cultivating & crashing

an organic collection of notes, observations, and thoughts

Tag: identity

Focaccia and whiteness

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup water
3 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
olive oil
bunches of thyme
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup mozzarrella cheese
1 small onion
1 garlic clove

Combine the yeast with 1/2 cup of warm water. Let it sit until it becomes frothy, or about 10 minutes.

Combine the flour, salt, yeast mixture, and remaining water in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly, and then use your hands in order to blend all of the ingredients together. Flour your work space, and knead the dough by hand until smooth. Generously oil a bowl for the dough to rise in and transfer. The rising takes 1 1/2 hours, until the dough is double its original size.

While the dough rises, caramelize the onion. If you haven’t tried this, caramelize it in a non-stick pan with no oil and just a bit of salt. The effect is quite nice, and reminds me of how white pizzas are made in Buenos Aires. Add the thyme and minced garlic in a minute before you’re done. Mix this with the grated cheeses.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

When the bread is done rising, oil the surface of an baking sheet or pizza stone and shape the bread on it. Push your fingertips into the surface, making sure to leave indentations across the dough, and then drizzle with oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and the thyme mix.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until focaccia is golden.

Thinking about how I’ve become a priviledged white girl, white as in Shit White People Like. As opposed to the Hispanic girl who dropped out of high school to pay the mortgage for her family. Thinking how I am now realizing that I have been striving really hard to fit in to that category, to blend in, and now it’s been achieved. For a while I didn’t know how I felt about it, but now I think that it’s not true that you lose one identity upon the adoption of another: to many I’m still sort of weird Sofi with the telenovela family, whereas others know me only as the intellectual, kombucha-making social science student who rides a single speed. So no need to feel like a fraud for having more facets.

I read Fear of a Black President in The Atlantic. It’s a wonderful piece. It reminded me what the States is like, and made me think a lot about race. This is likely why making whole wheat focaccia makes me feel like a bratty white girl today.


Dog urine and Quebec nationalism

In my social theory class the professor asked us why we thought humans have such a need to document, to record.

I suspect it’s not about documentation but, rather, expression. And I think it’s because expression plays an important part in our identity, in establishing our existence.

In the same way that humans speak, write, and document, dogs piss on trees to mark their territory. But they do more than just that: dogs’ urine communicates important things about the dog–sex and fertility, for instance. In rats, this is magnified to the point where if two rats are washed and dabbed in vanilla extract (their natural odors taken away and supplanted by a common one), they will have a sort of identity crisis and accept the other rat, whereas otherwise they would have fought until one was dead. This is because the rats’ scent is their way of identifying each other. Like us, they learn about themselves in juxtaposition to others.

Therefore, I see expression–and in our world, language–as an integral part of our creation of identity. Which is why language preservation is so blimey important to the Quebec nationalists, tsé?