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For Andre Springer, Hot Sauce Is Just One Part of a Drag Queen’s Show | Healthyish

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In mid-October, the shared industrial kitchen and food incubator where Andre Springer produced and packaged his hot sauce was shut down without notice. His and more than 175 other businesses were left without a space to prepare their products. As Springer regroups, and puts a pause on sauce production, he’s launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund his move to a new kitchen. You can learn more, and contribute here.

When Andre Springer made his first batch of hot sauce six years ago, there was some confusion. Springer, dressed as his drag alter-ego Shaquanda Coco Mulatta, was at Bushwig, Brooklyn’s annual drag festival. Beaming, curly hair tied up in a colorful bandana, nails painted cherry red, gold hoop earrings swinging, Shaquanda rolled a shopping cart full of sauce through the festival. “A lot of people there were asking me when I would perform,” Springer remembers, giggling. “I was like, ‘Right now. Open your hand, here’s a cracker.’ And I put some hot sauce on it.” And just like that, Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce was born.

Springer, now 36, began working at a gay bar in his early twenties, where he became friends with the resident drag queen. One night, when she was hosting her weekly Jeopardy game, she “asked me if I wanted to do drag,” he recalls. “And I was like, ‘Oh my god yes.’” Shaquanda was his first character. With her bandana and her apron, she was an homage to Springer’s grandmother, a cook in Barbados before she moved to New York.

Since then, Shaquanda has been a fixture in Brooklyn’s drag scene. She doesn’t perform on stage. Instead, she interacts with her audiences, dancing through the crowd, and pulling partygoers onto podiums to dance and sing with her. Springer first had the idea to add hot sauce to Shaquanda’s performance after a trip to Barbados six years ago. Wherever he went, he was greeted by some version of the peppery sauce, which his grandmother in New York poured over all of her food. He came back to New York with a plan to make his own sauce, one that would act as a unique expression of his identity as a queer Barbadian New Yorker.

Shaquanda's hot sauce 31102018 BA10985

Photo by Chelsea Kyle

A fiery jar of Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce.

He proudly describes the resulting sauce—a fiery mixture of vinegar, onions, and fresh peppers—as “a drag sauce.” Each bottle, wrapped in a bright red label, is emblazoned with Shaquanda’s face and a variety of sassy slogans: “Be the queen of your kitchen” and “Willing to please, eager to burn.”

“That imagery is me,” he says, picking up one of the bottles from the coffee table in his Bed-Stuy apartment. “It’s my face; it’s my history; it’s my culture. It’s who I am.” Each bottle is a way for Springer to share his Barbadian roots and bring his drag performance into spaces that often lack queer visibility. “For me, that is a performance in and of itself.”

Since Springer first peddled hot sauce at Bushwig six years ago, his business has grown. Now, he makes roughly 200 bottles of sauce a week in a Brooklyn commercial kitchen and distributes it to small shops in Bushwick and several in Manhattan. Making hundreds of bottles of sauce is a labor of love, but when Springer sells a bottle to a queer kid, or meets a woman named Shaquanda at the farmers’ market while he’s vending (it’s happened), it all seems worth it. “I’m a one-queen shop, and it’s hard doing all of these things,” he says. “But I want to see more queer visibility on the shelf. There’s so much you can do with advertising and packaging that can teach people to love each other and be accepting.”

Sometimes Springer looks in a shop’s window and, caught off guard, sees Shaquanda smiling back at him on a hot sauce bottle. In those moments, all of Springer’s work feels worth it. “Hey girl,” he’ll say through the window, blowing Shaquanda a kiss. “Who you goin’ home with today?”

Get on the waiting list for Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce here.



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Santé Et Nutrition

Our Smartest Thanksgiving Potluck Strategies

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A potluck-style Thanksgivings is, plain and simple, very logical: You can cross a handful of dishes off your scroll-sized list, free up kitchen (and head) space, and make your guests feel involved. Plus, your great aunt or cousin’s boyfriend might bring something delicious that you would’ve never thought to make on your own.

It can become more of a stressor than a solace, however, when one friend shows up asking to use the oven and another, stuck in traffic, is in possession of the only batch of mashed potatoes for the party. To make sure your Thanksgiving potluck works in your favor, follow this plan. They’re so helpful, in fact, they’re also rules to live by when choosing your contribution as a guest.

1. Assign within reason: A cooked turkey should move no farther than the distance between the oven and the table. Farm out salads, casseroles, and other hearty, sturdy dishes that can be carried under one arm (but might take up a lot of room in your own fridge). Cranberry sauce is the perfect candidate: It’s easy for someone to transport, it can be served chilled or at room temp, and it only gets better with time, meaning your valiant volunteer can make it days ahead.

2. Assign smart: The best assignments are good at room temp and avoid minimal “finishing touches.” Ask a guest to bring a frozen dessert or a piping-hot soup and it won’t be that way when it arrives. And unless you have burners, sheet trays, cutting boards, and oven space to spare (…who are you?!), think of dishes that can be made as far in advance as possible. And guests, don’t leave any garnish prep to the last minute: Toast nuts, mix vinaigrette, and wash and tear herbs at your own house, then transport them in separate containers if you’re worried about wilting or sogging. Leave only the final toss for game time.

3. Know your guests’ limits: Request that the perpetually late friend bring dessert, not an appetizer.

4. Divide and conquer: If you’re hosting a massive group, divvy up certain staples, like potatoes and stuffing, among several guests so that no one has to quadruple a recipe. (If you’re the competitive type, you can turn this into a taste-off. Just kidding—kind of!)

5. When in doubt, ask for an appetizer: If nothing else, something to snack on will satiate any peckish guests, buying you time to finish setting up.

6. Prepare to receive the bounty: When friends come bearing Tupperwares, make sure you’re adequately stocked up with utensils, bowls, and platters for serving. Or be clear up front that the vessels and silverware are part of the assignment, and guests need to bring their own.

7. Think beyond food: Get cooking-phobic friends and family involved by asking them to bring wine glasses, napkins, ice, or even a (really thoughtful) playlist. If all else fails, there’s always dish duty.



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Santé Et Nutrition

L’Institut Pinel revoit son plan de réorganisation

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Photo: Guillaume Levasseur Le Devoir

Québec — L’Institut Philippe-Pinel accepte de revoir son plan de réorganisation, se félicite la ministre de la Santé, Danielle McCann. La ministre est sortie de son mutisme, mercredi, après que le syndicat, le Parti québécois et Québec solidaire eurent dénoncé la décision de l’établissement d’abolir 37 postes de sociothérapeute. Elle a expliqué être intervenue dans le dossier afin d’exiger que l’institut, qui fournit des soins en santé mentale aux personnes violentes, maintienne les sociothérapeutes en poste, ou les replace ailleurs dans le réseau. Le 8 novembre, la direction avait annoncé une réorganisation des postes au sein de l’institut, supprimant 37 postes de sociothérapeute pour ajouter 37 postes d’agent d’intervention. Une décision très critiquée, notamment par le syndicat.



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Santé Et Nutrition

This Butternut Squash Tarte Tatin Is an Ingenious Fall Dessert

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On the Facebook event page for this year’s Friendsgiving, created three weeks ago by one ambitious cook in my squad, friends promised to bring macaroni and cheese…and turkey-infused vodka (a joke, I guess). But by the time the date rolled around last weekend, all that appeared at the table were a couple bottles of wine, Indian takeout menus pulled up on phones, Jenga (lol), and some very hungry people. It seemed like Friendsgiving wasn’t going to happen. Then I showed up with dessert.

It wasn’t just any dessert, but pastry genius Claire Saffitz’s butternut squash tarte tatin—her very seasonally appropriate take on the classic French concoction of caramel-shellacked apples layered atop buttery puff pastry, this time made with everyone’s fall favorite veg: butternut squash. That switch gives the whole thing a sweet-and-savory flavor and a satisfyingly tender texture that beats any sugar bomb pecan pie or unnaturally creamy pumpkin puree. It doesn’t hurt either that it’s damn pretty, with burnt-orange shingles and a top coat of shiny, glossy, vanilla-inflected caramel.

butternut squash tarte tatin process 1

Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

Fanning out the squash is an art.

I gingerly placed my masterpiece on the table, like a proud tiger mom who drops off her piano prodigy backstage before a concert. Nonchalant. Maybe even a little smug. Conversation stopped. Jaws dropped. “OMG” punctuated a hushed room. People jumped up to grab forks and plates and started passing around slices of the glistening pinwheel tart. We dug in while we waited for takeout to be delivered. Friendsgiving was back on.

That is the power of Claire’s butternut squash tarte tatin: It can’t help but gather people around it. And it’s not hard to pull off, either—if you plan ahead. Claire calls for making your own cheater’s puff pastry, which isn’t as scary as it sounds. (Just ask associate editor Christina Chaey.) You only need time, patience—and a good rolling pin. The rest is easy.

shortcut puff pastry beauty

Yes, you CAN make your own puff pastry.

As the dough chills, thinly chop the butternut squash into half moons and roast it in the oven with lots of sugar and butter until it curls along the edges and takes on almost honeyed taste, like the best fruit leather you’ve ever had. While it cools, cook the caramel with sugar, water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a saucepan over medium heat, swirling the pan constantly until it turns a light golden brown. Be vigilant! It happens much faster than you think it will. Drop a few tablespoons of butter into the caramel and pour into a springform pan—in my case, a buttered pie pan worked perfectly fine—and then start fanning out the butternut squash slices, focusing all your OCD efforts on that first layer since that’s what the people will see. Roll out the chilled puff pastry over the pie pan and cut the hanging edges, then poke a few holes with a fork all over the dough and tuck in in the sides with a spoon. Into the oven it goes for the next hour or so, until the puff pastry has risen (PTL!) and comes out lightly browned.

butternut squash tarte tatin process 6

Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

The best kind of winter cap is a pastry one.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Once the tarte tatin is cooled, you need to flip it upside-down, so the pastry is on the bottom and your artful handiwork is on top for everyone to admire. “Don’t think; just do it,” I whispered to myself in my kitchen, psyching myself up like an athlete in a melodramatic Nike commercial. I placed a plate over the pie pan and gripped the edges, then turned it over in one quick move. Other than the butternut squash juices that dribbled on the counter, the flip was a success.

I relied on that same adrenaline-fueled maneuvering once we broke out the Jenga, long after we demolished the butternut squash tarte tatin. I pulled out one particularly precarious piece, earning me some more high-fives, OMGs, and a fresh beer. I guess that’s also the power of Claire’s tarte tatin.

Get the recipe:

butternut-squash-tarte-tatin.jpg



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