Food is Caring (+ a Recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Pudding)

In the current issue of Comestible, Lisa C. Knisely writes eloquently about care labor. As she puts it, care labor is “the kind of work people do when they nurture others, the kind of work that keeps other people alive and, even more miraculously, feeling loved, happy, sustained, full.” It’s also the kind of work that has been largely done by women. It’s also work that is usually unpaid or underpaid. But it’s work that we need, particularly given the current political climate.

I have been thinking about this a lot in the past few days. It can seem inconsequential to write about food in the midst of a world fueled by hate, but if the last week has shown me anything it’s that we now need care labor more than ever. We need to take care of each other. We need to feed each other. We need to care for those vulnerable communities who are afraid. We need to find a way to bridge cultural and race divides.

Food won’t be the only answer, but it’s a start.

We are approaching the holiday season, a time when we often gather with friends and family around the table. Food is the cornerstone of many of our celebrations. I feel that this year, we truly need the proverbial table and the breaking of the bread. We need to recharge, refuel, so that we can continue to advocate and fight for all of the values that a democracy stands for. Above all, we need to care for each other.

Thank the people in your life – whether they are a friend, a family member, a barista or a server – who provide the care labor. Thank the people who put food on your table, who make a meal that comforts you. And don’t just thank them, extend the same care that you receive to others. Treat them with kindness, with tolerance. Stand up and fight for your rights, but take care of yourself; self-care is essential too.

This dish is a comforting one, an easy one to put together and share with friends. Or share with strangers. Or share with someone who needs comfort. This pumpkin oatmeal pudding isn’t going to change the world, but I hope that it might make you feel a little better, cared for.Bake it in the evening and serve it for breakfast the next day. I hope that when you feel comforted, feel a little stronger, you can continue fighting for what you believe in.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Pudding

Pumpkin Oatmeal Pudding


3 eggs

3 tablespoons honey

1 cup (240 milliliters) hemp or rice milk (or whatever milk you have on hand)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup (8 ounces, 240 grams) roasted pumpkin or pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup (1.75 ounces, 50 grams) rolled oats

Large handful of walnuts or pumpkin seeds (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

In a bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Add the honey, milk and spices and whisk until well blended.

Mix in the roasted pumpkin or puree and stir together with a wooden spoon. Add in the oats (and nuts, if using) and stir together.

Pour into a greased baking dish. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until the pudding is firm (this may take more time depending on the size of your baking dish).

Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Pudding


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