Carbs, Coffee & Chocolate: Coping in Trump’s America
Five places to cope with food & drink in and around Providence, RI in these turbulent times
Ever since the election I’ve been having trouble eating. Either I can’t or my meals consist entirely of dessert. I can’t tell if the lack of nutrition is impacting my health, but the heart palpitations and sleep disturbances from every new disastrous headline sure are.
The sleep disturbances also stem from my infant daughter’s regular 3am party times.
Now whenever I wake up in the middle of the night with her I wonder: How can I raise her in this world?
I feel like I’m experiencing every stage of grief at once. I’m 44. I’ve lived through and voted against the endless Bush years. While those were bleak, and set the stage for today, it’s been brutal since November 9, 2016.
I’m most afraid of the freshly-condoned street violence, re-upped against everyone it’s long been leveled at. How did my ancestors know when it was time to leave every country they had been chased, squeezed, tortured, threatened out of? And what do you do when leaving isn’t an option? What’s the best way to stay and be ok?
Will I ever look at another vegetable again? I have no answers.
Over Thanksgiving, my partner, baby, and I trundled to Providence, RI to be with (some of) the cast of thousands that is our extended family. Emotions were felt. Carbs were eaten.
Relevant fare for the politically or otherwise heartbroken:
Bread: staff of life, cornerstone of comfort consumption. Some of Seven Stars’ boules have those gorgeous proofing basket lines on them. A lot of their loaves are dressed with nuts and seeds, or otherwise look (and taste) rustic and crunchy.
Wrap your arms around one while it’s still warm. Lean your head forward. Rest your cheek on it. Breathe it in. Let it love you.
At the end of each day, Seven Stars donates their leftovers to local shelters and food pantries. Since 2006, every year on January 2, their anniversary, they donate 100% of their sales to a local charity, often supporting organizations designed to either end hunger or support the arts for kids. A small family-owned business, their products are made with ingredients from local vendors and serve coffee from a local roaster — oops, hello sniffles from all the kindness.
Here you will find the nicely done coffee and tea drinks, plus — on the right day — Nutella brownies the size of a softball. Hit the location inside the Brown U bookstore and buy a book to read while you drown your sorrows, perhaps something fictional and non-dystopian. But not overtly political. At least something where good triumphs over evil.
That basically leaves Harry Potter and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Whatever it takes?
And just like Seven Stars, Blue State is a family-owned, community-supporting business that donates a percentage of their sales to local non-profits (suicide prevention, libraries) while trying to run things as greenly as possible.
Here comes a touch of the sobs . . .
It just feels good to be in here, timeless and soothing.
The dark wood furniture . . . the smell of the beans . . . the bulletin boards advertising art exhibits, local bands, massage therapy, your usual lefty/progressive happenings. Also notable, the enormous cases of bread and cake products, plenty of which are fried.
Green/fair trade AF, the CE also operates as a roaster, and here’s what they have to say about their business aims on their website: “We strive to create a fair and sustainable workplace for our employees, free of inappropriate pressures, and with a reputation for providing fair wages, opportunities for growth and security, and for maintaining sustainable and healthy business practices, and making equipment and supplies decisions that improve and protect our environment.”
Free of inappropriate pressures.
I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE . . . ok, I’m crying. Oh am I crying. Next.
4. Avenue N
You know what? Nevermind the coffee.
When you need to go straight for the hard stuff, stick your tear-smeared face in their flourless chocolate torte. Whipped cream, raspberry coulis, the end.
Who knows, there may come a day when you do feel like looking at a vegetable again. On that day, you might look at the Grist Mill’s roasted veggie platter. Don’t worry, it has plenty of root vegetables, helping you keep one foot safely in Carb Land. Roasted potatoes, yams, and beets share a gray slate plate with asparagus, artichoke hearts, and a grilled heart of romaine drizzled with Caesar dressing, all accompanied by a vinaigrette dipping sauce.
Add a side of bacon for a shot of protein and what more could you need?
Besides . . . well.
Seven Stars Bakery
Locations in Providence and East Providence
Blue State Coffee
Locations in Providence, Boston, New Haven, and Hartford
The Old Grist Mill Tavern