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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

July 3, 2012 at 6:00 AM

The almost cookbook of the Occupy movement

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Let them eat cake? That’ll be 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar…

Late last year, Devra Gartenstein saw a Facebook post asking for recipes for a cookbook on the Occupy movement, which had kitchens on site at protests throughout the country. The cookbook was to be “cooking and recipe ideas for the 99%, by the 99%,” as well as “information on hot topics of food injustice” and a look at the early days of the busy Occupy Wall Street kitchen.

Gartenstein, the longest-standing vendor at Seattle farmers markets, seemed well placed to help. As she wrote on the Pork and Gin site, she was “a sympathetic outsider” who had donated a stove and surplus food to her local Occupy Kitchen, and she was also the author of two cookbooks and a food history book, the last written through her own “accidental publishing company” focused on quirky books about food. She began talking with the group about editing and publishing the collection.

But the project proved harder than a protest.

It was difficult to figure out whether the book should be inexpensive or a coffee table novelty, how to split profits and whether there should be profits, and how it should be organized.

“The last time I heard from (the organizer), he was still waiting for folks to submit recipes…Needless to say, the book never happened,” she wrote. But she hopes it will move forward with someone, some day.

“The Occupy Cookbook project ran into contradictions at every turn in part because the acts of preparing and serving food are so complicated, bringing so much joy and also carrying so much baggage. Cooking can be an art or a pleasure; it can also be sheer drudgery, a burden and an obligation. We all deserve to be fed but, in order for this to happen, someone has to be enlisted to feed us,” she wrote.

Check out the full account here.

File photo of an Occupy Seattle protest by John Lok/The Seattle Times

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