When speaking about race or ethnic background in any conversation, the room always seems to sit still. It is as if an imaginary piece of tape forces lips to shut and ones’ task is to find the strength and courage to break the seal. Race is one of those topics that holds back another's’ thoughts and opinions, filling the room with an uptight vibe. In most cases when specifically speaking about black and white races, they are their own quantity. It seems as though people with biracial backgrounds that origin from African American and Caucasian parents are forced to choose to be identify as either an African American or Caucasian individual and such being that there is no in between.
A prime example comes from the forty-fourth President of the United States, Barack Obama. Obama’s parents comes from array of ethnic backgrounds. Being that his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, is an Irish-American and his father, Barack Obama Sr., born African, that makes President Obama equally half Irish-American and African. Though, society says otherwise. Barack Obama is not identified as “the first biracial President of the United States” he is said to be “the first black President of the United States”.
Coming from a biracial home myself with a black father and white mother, I was told that when you have a black father and white mother then the children are considered black, so with that being said I am an African American. Growing up I would always struggle telling people my race. It is not that I did not feel comfortable, it was that their reaction would shock me in a way. If a person asked what race do I identify as, I would simply say, “I am black,” with no hesitation. And in an instant, that person’s expression would change. They would either respond with, “No you are not, you are a white boy. ” or “...if you are black why is your skin so white?” Yet hearing their responses, I come to my senses to automatically compare myself to someone who is known with the same struggle. Steph Curry, for instance. With Steph Curry having both his parents African American, he just has light skin. Therefore, it is possible for African Americans to have very light skin.
So growing up and being biracial I would not say it was hard for me but I definitely felt different. My neighborhood is mixed with black and white people. I went to a mostly black school, there were maybe eight or nine white kids in the entire school that I went to. So coming from a biracial family I feel like that set me apart from the other kids I went to school with. My physical appearance has stood out as well. Going to a mostly black school and having light skin and reddish hair immediately set me apart. Difference doesn’t bother me its something that i have gotten use to through my life, I just wish society could embrace different the same way I do.
I recently went to Barnes and Noble and and I finally got a chance to read it, The Greatest American Sports Writing of the Century, by David Brad Halberstam. I open up to Page 6, chapter 3 and, again, I helplessly give in to that feeling of romance that had been built between a rapidly expanding 20th century America and the boisterous phenomena that had became of sports. It was the sense of nostalgia that was laced in all of the great stories that hall would include in his series of all of the epic moments in sports that I think drew me in so close. Whether it was the examination of the legendary Yankee batter, Joe DiMaggio, whose perception to the world was far from pure, or lone wolf tennis champion, Richard Gonzalez, who rode the path of victory in his lonesome. The presence of sports in America is a presence unrivaled by any other single entity of our culture in this country. Today, with over half the country in enthralled, it can be hard to imagine a culture living and functioning while removed from the values and teachings the games have instilled into us.
But besides this, we tend to find that the culture of sports is often one tainted by violent and rambunctious conduct. Often times we hear about in the news of violent riots taken place in cities after that city’s team losing, famously in 2012 when the University of Kentucky. Looking in, the world of sports can be defined on two polar halves, on some ends it can look like one of the most beautiful and complex constructs of society, but through some lenses, can look like some sort of wild destruction and demoralization of people.
I sat down with a friend of mine, Kobe, an avid and a long time fan of football, and I got to ask him some questions of what he thinks of the behavior that has become of sports over its time, and what some of his experiences were like as a member of the community. What he came up with was this idea of relatability between the people and the players.
“You relate to them….the journey is something you can relate to even if you haven’t met your destination”
It is in the traits that we share with each other that draw and connect us to one another. By the senses of passion, pain, struggle, and perseverance that we can see in athletes that we often find in ourselves and throughout the challenges we face in life. A large part of the appeal of sports is being able to watch the progression of the individuals, of the teams, people who may come from similar backgrounds as you and have qualities that you have. The stories of their lives begins to resonate deeply with the story of ours.
When answering the question of whether of violence in sports, the story factor is very important for us to consider. It is what practically runs sports, it is the lifeline. This relation isn’t new either, in other forms of media, we already see the same type of passion that sports fans carry with them. Whether we’re reading a book, or catching up on our favorite TV shows, we struggle to separate ourselves from the characters portrayed in the emotions that are involved with them. An unusual, but fitting example would be the popular YouTube series Video Game High School. In the show, teens live high school life in what many would consider a kid’s dream, surrounded entirely by the influence of games and building themselves into young professionals of the gaming industry. They quickly come to realize, however, the myriad of problems inherent of a school like this and we watch the main character, Brian, as he sorts his way through the typical high school drama while trying to rise to the top as a video game athlete. His ambition, despite the odds being against his favor in his inertness and misguiding surroundings, manages to attain the level of success he had always wished for as a child. Not only do we see the characters lows, but we get to watch him on the journey on his way to the highs. And, in that, reflection of our own personal highs and lows in high school. We know what it's like.
“You understand, when you first start playing an instrument, the cramps you get on your hand, or the callouses you get on your finger tips”
That’s the type of emotion that is triggered in watching games like football, this is the story of your favorite television shows, but confided into one dunk.
It's no secret though, that when looking at America in particular, we are especially violent in our culture. “On one hand, it isn’t even that surprising. We are a culture at war, on many fronts.” Between poverty, racism, sexism, immigration and a whole plethora of issues, we have become more divided than ever, with people with many polarizing views on issues has intensified much of our day to day interactions between strangers and friends alike. For example, in 2016, Chicago’s homicide rate was up by 56% by as early as May. This may even go as far as to speak for why 67% of the NFL is made up of black athletes. In a way, our sports has become substitution for hitting people walking down the street. It has become our voice in a voiceless place.
With President Trump in office, there’s been a newly heightened fear among many of the American people. As someone who’s allegedly discriminated against, and taken advantage of a variety people of different backgrounds, it’ll be particularly interesting to examine and understand how the sports world will endure or adapt to this change in leadership. Already, in 2016, we’ve seen figures like Colin Kaepernick take actions against the flag, so what the next four years will say about his reasoning will be particularly interesting to see.
Kobe’s idea of the role violence plays in sports and what sports mean to us was very interesting to hear about. It was particularly interesting hearing what he had to say, and in some senses, gives us an idea of how we should think of the problems in America.
In a way, David’s book is one of irony, because as he tells the most epic stories of sports, those stories manifest into many deeper visions of the underlying violence and story of many Americans everywhere.
10oz of Romaine Lettuce chopped
¼ cup of croutons
1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese
¼ of caesar salad dressing (To use when needed)
First wash the lettuce well, shake after rinsing, and use a cloth or a paper towel to help dry some excess water. Then add the croutons and cheese, and toss the salad so that the ingredients are evenly distributed. Next use half of ¼ cup of dressing and add more dressing if needed for taste.
The meal is primarily whole foods because the main ingredient is lettuce. I would approximate that this mea has to be about 86% whole food and 14% processed. Although this amount changes depending on the amount of salad dressing they put on there salad. The processed parts of the meal are the croutons, parmesan cheese, and salad dressing most of these things are made with ingredients that are heavily processed.
This meal cost under $10. So it is great for a light meal or lunch. It is a little more expensive than fast food, but the quantity is larger so that is will balance out to around the same price in the end. It will just take more preparation to have this instead of fast food.
From farm to plate these ingredients came from farms with lettuce, flour products, herbs, and milk from a dairy farm. Almost all of these items would have been home grown, such as the lettuce, the ingredients for the salad dressing. Although there is no way to have less commercial way to produce croutons and cheese. There is the possibility to leave them out of the salad to make it more self-sufficient.
Mac and Cheese Recipe
1 box of macaroni
1 stick of butter
1 can of Carnations evaporated milk
3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups of shredded mild cheddar cheese
2 cups of shredded 4-state cheddar blend
2 cups of shredded colby jack cheese blend
¼ tsp of salt
⅛ tsp of pepper
⅛ tsp of mustard powder
Lawry’s season salt
½ cup of whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook 1 box of macaroni and drain.
Add 1 stick of butter and let it begin to melt.
Pour in one can of Carnations evaporated milk. Stir.
Add two cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese and stir.
Add 1/4 tsp of salt.
Add 1/8 tsp of pepper.
Add 1/8 tsp mustard powder.
Add two shakes of Lawry's season salt.
Add 2 cups of mild cheddar cheese. Stir.
Add 2 cups of a Colby Jack blend cheese. Continue to stir while cheese melts
Add 2 cups of 4 State Cheddar blend
Add 1/2 cup of whole milk. Stir.
Pour mixture into a glass bowl and cover the top with another cup of cheddar cheese.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the mac and cheese begins to bubble and the cheese too begins to brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
For this project, I decided to do my mothers famous Mac and Cheese. Macaroni and Cheese is a staple in soul food in the United States. Macaroni, cheese, and butter are fused together to make a dish that seems to be brought down from the heavens. While everyone says that there mac and cheese recipe is the best, I truly believe that my mother perfected the recipe. All of the indigirants complement each other so nice that it creates a dish that is one of a kind.
This meal is not that cheap. You will need about 5 bags of cheese to make this recipe. If each bag of cheese goes for about 4 dollars then you will be spending about 20 dollars on cheese alone. A box of pasta for this recipe will go for a little over 1 dollar. A box of butter will cost you 5 dollars. Evaporated milk should cost about 5 dollars. Assuming you have everything else, you will be spending about 35 dollars on this dish.
We are living in a world where almost every kind of food you get is processed in some kind of way. Every ingredient in this recipe is processed. These cheese, the butter, the macaroni. Even whole milk is processed. From the cheese alone you are look at almost 500 calories. If you are someone who likes to watch their calories then you should only eat mac and cheese on special occasions but if you are someone like me who can afford eating something like this then you should.
Recipe for Potato Salad
½ a bag of Idaho potatoes
1 cup of mayonnaise
A tablespoon of salt
6 cups of water
Start by adding water to a medium sized pot. Then add in potatoes and salt.
Let the potatoes boil for 15 minutes. The potatoes should be softened but still solid. If the potatoes are falling apart you have overcooked them.
In a separate pot boil the the eggs for approximately 10-15 minutes. Then, pour out hot water. Run cold water over the eggs and begin to peel.
In a separate boil add in the potatoes, mayonnaise, and cut up eggs. Mix it all together leaving some chunks of potato still intact.
Finally, enjoy !
The potato brand i’ve seen my mother use is Idahoan Fresh. Wada Farms Potatoes is the company that sells this brand and is based in Idaho Falls, ID and is organically grown. A driver would have to travel approximately 2,215 miles to reach Philadelphia. Morton Salt is the brand that is also usually used in my home. The company has about 20 production cities and the closest one to Philadelphia is a site in Fairless Hills, PA about 26 miles away in a car.
The salt is $0.89. The mayonnaise is $3.99. The potatoes are $10.99. The water is free. This comes out to a total of $15.87. Although the meal is more expensive than fast food it can serve more people a last a little bit longer. Hellmann's Mayo is another company that is involved with this dish
An 11.5 oz bottle of mayo contains 100 calories, 95 mg of sodium, 1.5 g of saturated fat, and 0g of sugar. Per one large egg there are 70 calories, 5 g of total fat, 70mg of sodium, and 6 g of protein. Table salt has 0g of fat and sugar, 0 calories, and 6,976 g of sodium. As you can see this meal contains a large amount of sodium. Sodium is used to regulate blood flow and pressure but an excess amount of sodium could lead to high blood pressure and hypertension.
Recipe- Cauliflower & Cheese
Block of Cheddar Cheese
½ cup of Milk
Teaspoon of Salt
Dash of Pepper(optional)
3 cups of water
Pour 3 cups of water into pot and add a dash of salt.
Cut up cauliflower and boil it in pot for 5 min.
After done boiling place cauliflower in water strainer.
Pour ½ cup of milk into glass or microwavable bowl.
Cut up block of cheddar cheese and place it into bowl. Then add salt and pepper.
Add cauliflower in glass bowl and then place it in the microwave for 2 min.
Take it out and stir. Then put it back it for 1 ½ min more or until you think it’s done.
Ready to eat!
This recipe in my family is supposed to be a healthy substitute for Macaroni & cheese (cauliflower replaces macaroni). The main ingredients includes Cauliflower, Cheddar Cheese, and Milk which are all whole foods depending on the brand. Vegetables and non-homogenized dairy products all count as whole foods according to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Since most of the foods in this dish are whole foods it’s considered a healthier recipe. 1 cup of Cauliflower is about 25 calories, has 2 grams of sugar, and no fat. 1 ounce of Cheddar Cheese which is less healthy has about 115 calories, 0.1 grams of sugar, and 9.6 grams of fat. ½ a cup of milk is about 52 calories, has 13 grams of sugar, and 2.4 grams of fat. Although this meal may be healthier than regular Mac & cheese eating it all the time would not be healthy because of all the cheese and milk.
The Cauliflower we buy at whole foods is about $3.99 per head, while the cheddar cheese is $3.60 per block, and 2% milk is $2.50. The salt and pepper is about $1.99 each, so the total cost of the meal is about $14.07 in total. This obviously costs a lot more than regular mac & cheese you could get at a fast food restaurant like KFC or popeyes which is about $1.99. Compared to fast food though our recipe is lot healthier, tastes better because it’s homemade, and isn’t too expensive if you ration or save it. We usually get our food at whole foods which is a big corporation. The cauliflower we buy comes from braga farms which is a small family owned farmed which grows organic vegetables. The cheese comes from the cooperation sargento and the milk is a whole foods brand called 365 everyday value. These businesses big or small were involved in producing these foods, and although I don’t really trust big corporations, but they do say they are FDA approved and organic.
1 ¾ cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
¾ cup of sugar
¼ pound of melted butter
Vanilla to taste (start a 1 teaspoon)
Anise to taste (not used in the batch I made)
Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
In a larger bowl, beat eggs and sugar until blended and slightly fluffy. Slowly add in cooled, melted butter, vanilla, and anise and mix until fully incorporated.
Slowly add in dry ingredients until the batter is smooth and thick
Drop batter onto the pizzelle iron, using a cookie scoop, and cook till cookies are golden brown.
A Note for the Beginner:
DO NOT LET THEM BURN! (It smells worse than burned popcorn.)
The food in this recipe is processed, but not to an extreme. Both the flour and the sugar are bleached, and the extracts have chemicals in them, as does the butter. However, this recipe was designed to be made by peasants in Italy. Nothing in the recipe has to be processed, it is more a matter of what is available to the consumer when you buy the ingredients. While most of the ingredients are processed, it is not nearly as bad as buying pre-made pizzelles, which have exponentially more sugar and chemicals in them than if you make it yourself.
As a desert, this is obviously not the healthiest of meals, but humans have evolved to digest everything used in the recipe. There are chemicals added to make them easier to sell and to store, but not necessarily to make it easier to digest. Pizzelles are not meant to be eaten all year round. Mostly they are served around Christmas, and eaten with espresso after dinner. Too much intake could lead to diabetes, but that would take a lot of pizzelles.
As far as environmental ramifications go, almost everything used was produced in North America. The thing that came the furthest was the vanilla, which was originally grown in Mexico. Almost everything else was produced in the Midwest or East Coast. There is not a lot of travel involved in producing pizzelles because they are so simple. Again, this is originally a peasant desert. You had to be able to come up with the majority of your own ingredients and get the rest for cheap when this recipe was written. That meant nothing that I had travelled too far, if at all.
Beans - In General*
- Beans: 1 - alotta
- Seasoning: Old Bay, Paprika, Chilli, Taco
- Vegetable: Onions, Carrots, corn
Serve with tortilla product
* My family often eats beans, it's a core meal component to our simple living. The recipe is VERY loose, just make the beans.
- processed vs. whole food?: Basically this whole meal is whole food, it's all whole raw ingredients. The beans might be proceed is some way through cleaning and the spices (the mixed ones) are mixed spices so they are processed. 90+ percent is whole food.
•Health/nutrition: Cook beans are 200-250 a cooked cup, they are a complex carbohydrate base with natural protein as well. Virtually no fat or sugar in the dish. The protein is slow digesting and the bean have a good amount of fiber. This combines to give the effect of sustained energy and nutrition. They are a great fuel source! Shout out to the beans!
•Political/economic: Beans are a major food source across the world. The US diet has less beans, but we should have more because they are a nutritious whole food. They are very cheap and can be bought in bulk. A lot of them are imported but they still are cheap and the industry is based outside of the US.
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Essence, (fresh Creole seasoning)
2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in halves and pounded thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups sliced mushrooms
¾ cup Marsala
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chopped chives, for garnish
Combine flour and Essence in shallow bowl; stir thoroughly.
Quickly dip chicken breast in seasoned flour mixture; shake to remove extra seasoning.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until very hot but not smoking.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side)
Move chicken breast to plate and add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to the pan and add mushrooms.
Cook and stir frequently until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges.
Add Marsala wine and bring to boil.
When the wine is reduced by almost half, add chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Lower the heat to medium and put chicken breasts back to pan and continue to cook until they have cooked through and sauce has thickened.
Add and stir remaining tablespoons of butter; add salt and pepper.
Garnish with chopped chives and serve right after.
Processed vs. Whole Food
- Approximately 70% of the ingredients in this dish are processed. Although they may not be heavily processed, they are not whole foods. Many of these ingredients can be bought organically though. The only ingredients that are not processed are chives, mushrooms, and the chicken breasts. You also have to be careful what type of chicken breasts you buy because there could be some chicken breasts being sold by some companies that are the slightest bit processed. If this meal was eaten every day, your body could build acid reflux from the wine and butter. Your cholesterol could also rise because of the butter being eaten every single day. Although it is a meal on the healthy side, there are certain ingredients that cannot be consumed on a daily basis. On average, the price for Chicken Marsala is roughly $25 with all ingredients included. But you have to keep in mind that this dish can feed up to 6 people or more. Compared to fast food, a meal on average is $7 to $8 per person. If you multiply that by 6 or more people, you would be spending up to $40 to $50. Therefore it is more beneficial to cook Chicken Marsala than buying fast food.
Preheat oven to 350°
Spread cream cheese evenly into an ungreased, large baking dish.
Spread out chicken on top of the cream cheese.
Layer buffalo sauce and ranch dressing on top of the chicken.
Sprinkle monterey cheese on top.
Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.
Serve with chips and/or baguette slices.
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup pre-cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup Buffalo sauce
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
Chips, baguette slices, or tortilla chips
Buffalo chicken dip has been a staple at my family gatherings and parties ever since my mother began making this dish. About one year ago she felt inspired to learn a recipe because my dad was the primary chef in the family, and she wanted to contribute to the kitchen. This dish is quick, easy, and works for any occasion.
Overall this appetizer is relatively good for you, but only in moderation. Approximately 2 tablespoons of the dip is just over 150 calories, has roughly 15 grams of fat, 1 gram of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. All of these components move through your body in different ways. For example the calories consumed from the dip can either be burned from exercise or turned into fat. The fat consumed is essentially just calories that will not be converted into another type of usable energy until they are exercised. The sugar consumed is put into the bloodstream and sent to the pancreas, releasing a hormone called insulin. It is then stored in the liver, muscles, and fat cells. And finally the protein consumed is broken down into amino acids in the stomach, that are sent into the bloodstream to go to other parts of the body.This appetizer is also inexpensive at just about $15, for 16 servings. Compared to the nutritional value and cost of fast food, this is a much better deal. With just about all fast food being fully processed, this buffalo chicken dip is a better option as it can be made with all fresh ingredients and whole food. The only processed pieces of this recipe are the amounts of ranch dressing and buffalo sauce. Even so these amounts can be adjusted to fit the needs of the consumer.
My Family’s Vegetarian Chili Recipe:
1 can of black beans (120 calories)
1 can of chickpeas (120 calories)
1 can of black eyed peas (120 calories)
1 can corn (60 calories)
1 large can of diced tomatoes (25 calories)
2 onions (88 calories)
1 clove of garlic (4 calories)
2 zucchinis (66 calories)
Sautee the onions, garlic, and zucchini in a little bit of olive oil until caramelized.
Add the rest of the ingredients in and stir. Leave on a medium low temperature until finished cooking (about an hour).
Processed vs. Whole Foods:
In this recipe, more than half of the ingredients are processed in some way. The whole foods include the onions, zucchini, and garlic because they are fresh produce. The rest of the ingredients, however, are canned and therefore highly processed. Canned foods are usually packed full of preservatives in order to keep the vegetables inside edible months later.
After looking at the nutrition facts on each can of vegetables, here are the estimations I have found:
The total calorie count for the recipe is around 603 calories. This breaks down to 120 calories per can of beans, 60 calories for the can of corn, 25 calories for the can of tomatoes, 44 calories per onion, 4 calories per clove of garlic, and 33 calories per zucchini.
The total sugar content of the recipe is about 25 grams of sugar. Much to my surprise, the canned vegetables actually have less sugar than the fresh vegetables. The vegetable with the greatest amount of sugar is the onions. Each onion has about 5 grams of sugar while each can of beans is only 1 gram of sugar.
Overall, this dish is a pretty inexpensive meal to make. It serves about 5 or 6 people, and only costs about $7.50 for the total recipe. Canned vegetables and fresh vegetables are generally inexpensive, which makes this meal very affordable and healthy. Part of the profits from the ingredients of this recipe benefit large corporations who produces canned foods, and part of the profits go to fresh farms or corporate farms.
My normal was not everyone else’s normal. Even worse, it became evident that people that though my normal was something that needed to be fixed. This life that I had been living all this time was deemed completely wrong in other people’s lives and I was really confused as to why people would be afraid of me. Autism is not at all harmful to myself or others in anyway. The only thing it did was made my upbringing vastly different from the average person. I understand that many people may not have an idea of how so I hope I can shed some light on this issue and enlighten people on what living with Autism is really like.
So, what exactly is Autism, you might be asking. Autism, which has been recently dubbed as Autistic Spectrum disorder, is a term that represents an array of behavioral disorders. The one I was born with is known as Asperger’s Syndrome which is on the end of the spectrum where people with Autism have the most cognitve function and awareness. The symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome include social awkwardness, inability to empathize, failure to make friendships, trouble making eye contact. sticking to routines, poor motor skills, literal interpretation, narrowed interests, and even selective mutism. In other words, I was born as an extremely socially awkward person in a very social world; a round peg sounded by a thousand square holes I was meant to fit into but, never could.
Trying to adjust to the world, being the way I am, was a challenge for both me and my parents. They tell me of one time where they had someone over our house named Ms. Cohen who sat with me for seven hours straight. She was basically observing me and recording my habits and inform my parents on what she found about me. Not to mention the amount of additional aid that I needed to get through grade school and middle school. My father tells me of all of the times he had to argue with my teachers, principal and even school district officials to get me all of the help he could. When they wanted to do all of these half-measures with me, he stood his ground and told them to give me everything they have.
Another way that my Asperger’s was shown in my life was my eating habits. Because I am more susceptible to fall into routines, I would only eat and drink specific things, sometimes only in specific places. One example of this is when we would get pizza only from Santucci’s but, I would only eat it in the car so my mom would have to drive slowly so I would finish a slice. This lead to me and my parents taking me to a clinic in Hershey, Pennsylvania where we would sit for hours at a time and eat so many different things. This would be the first time I would have many different fruits, vegetables, meats, juices, and many other things.
My most memorable example of this was during the fifth grade all the way up to my high school years. Every Thursday, along with two or three other boys with Autism, I would go to social skills workshops facilitated by a therapist. I remember my first few times going there when we would be working on certain skills like starting conversations, making new friends, and even greetings. I especially remember the difficulty. I struggled a lot with trying to learn these skills and it was jarring to know that this was easy to nearly everyone else outside of that room. This was normal to them but, it was completely new to me. This was the first time where I was trying to fully learn how to socialize with people and, to be honest, I am still learning even now.
Another thing that I’ve struggled with as I have lived with autism is the stigmatisms that go along with it. It’s not just from people that I see in my life but, also from bigger organizations that claim to be on my side. A major example of this is a commercial titled “I am Autism” by Autism Speaks, an Autistic Advocacy Organization. I remember the feeling of watching it for the first time on YouTube. This is a quote from that ad: “I am autism. I have no interest in right or wrong. I derive great pleasure out of your loneliness. I will fight to take away your hope. I will plot to rob you of your children and your dreams. I will make sure that every day you wake up you will cry, wondering who will take care of my child after I die? And the truth is, I am still winning, and you are scared. And you should be. I am autism. You ignored me. That was a mistake.”
As someone who has grown up with Asperger’s Syndrome for their entire life, I felt like the video was about me. It was almost as though I was the one who was robbing people of their children, I was breaking families apart, and I thirst off loneliness like water. It described me like I was a disease or a monster, one that people should get rid of but, what came after was the worst part. In response to the brooding voice that was representing Autism, fathers, mothers, siblings, and even friends of the people with Autism in that video rallied to combat Autism as though it were Cancer or heart disease. They were talking to it like it was a pandemic, one that needed to be cured. After the video ended, the shock and fear that I had felt in the beginning turned into utter frustration with the makers of this video. I was angry not only in what was said but, I also felt like they never expected me to find it. It was almost as though they were probably talking to my parents, trying to convince them to “fix” me. The ad almost seemed to imply that I cannot be loved fully by my parents because I have Asperger’s Syndrome. It felt awful knowing that this is how I am perceived.
Now, all of this may seem very difficult for me to have pushed past all of these obstacles but, it is not all that bad living with Asperger’s Syndrome. In fact, in terms of the spectrum of Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome is on the end of the spectrum which shows higher cognitive function and awareness. If I was born with a more severe form of Autism, I could have struggled a lot more with this disorder. Because of this, I do not really feel like Asperger’s Syndrome is too much of a problem to me at this point in my life.
Some parts of living with Asperger’s Syndrome are actually quite enjoyable. Because my interests are often narrow, I would have these phases where I would dip into any number of fandoms and hobbies. These would include various TV shows, movie franchises, video games, literally anything that would contribute to one of my eventual symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome: nerdiness. I still remember all of the phases I had and am still going through, whether it was my fascination with model trains when I was toddler to my love for Avatar: The Last Airbender (I’m never getting out of that phase). It was like riding various waves of joy as I dipped in and out of each phase. Once again, this is something I still experience and really enjoy about this.
There is a large shortage of voices like mine that are representing what having Autism means. The research, case studies, diagnoses, and all the other scientific study is good but, I really think there needs to be people like me who actually have Autism to speak up about what it is like living with it. And this does not just apply for Asperger’s Syndrome but, for all disabilities in general. This large amount of presumptions and preconceptions about disabilities leads to harmful consequences such as the school shooter stereotype being linked to Autism. No one should ever have a stereotype like that over their head, especially over something that they did not choose to have.
Another thing is that people need to understand that there is a difference between awareness and acceptance. Advocacy organizations bring awareness to Autism but, they never really push for more acceptance of it. Instead organizations like Autism Speaks, who made the ad at beginning of this piece, seem to push this agenda that people like me need to be fixed or cured. This eliminationist agenda never feels good or reassuring to anybody with this disorder and really just gaslights these people about their whole existence. We should not be trying to fight to fit in this square hole that society is presenting us. Instead, society should be learning to accept and fit better around us.
Origin: Prison Food
1 bag of Hot Cheetos (Crunchy also $1.50 from local poppi store)
3 Beef Sticks ($1 from local poppi store)
1 Bag of Ramen Noodles (35cent from local poppi store)
Shredded Sharp Chedder Cheese (Optional)
Grab your bag of noodles, crush them up inside of your package then pour them into a bowl. Take the flavoring out of the bag, open it up and sprinkle half of the flavoring on your noodles. Take your bowl and run water in it from the sink. Use water until your noodles are a few centimeters under the water.
Put the bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes.
While you are waiting crush the hot cheetos up in there bag, until its a bag filled with hot cheeto dust. Then grab your 3 beef sticks and cut them up into 1 inch pieces.
The microwave should have went off by now, take your bowl out and stir up the noodles. Now dump the hot cheetos inside the bowl, mix this up consistently. Once, the hot cheetos have been mixed into the noodles well, pour the pieces of beef sticks inside the bowl and mix this well also.
Place your bowl in the microwave for 1min and 30 sec.
After you take the bowl out of the microwave for the second time grab a handful of your shredded cheese of your choice. Remember this part is optional. Sprinkle your cheese over the top of your food making sure that its extra cheesy.
Place your bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds.
Now your Chi Chi is ready to go. ENJOY!
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (do not try to sub. with whole wheat flour)
1 cup Sugar (regular white sugar)
1 Stick of unsalted butter (please leave it out til room temp)
4 really ripe bananas (mashed your anger out)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp milk
- 1 (16 ounce) box golden pound cake mix
- 4 egg whites
- 2/3 cup of water
- 1/8 cup of brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of softened butter
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix egg whites in a bowl until they are firm.
- Put contents into bowl and mix them together. (Cake mix, egg whites, and water)
- Put the batter onto a greased baking pan.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes and then insert a toothpick; if it comes out clean then you know they are done.
- Let them sit and cool
- Add the brown sugar as the "frosting" by sprinkling it over the cake in place of the "frosting".
- Optional: Melt the (Smart Balance Heart Right Light) butter onto the krimpet after for a nice glaze.
- Makes about 20 krimpets.
Marianne’s Favorite Cornbread
1 cup of sour cream
½ cup of salad oil
1 cup of creamed corn
1 cup of regular yellow cornmeal
3 tbs of baking powder
1½ tsp of salt
1 small can of green chilies (optional)
1 small jar of pimentos (optional)
Beat eggs in a mixing bowl. Stir in the next three ingredients.
Mix the dry ingredients, add into the egg mixture.
Add green chilies and pimentos, if desired.
Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes in a rectangular, 1½ quart casserole.
My grandmother's cornbread recipe was one of my favorites when I was young. She is southern, and used to make us homemade mac and cheese with cornbread when we went to her home in North Carolina. The majority of ingredients in this recipe are whole foods. A whole food is defined as, “a food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances”. Eggs, baking powder, and salt are all whole ingredients that have been eaten and used by civilizations for thousands of years. Salt and baking powder are chemical compounds derived from natural mineral compounds. Green chilies and pimento peppers are both whole foods that grow in nature as well. Sour cream, when from cows not treated with rBGH, is also a whole food. Whole dairy is directly from a naturally occurring source and is typically unaltered before consuming. Whole grain cornmeal (cornmeal that has not been degermed) is the kind of cornmeal that my grandmother would have used for this recipe, and one that is also a whole food. Salad oil is a term that can apply to many different oils, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. This is the only ingredient in the recipe that is not a whole food. Many processed foods have a long list of ingredients that include some type of vegetable oil. In addition to the oils being processed, trans fats, a product of this process is also a type of processed food.
Two Cans Goya Black Beans
Two Tablespoons of Salt
One Cup of Vegetable Oil
One Package of Goya Queso Blanco Cheese
One package of Tostadas
Place large skillet on over top and preheat with medium flame.
Place cup of vegetable oil on skillet.
Sprinkle two tablespoons of salt evenly across oil.
Empty two cans of Goya Black Beans onto skillet
Wait about two minute until fully warmed.
Use masher to ground the beans into a paste.
Continuously mash beans for about five minutes.
Turn off flame.
Spread small amount of bean paste of smoothly across tostados.
Cut off small piece of Queso Blanco Cheese and crumble it across tostados.
About ⅘ of my recipe can be considered processed, only the beans can be considered a whole food. I’m not sure what other outcome you expect when a recipe is supposed to be tied to family and culture yet somehow avoid processed foods when they’ve been used for decades.
Mostly all of my ingredients are made by Goya Foods located in America, the only exceptions being the Salt and Vegetable Oil which were made by separately. None of the ingredients were organically grown but all are domestic products. Every ingredient was processed from raw materials in a factory setting.
The entire meal costs less than $15 if all ingredients were purchased new, it costs even less since most items on the ingredient list are aleady in most households. It’s not that great of a price when compared to $5 meals I could purchase at fast food restaurants, say McDonald’s. But since all of the ingredients were manufactured domestically, the money would be going to the private companies that made them.
Overall this meal, or snack, takes less than half an hour to make and it’s very convenient to make since most of the ingredients were already in the house. As someone who comes from a low-income family that’s always strapped for time, this a very affordable dish. I prefered making this to a more expensive meal that would cost nearly triple to make if all the ingredients were bought organically.