Food + Travel Writing

Travel and food writing by Christina Crisostomo. New York/Toronto-based.

Brunch for the Distressed

I’ve had a hard time writing lately. I started this blog in hopes of finding respite from my day-to-day work in the reproductive rights movement, which can be emotionally and mentally taxing. But in the face of a relentless cycle of daily horrors—targeting not only reproductive rights but also the environmentimmigrants, you name it—writing about food can feel so trivial. I start and stop, leaving a trail of half-finished pieces that never feel quite right. What good is a cheddar biscuit recipe when it feels like this country has lost its humanity? I seek joy and relief in writing, but is there any respite under a presidency designed to break me and other minorities down? 

I went to a gathering yesterday that got me thinking about how I might start answering these questions. My wonderful friend Helen, part of my famed office lunch bunch, hosted a “Brunch for the Distressed” at her home, inviting friends to share resources, action plans, and protests in the spirit of resistance—all over a lovingly prepared meal.


It reminded me how food is so intimately tied to community. It’s easy to feel powerless, but less so when you're surrounded by a group of people committed to action—and powered by homemade scones. Activism can be intimidating, but food is one way to invite people in. Creating spaces to bring people together, ask questions, and share experiences is vital. Breakfast pizza helps.

We talked about SURJ, a group that organizes white people in support of racial justice, which some have found helpful here in New York. Some folks left brunch to attend the protest at JFK Airport. Some of us decided to attend future protests or take time for self-care. We all left happy and full.

We have to nourish each other if we’re going to be strong enough to face the next four years together. I’m going to try and keep this in mind as I fight my instinct to view my writing as trivial. After all, making food and writing about it nourishes me. And I want to do what I can to make sure the resistance will be well-fed.