If Rage Baking is a movement, it’s one that was initially catalyzed by my physical and emotional labor in a major city and in an influential group of people. It is one that was started with the simple act of being kind and encouraging in the darkest of times. I am not at all surprised that my kindness has been overshadowed by the actions of well-intended white women. That my rage and pain has been claimed as their own and their voices centered, uplifted and prioritized. It just demonstrates whose rage is most valued and who is allowed to express it freely. – “The Privilege of Rage” Tangerine Jones
I was really excited when I saw Katherine Alford and Kathy Gunst’s new cookbook, Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women’s Voices on NetGalley. It seemed like it could be a great book for this worst of times. As I read the introductions, I decided I was going to need to do some research before hitting publish. The co-authors and a lot of the contributors are white and rage baking seemed like the kind of thing Black women would be doing that white women would center around themselves. Full disclosure – I am white, I know my people. Before I got a chance to do the research, the answer popped up on my twitter feed.
— tangerinejones (@tangerinejones) February 15, 2020
Before the co-authors decided to collect recipes and essays on the subject of rage baking with the backing of a major publisher, there was Tangerine Jones. Jones, a Black woman, created a social justice and community building movement around rage baking. She has a website, Ragebaking.com, and an Instagram account and she encouraged building community through #ragebaking. Jones set up rules for rage baking which are designed to spread love and build community – Fundamental of Rage Baking (posted two whole years before Kathy Gunst was enraged by the response to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony at the Kavenaugh hearing):
- You can bake alone or with folks, but whatever you make must be shared, preferably with strangers. Pass it out. Mail it. Throw a party. Take it to the nearest shelter. Set up a #ragebaking stand. However, you do it, spread the love and make sure folks know what’s in it so you don’t kill anyone with food allergies.
- Challenge yourself. Make something you’ve never made before. Perfect your old game.
Always wanted to try to make a four layer cake or reverse engineer your grandmother’s biscuit recipe? Wanna take your pie game to the next level? Do it!
- Embrace the fail and celebrate it. Take just as many pictures when you f**k up as when you don’t. Remember that Martha Stewart has an entire company of folks helping her achieve that perfection. There is a journey to greatness that you often don’t see. Embracing the fail is embracing that journey and the beauty of putting it out there. When you do that, you’ll find other folks are on it too. You are never alone in the fail.
- If you’re ragebaking with folks, everyone must bring something to contribute.
Whether it be the recipe, baking pans,ingredients, music to ragebake to, hands to cleanup or love. Remember that not all contributions are the kind bought with money. Work together and work it out. Take turns. It’s all hands in and hearts on.
- Ragebake with purpose. Bake with intention.
Whether it’s to chase the blues, have real talk and support folk, raise money for a cause or to have fun, think about what you’re doing. Set the theme and the tone and go in.
- Be thoughtful, considerate and kind as f**k.
If you don’t know how to do that, let the ragebake be your guide. It goes without saying that ragebaking is open to all- no racism,homophobia, transphobia,sizism, sexism or general hateful ridiculousness. Don’t sh*t on the cake, ya’ll. Don’t ruin what should be a good time for everyone.
- Show us how you ragebake.
Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and use the hashtag #ragebaking when you post pictures or video of what you made, the folks you made it with or the reason why you made it. Show us how you do.
Alford and Gunst’s book states as its mission:
This is a book about women’s voices, women’s recipes, women in community with one another.
Don’t let anyone tell you you’re being too dramatic, too loud, too outspoken. Too Sarah Bernhardt. Speak out. Speak up.
This is the problem with ignoring Tangerine Jones. It can’t be a book about women’s voices, or women in community with each other when Jones’ voice is shutout. And if anyone is complaining that Ms. Jones and her supporters are being too dramatic, too loud, or too outspoken, well the authors said we should. Feminism has a dismal history of reserving itself for white and wealthy. White women have centered social justice movements around themselves too often for this to feel like an accident. This past weekend as I making a note to myself to research #ragebaking, I read the tweets pointing out the striking similarities between Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins’ Thirst Aid Kit podcast and the British Film Institute’s Spring program – Thirst. Again, Black women doing something innovative with an experience we all have (desire or rage) and a white woman swoops in and co-opts the conversation on a platform with larger financial backing (see also American Dirt).
I feel badly for the contributors. Some of the recipes and essays in this book are fantastic. I also continue to feel badly for women and femmes. One of the reasons Patriarchy is alive and well is because we keep narrowly defining who counts. There is no gender equality without all the other equalities.
Some books you might read instead –
Robin Diangelo’s White Fragility
Layla F Saad, Me and White Supremacy
Michael Twitty, The Cooking Gene
Toni Tipton-Martin, Jubilee: Recipes for Two Centuries of African American Cooking
Go listen to Thirst Aid Kit podcast and read books written by BIPOC.
I received this advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
If Simon & Schuster and the authors want to make this right, I would like to be credited for my work and see sizeable donations made to the Ali Forney Center, The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, and The Campaign against Hunger. – “The Privilege of Rage” Tangerine Jones