-topped shortbread cookie sprinkled with a crunchy streusel. Emma prepared a traditional Australian treat, callac Anzac biscuits, which are an oat and coconut based cookie that is toasty, crisp and honestly hard to stop eating.
Joan: I can attest to that; yum! So this was a virtual bake sale? I don't get how that works. Can you explain for us low-tech folks?
Emma: Of course! We essentially did pre-sale online or via text message, letting word spread throughout our networks. We then baked all of the goodies, packaged them with a few additional resources that people can use to take action against racism, and asked that people pay us online (though Venmo, a mobile payment app -- I also had a few people pay me via check if they weren't super tech savvy). After the goodies were baked and delivered, Maddie and I pooled our donations and made a group contribution to a local organization, Assata's Daughters.
Joan: Let's talk about how you went about picking an organization to support. What were you looking for?
Maddie: We knew we wanted to support a Chicago-based organization so that was our first qualifier. There were so many amazing ones to choose from, but when we read about Assata's Daughters' mission statement, it really spoke to us. The organization is led by Black women and aims to "organize young Black people by providing political education, leadership development, mentorship, and revolutionary services." They also take an intersectional approach to their community building by appealing specifically to queer and gender non-conforming people of color. We felt that the combined addressing of racial rights, women's rights, and queer rights made it a powerful choice. Plus, any organization that inspires younger generations to get involved in the fight for human justice gets high marks in our book.
Emma: Maddie nailed it. There are so many great organizations out there we'd love to support -- and hopefully we will, in other avenues. Lots of people are doing great work.
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