Pens in Space


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from Food Not Bombs Recipes

This is one of the more complex recipes I make on a regular basis. And it took a lot of optimizing and messy kitchens to get it to something I can reasonably do in an afternoon Serves 20: Scale up as needed

Total Time ~2 hours 30 minutes Idle time ~30 minutes


  • 5 cups white rice (parboiled if available)

  • 8 cups (1.89 l) water

  • 2 cups (0.47 liters) coconut water alternately 2 extra cups of water is fine if you don't have coconut water


  • 1 clove garlic

  • 2 tbsp sweet curry powder or garam masala

  • ¼ cup soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (or ½ teaspoon ginger powder)

  • 1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric (or ½ teaspoon turmeric powder)

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  • 1 tsp msg

  • salt and pepper


  • ½ pineapple (cut into 1 inch cubes)

  • 1 cup unroasted unsalted cashews

  • 1 white onion (diced)

  • 1 large carrot (peeled and diced)

  • ¼ cup edamame (shelled)

  • 4 tbsp neutral oil (canola, peanut)


To begin, combine water, coconut water, and rice in a large foil pan and place in the oven at 350f 177c uncovered until rice is cooked through (about 30 minutes), around 15 minutes in, add the cashews to allow them to steam.

Combine all the dried seasonings in one small bowl and all the wet seasonings in a second small bowl, set aside.

Sauté the onion, pineapple, edamame, and carrot in a large saucepan with 2 tbsp of the oil, salting and peppering to taste. Move to a bowl or a foil pan to sit.

After the rice is done, take ¼ of the rice and crisp in a saucepan with the remaining 2 tbsp of oil. Once it is crispy and almost burnt, re integrate with the remaining rice and mix wet seasonings in.

Add the dry seasonings and sautéd vegetables into the rice and combine. Set in an oven on 200f 93c covered until ready to serve.


from Food Not Bombs Recipes

This tasty recipe makes use of bold Mexican Spices to create a tasty and easy side dish that can be served cold or hot Serves 20: Scale up as needed

Total Time ~45 minutes

Idle Time ~10 minutes


  • 2 bags of frozen corn or 10 ears of fresh corn
  • ½ lbs (2 sticks) melted butter
  • ¼ cup mayo
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb Queso Fresco or Cotija
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional Ingredients

  • Chiles de arbol (soak in boiling water then blend into a paste)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Liquid Smoke
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 red or green bell peper
  • MSG


If using frozen corn, defrost the corn and put on a sheet pan. Broil until some kernels show light browning.

If you are using fresh corn, shuck and place over a grill or gas burner until some light browning occurs. Then cut the kernels off of the cob by running a sharp knife down against the cob.

If you are using onions and/or peppers, chop into small pieces and cook on medium-low in a pan until they are slightly caramelized (~15 minutes)

Place the kernels into a large foil pan or whatever you plan on taking to food not bombs, then mix together all listed ingredients. Crumble the queso fresco in, juice the limes, and add a few dashes of liquid smoke if you have it on hand. Add the mayo and melted butter along with the spices, salt, pepper, and optional MSG, then combine with gloved hands or a rubber spatula until homogeneous.

Taste for seasoning then optionally place in a 200f oven if you wish to serve warm. The dish works perfectly well room temperature and pairs well with fluffy white bread, Bean and Cheese burritos, or vegetarian chili.


from Udayippu

“I read the most important book I've read till date”, I tooted about “How to be an Anti Racist” by Dr Ibram X Kendi. And I can't stress enough how true it is. I'm a recovering casteist who is trying to shed years of conditioning to see everything through the prejudiced eyes of caste and communities. I slip up even now with slurs that are of a discriminatory nature, prejudice etc. Because like an addiction, being an anticasteist needs to have self awareness, self criticism and self examination to make sure I don't slip up when I find old habits trying to come back. When racism tries to pull back the progress I've made to shed those tendencies. For us humans “have been programmed to respond to differences between us with fear and loathing.” I'm going to be using racism and casteism interchangeably during the rest of this write up because both are inherently means to hold on to the existing power dynamics and spreading the beliefs around inferiority of certain communities over the others in order to maintain status quo with no progress towards social justice, and equity.

Let's start with an agreement of what racism and antiracism means. Any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior to another is racist. Racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas. An antiracist treats and remembers individuals as individuals. Antiracism is a powerful collection of anti-racist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by anti-racist ideas.

The first thing to understand that we can't be neutral in our stand against racism. We can't be in denial of it either. The opposite of racist isn't not racist. It's antiracist. We can't pretend that not believing in caste can make it go away. Not at this point in time at least. And the first thing any casteist would do is be in denial. They'll claim they have Black or Dalit or Muslim friends, so they aren't really discriminating when they are talking about certain communities being tied down by their own behaviours and not as a consequence of what the policies have forced them into. When we fail to see racism, we fall into racist passivity and colour blindness and can't fix the problems that exist and are the causes of these vast inequalities that exist within our society today. The construct of race neutrality detrimental because it leads to the victim complex that the nationalists hold by creating an impression that any policy protecting or advancing a minority is reverse discrimination. We've seen that play out with any kind of minority movement including feminism, trans rights etc.

This is the consistent function of racist ideas—and of any kind of bigotry more broadly: to manipulate us into seeing people as the problem, instead of the policies that ensnare them.

Caste inequity is when two or more castes aren't on par. When policies produces and sustains these inequities, the only course of balancing that out is anticasteist policies that reduce these differences to produce equity and then sustain them in the long run. We are at a stage where we haven't reduced the inequity at all, so to talk about going to the next stage where we pretend it doesn't exist at all is absurd and unfair. And when we talk about policies, we have to talk about written and unwritten laws that govern people. This includes a Dalit collector being given lesser responsibilities despite their proven track record, people bypassing their colleagues or their superiors because of the latter's assumed inferiority due to circumstances of birth etc. A very good example of policy failure is standardized tests. The issue with it is that they are mostly about technique and not really a test of the capability of an individual. The ones who can afford to get trained for these specific set of tests perform well in them, and that's usually the ones with the societal privilege.

People are in our faces. Policies are distant. We are particularly poor at seeing the policies lurking behind the struggles of people.

A major, flawed in my opinion, argument that comes up whenever we discuss caste is the reservation system and how its is reverse casteism. The argument Dr Kendi makes here about this that I agree with is that propagating existing inequities and allowing the dominant race to continue amassing wealth and availing power is vastly different from temporarily assisting an underrepresented group to uplift themselves to restore parity. Of course, there are going to be the abuse of the system by some members that group, but that can't be used as an argument to deny entire groups any kind of representation. Importantly, it's possible that those abusing the system don't contribute in any meaningful way towards change, so they are as casteist as the ones making the argument about the abuse. Better representation would ensure better inclusive policies. We have to standardize opportunities available to all.

As President Lyndon B. Johnson said in 1965, “You do not take a person who,12 for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, ‘You are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”

The other important issue at hand is celebrating the differences between the races instead of homogenizing as Indian or American. This is an assimilationist idea where the downtrodden only need some instructions on how to act. The segregationist idea at the other end of the spectrum is to identify them as animals or termites or outsiders (these are actual words used by some of our politicians) who are in teachable. Our role as antiracists is to ensure that the policies are for creating equal opportunities because we know that racial groups are civilized. We shouldn't strive to be the ideal “citizen” in terms of how we dress, speak a language etc, but be our own individual who sees everyone else as individuals instead of tagging them as “not Indian enough” or “not Hindu enough” etc.

To be antiracist is to view national and transnational ethnic groups as equal in all their differences. To be antiracist is to challenge the racist policies that plague racialized ethnic groups across the world. To be antiracist is to view the inequities between all racialized ethnic groups as a problem of policy.

We have to stop calling them micro aggressions or prejudiced behaviour and instead call the acts we do when we see people of colour as abuse because it causes distress to the people affected by it. Clutching a bag when you see a black, getting uncomfortable when you see a person wearing a skullcap etc are acts that cause immense stress to those who are only practicing their culture or are born thus. That need not be associated with their behaviour and we have to remember to consider them as individuals and not as a generalized group where everyone exhibits the same behaviour.

There is evidence to prove that poverty and crime are correlated, yet we try to hold prejudice against marginalized groups because there is more crime rate within them as a consequence of the policies that have kept them poor. The only ones who win with racism are the powers at the top. They have to keep people fighting between each other on the basis of such differences to maintain power and create an imaginary enemy who must be kept down at all times. I'm going to go on a tangent and talk about the Light eyes from The Stormlight Archive series who are considered to be the higher caste who ensured that the Dark eyes always believed themselves to be inferior in order to keep their power. When Kaladin, who was a slave got super powers, they still tried to not give him his due, and it took an antiracist Dalinar to do so. Back to real life, most Brahmins aren't interested in changing the situation because it means they have to share the power and opportunities with everyone else, which puts a fear in their minds that they won't enjoy the privileges they have enjoyed over the centuries anymore. They created the cultural standard and put themselves at the top of the hierarchy. Using civilization, purity etc as euphemisms for racism, they impose this hierarchy. As anti-racists, we should equalize cultural differences among the different groups. and when we see cultural differences, we only see them as differences and not as superiority of one over the other. Going back to a constant theme, we should think about individual behaviours and not group behaviours. Culture is a group tradition, but it doesn't mean every individual of that group shares it, nor should it be uniform for all groups.

When we critique someone, we have to critique them for what they are. If we are critiquing a student, we have to critique them for their lack of motivation, discipline etc. We shouldn't critique them as a Dalit student. Society doesn't critique an irresponsible upper caste student as a representation of that student's entire caste.

When we believe that a racial group’s seeming success or failure redounds to each of its individual members, we’ve accepted a racist idea. Likewise, when we believe that an individual’s seeming success or failure redounds to an entire group, we’ve accepted a racist idea.

Dr Kendi equates racism to cancer. As a survivor of this aggressive disease, he tells us that like cancer, we have to treat the root cause, which is surgically removing the tumour instead of merely treating symptoms. As antiracists, we have to constantly look for policy improvements to rid society of this malicious ill which is threatening to consume us all. As an Indian, I believe that we are at an advanced stage, yet miracles have happened, and we, as anticasteists have to try our best to get us into remission and ensure we can stay there for long.


from Udayippu

I'm a huge believer in the importance of creating things to keep one's skills sharp as well as to act as a source of happiness. I've had a creative block for quite some time now. I recently saw a video to figure out if I could address the problem and found that this could be coming from my bad consumption patterns (excessive mindless scrolling) that satiates my need for dopamine instead of looking at creation as a means to generate the chemical which gives that rush fo pleasure. While that's the primary cause, I also think that a lack of exposure to new things also stops my brain from putting new experiences to use to come up with something creative. I've found myself to be particularly creative in the kitchen when I've exposed myself to videos of different dishes and I think of new ways to experiment with the ingredients in the kitchen.

The other thing I've always struggled is with innovating. Even when I've tried to come up with novel solutions to problems that I'm facing, I don't always make it full fledged enough to serve my own needs, let alone expose it to the whole world by means of articles, software repositories etc for someone in the same boat as I am to solve theirs.

Recently, I happened to attend a virtual talk at my workplace from the regional head of a corporate giant who talked about how individuals can become innovators and what companies can do to fill their offices with innovators and make it their culture. While I liked the idea that innovation can be taught and one need not be born with the innate ability to do so, I did disagree with some of the things he said. According to him, an innovation has to be scalable, profitable, and solve a unique problem. I agree with only the last of those. We see so many inventions and ideas that take the headlines for a few days and then don't make it big. Those inventions could still exist and be solving the problem for a very niche group of people, yet that can't be classified as an innovation according to his definition. It's entirely possible that the product becomes huge when they decide to spend a little more time on that idea to make it appealing to the public, yet when the secondary services/structures that people put together to solve their needs, to not define them as innovations is a bit problematic in my eyes. An example of this is the chat system at a gaming company that became the widely loved product called Slack. In its original form, Slack wasn't meant to be a product, so when it was created, the developers weren't thinking about its profitability nor its scalability.

The other point he brought up was to flood the offices with new graduates because of the energy and enthusiasm they build. I agree with the enthusiasm they bring, but that need not necessarily translate to innovation. He mentioned that they work long hours and solve problems in weeks, what would take months for an experienced person. The lack of real world wisdom and experience do lead to an inferior quality product, and we've seen enough of this complaint being raised about the things going out from this country. I'm not saying that there can't be young kids who bring an infectious creative mindset to the workplace, but it's quite challenging to find such talent so easily, and if you “flood” the offices with so many of them, it's possible they bring the company down because soon, you'd be using all your energy to just keeping the ship afloat.

I did find a couple of points he brought up to be very valid. One is around having exposure to different ideas that helps spark creativity. We have to try different things and then let the subconscious mind connect unrelated ideas. This is a lesson I found from Learning How to Learn which talked about the brain trying to connect the dots when it's allowed to wander. For example, learning a foreign language was connected to translating articles to create Duolingo, and the ReCaptcha is more of a crowdsourced image labelling platform more than proving if you are human or not. These ideas wouldn't have been married together if the inventor of that platform hadn't been trying to do all of these things, but separately.

Having a network of individuals who pursue similar interests in creating things is also important as it puts it at the forefront of the thought process and not something to think about when you have the time. You also get sounding boards to bounce your ideas off of, and also find partners on your adventures into the world of creating.

I come back to my original point. I feel like innovation and creativity don't always have to lead to something world changing. If it changes the way an individual works with the world around him, and maybe he tells the others how he's doing it, that may be enough. Personal satisfaction and whetting an appetite to make something new are good excuses to put the brain to creative use.