Ode to Baton Rouge Food

I live in a city that unfortunately dwells in the shadow of (my perfect hometown) New Orleans. Getting a job I really wanted at a truly special organization was bittersweet because it meant moving from Soho, London, where hearing 10 languages on a 20 minute walk is the norm and I could wear whatthefuckever because there was always someone more strangely dressed, to…Baton Rouge. I made the halfhearted decision from the beginning that I would work to change my attitude about Baton Rouge because New Orleanians are admittedly trained to think that Baton Rouge is purgatory. I’ll go ahead and throw it on the table that there are things about Baton Rouge that make me want to crawl into a vodka bottle: the traffic (ask anyone here), the segregation (for another post at another time), and the general layout of the city. Also, I remain a terrible Baton Rouge resident because I return home to New Orleans almost every weekend. Clearly not trying as hard as I could/should.

BUT, it has its usually-overlooked perks. Namely, the food. And by food, I mean all of it: the health-food-for-yuppies, the soul food, the iced coffee to go,  the adorable locally owned grocery stores,  the sushi, the seafood shacks that are too forreal to have a website, and so on. Aside from my yoga studio, exploring the food in Baton Rouge has helped me start to plant roots in this city outside of work. Cutting up the big mama strawberries from Calandro’s into my salad at lunch brings me about as much joy as hot towels straight from the dryer after a shower.

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In January, I will start Yoga Teacher Training for several reasons: I’d like to deepen my practice and devote time to physical expression, regularly feel the energy that I know comes of yoga (or dancing, or running, or…), and, finally, continue to spend energy on things that will allow me to draw happiness from multiple areas.

I feel the last need in particular right now because my job has the potential to become all-consuming and I know what that looks like for a person. I also know that if I do not tie my entire happiness to my work, it will be much easier to remain grounded when things do become stressful.

I normally feel such pressure to compose beautiful sentences when writing but, tonight, after a hard, confusing day at work, I’ve shrugged at the pressure. I knew that I just needed to start.

To explain the title of the blog: I chose a line from June Jordan’s “Poem for South African Women”

“And who will join this standing up/ and the ones who stood without sweet company/ will sing and sing/ back into the mountains and/ if necessary/ even under the sea/ we are the ones we have been waiting for.”