Bad Manners

I have an awful lot of privilege. I know this. I’m a white woman living in suburban New Jersey with her family. Mid-thirties, house, yard, and even no job losses in our house in the middle of a pandemic. I consider myself “woke” in so many ways, yet I keep finding ways that my privilege shapes how I view the world.

One of these is the cookbook formerly known as Thug Kitchen. It wasn’t until the recent discourse surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement that it even occurred to me that “Thug” was a racial slur. It flitted in and out of my head with no real lasting consideration. I typically call the cookbooks my “sweary cookbooks” and I’ve loved their gimmick from the first time I saw them. Delicious, healthy vegan recipes that taste like comfort food, with recipes peppered with colorful language in ways that I, born and raised in the Garden State, found hilarious.

However, the creators of the cookbooks, who are two white people around my age from LA, have been (rightfully, when I think about it) called to task about their use of the word “thug.” They’ve been shifting their brand to “Bad Manners Kitchen” these days. Many activists in the online cooking community are justifiably angry that it took them so long to shift, or that they even dared to do this in the first place. There’s a lot of suspicion and anger around the fact that the authors kept their identities secret in the first place, maybe proving that they knew what they were doing wasn’t right. Many have called for “canceling” them over all of it.

I’m sticking with the recipes. I’m tentatively supporting their switch. I’m also acknowledging that I’m doing this from a privileged space and am not the authority on what is right. The recipes are still delicious and healthy. These cookbooks have been instrumental in making my cooking “grow up.” I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong way to handle a situation like this, but I wanted to be clear about all of this before posting recipes from this source. They’re particularly a summertime staple for me, so it was a concern.

I choose to believe we’re all growing and learning how to be more respectful.

Bad Manners can now be found here.

Their statement on the name change can be found here.

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