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Why Create An Antifascist Cookbook? (Soup For Our Families Intro)

Posted in Creative Commons, Journalism, and Zines

Originally published on my Patreon.

This is the first draft of what I hope will become the introduction to “Soup For Our Families: An Antifascist Cookbook,” a zine which I plan on publishing in late fall or early winter 2021. Click here to read about how to submit a recipe; deadline to get in touch is September 1.

Update 9/8/2021: Soup For Our Families is closed to new submissions, but please keep sending in your recipes if you’ve already been in touch with me.  

If you haven’t seen them before, check out my zine “Beyond the Concrete Milkshake.” You can also peruse Volume I and Volume II of my Virtual Gonzo Zine Library mini-distro.

An Introduction: Why create an antifascist cookbook?

In late summer 2021, there seemed to be a brief window in the COVID Pandemic where I felt safe organizing in-person events. Those of us among the vaccinated-and-careful cautiously emerged from our homes and met on sunny patios. We thought about ways to safely resume parts of our lives we’d put on hold.

With some Austin comrades. I began planning a potluck picnic to help bring the antifascist Left closer together. Then the Delta variant slammed into the American South and all our plans shut down again. Out of work and feeling cut off, I’ve struggled for some sense of purpose. 

So I decided to transform our picnic into a zine. I’d create an antifascist cookbook.

At first glance, a cookbook doesn’t seem any more antifascist than a picnic. But I believe the act of sharing food is inherently radicalizing. By this, I mean that it encourages us to see each other in radical new ways, through partaking in the most primal human act of all: sharing what we have with each other.

The radical nature of sharing food seems most obvious after a natural disaster or other disruption to the capitalist status quo. Rather than the mass panic depicted in movies, disasters tend to lead to mass spontaneous organization. Shared kitchens and food are often among the first infrastructure created after an earthquake, a flood, and other cataclysms.

Many of my comrades reacted to the pandemic by doing their best to help the most vulnerable stay fed, clothed, and housed during an ongoing and worsening crisis. However, both the physical and political landscapes present new challenges to organizing. As we face both a rapidly deteriorating climate and a simultaneous rise of right-wing political power, it’s not likely things will get easier anytime soon.

Cooking during the apocalypse

How does a cookbook solve any of that? It doesn’t, I don’t think. The above is just what’s bouncing around in my head as I edit a zine during what often seems like apocalyptic times. 

In some ways, I’m creating this cookbook as a distraction, to keep myself from thinking too much about this current moment. Yet I can’t help but imagine there will be times coming where we reach for each other, look for a way to connect, and find that sharing food is the simplest, most direct way to begin.

What follows is a collection of recipes of all kinds, from antifascists that work in many ways. There’s journalists and podcasters, community organizers and researchers into white supremacy, and people who fit all these categories and none. The recipes in Soup For Our Families are vegetarian and omnivorous, from a variety of cuisines, and include everything from cocktails to fish bakes to tacos meant to serve dozens. There’s desserts, appetizers, and a lot of love. Love shared between comrades, love passed down through family tradition, and love for our fellow humans, all of whom need to eat.

More than anything, I hope this zine reflects the diversity of who we are, what we do, and the kinds of foods we love to eat. In the end though, if it’s just a distraction, I hope it’s one you enjoy. Perhaps it inspires you towards useful action, to some small act that helps build into something more. 

I truly believe something powerful and important starts with filling hungry bellies.

Kit O’Connell
August 29, 2021