This set of recipes is inspired by the Artist Mixer Potluck hosted on Saturday, May 6, 2023, from 3pm to 6pm at ARTogether in Oakland, CA, and co-sponsored by Nava Dance Theatre, ARTogether, Immigrant Artist Network, and Queerly Complex. It brought together immigrant artists, queer artists, and queer immigrant artists who are creating in culturally specific ways to share a meal and join in conversation. About 20 people gathered, and the result is more than just a single day or event or meal. Rather, it is the connections cultivated among and between people gathered that are rooting us to each other and deepening / expanding our network of collective and mutual care, aid, and support. In a time of escalating political crisis fueled by far right reactionaries and complacent neoliberal managers, we need our comrades more than ever, and that means finding each other across identities, histories, geographies, cultures, and generations. The Artist Mixer Potluck helped me find my comrades.
And here’s two recipes that might help you find yours.
Start with One Desire and Passion. This does not mean you need to be rich or have a lot of resources. It does mean that what you have access to you are willing to share without expectation of anything in return. If this ingredient is not readily available, find another recipe.
Next, conjure One Air by asking yourself: What am I witnessing / hearing / seeing / experiencing within my community / being / world in this present moment? Where is there opportunity for creating / generating / spreading delight / joy / pleasure / connection? Who can I talk to about what is being revealed?
Take what’s been conjured / revealed and let it stew in One Tradition. Take a moment and remember the times when you were gathered among your people / relations. Sometimes these moments are fleeting. Sometimes these moments are in your dreams. Sometimes these moments are long ago and far away. Sometimes these moments are the one you’re presently in. Sometimes these moments are ones where you are by yourself under a star-filled sky. Let your being be in that moment with the fullness of your revelations / conjurings.
Find Two Comrades and share your revelations / conjurings. Ask them: Who are your people / relations? What are you witnessing / hearing / seeing / experiencing within your community / being / world? Where is there opportunity for creating / generating / spreading delight / joy / pleasure / connection? Do we want to create together?
Delight in the One Collective Well that emerges from sharing your revelations / conjurings with your Two Comrades and listening to / witnessing their revelations / conjurings in return. Take a moment to really experience the depth of this well.
From your One Collective Well, find that One Simple Thing. Trust that whatever seems simplest to create is the best possible thing to make. Let go of complications. Don’t try to do too much. Relish in what feels most delightful, most pleasurable, and most possible with the least amount of labor possible. Remember to draw deep from your well.
Next, outline One Set that summarizes your One Simple Thing. Keep everything in a single document that all Comrades contribute to. Make sections for important information like date, time, location, and event description and why you are gathering. Coordinate outreach and make a list of who you are inviting. Remember to Keep It Super Simple.
Once you have your One Set, create Many Easy Ways. This can include inviting people to RSVP via a form or simply inviting them to show up the day of the event. When inviting others, remember your One Desire and Passion and your One Collective Well. Do your best to lower all barriers to joining and contributing.
Finally, rest in One Politics. You and your Two Comrades are cultivating camaraderie and solidarity, and thanks to all of your preparation and conversation your One Simple Thing is already ready. There is no need for fear of failure for what is to be is already rooted in peoples’ liberation. This is an experience of mutuality, care, and trust. This is our politics. It is time to rest.
Photos by Ariel Belmont.
Heat your oven to 350℉, and grease a 9” by 13” pan or a 12” round pan.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar (if not using molasses include the extra ½ cup sugar in this step), salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl.
Mix the molasses, coffee crystals, vanilla, and water together and stir until it is all dissolved. Pour the oil and then the vinegar on top of the coffee, molasses, vanilla, and water mixture.
Immediately pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix. As you are mixing, make sure all of the dry ingredients get incorporated into the wet ones. Stop once incorporated to ensure you do not over mix the ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and put into the preheated oven.
Bake at 350℉ for 30-40 minutes. When a strong smell of chocolate fills your home, check on your cake. If the center is still not firm, set a timer for 5 minutes and check again. Repeat until the center is firm.
Let the cake cool for 45 minutes to an hour before serving.