My latest project is worth the lack of sleep and left-over hours after working full-time normally reserved for food writing. It started late last Fall. I miss the food world and can’t wait to return to it. Until then, my mind is focused on a fundraising event, Closer to Our Dream Performance Gala, by The Friends of 227 Abolitionist Place. Did I mention, this blog is a media sponsor? If you live in New York City, I highly recommend buying tickets to an evening of musical and theatrical performances (use code “MLROF15” for a discount). For everyone living outside of New York City, or if they can’t make it, donation are accepted. The gala is on April 17, 2016, doors open at 3:30 pm and it’s at the Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.
The story of 227 Abolitionist Place is fascinating. Joy Chatel — we call her Mama Joy — discovered a door in the basement of her house, leading to a passage way, in which someone descends eight feet from the backyard. Mama Joy would later learn the house was formerly owned by Abolitionists, Thomas and Harriet Lee-Truesdell, in the 1800s.
One day, the city of Brooklyn notified Mama Joy that her house, located on 227 Duffield Place, was to be destroyed thru eminent domain for an underground parking garage. She fought a long battle against Brooklyn and developers, and she won. Along the way, 227 Duffield Place was renamed 227 Abolitionist Place. Mama Joy transitioned in 2014, and her daughter, Shawné Lee, continues her mother’s fight. Because the house is located in downtown Brooklyn, it is considered prime real estate property. Instead of selling the property, Ms. Lee continues her mother’s dream of converting 227 Abolitionist Place into a cultural and heritage center.
My skills and experiences (and humble lessons learned along the way) are dedicated to 227 Abolitionist Place. The other priority is my full-time job as a Graphic Designer. Along with the food blog, all projects are equally important. Which means far less time to cook.
My current recipes are the epitome of fast food. Finding one-hour, delicious recipes is essential. Weekends that were normally used for experimenting with recipes, are also filled with meetings and work.
South Your Month published their version of the classic Orange Ramen Salad. Reading it, I noticed the simplicity of the ingredients and technique. It’s a recipe that includes the last of the citrus season’s mandarin oranges, and it’s perfect for getting rid of the last few mandarin oranges brought in a five-pound crate. My adaption of South Your Month’s Orange Ramen Salad is slightly more complex because of the homemade sauce. And, I love my dish- and water-saving trick, in which the same boiling water from the ramen noodles is used to blanche snow peas to a crisp, bright green. As an additional benefit, this recipe is better the next day as a brown-bag for lunch in the office.
Downtown Brooklyn has changed. Depending on who is asked, the opinions of the change is either negative or positive. What’s important today is preserving its history. New York City had strong financial ties to slave-holding states. Across the water, from Wall Street, was Brooklyn — where free slaves lived in Weeksville and Abolitionists helped enslaved Africans escape from the South. Mama Joy saved 227 Abolitionist Place from being erased. Today, we’re preserving her dream. The gala is one project of many to come in the future. And, in the future, when we have a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the lack of sleep is worth the cause.