If all you care about are the vegan crispy lentil fritters, scroll down for the recipe.
If you want to be an awesome human being, please read this post.
TRIGGER WARNING: I mention sexual assault and victim blaming but there are no details.
This first time I had ever met someone who told me she was a feminist, she struck fear into my heart. I’ll call her K. K was hilarious, fiercely opinionated, and very unafraid of saying whatever she pleased. We worked together for the city when I lived in Ottawa, and often we’d have to spend all day counting cars. I had one of those square counting boards with buttons indicating which direction cars were coming and going. It was a pretty mindless task to be done 8 hours a day, so we’d often have music or podcasts to pass the time, but I preferred simply to be talking to someone.
One day her friend visited us while we were working, and she was everything that the small town girl in me didn’t know how to handle. Ignorant 20-year-old me took notice little tufts of armpit hair peeking out from her T-shirt, and boxy plaid clothing with her slew of tattoos and piercings. Her bold presence took me aback and I didn’t know how to react. After she left, K simply said, “I love her! She’s such a rockin’ feminist.”
There was that word. Feminist. What did that mean to me? Back then, feminists were synonymous with lesbians, tomboys, manhaters, bra-burners, and newly-added to the list: people who didn’t like to shave. Whatever they were, I wasn’t.
I asked, “Are you a feminist?”
“Of course I am!”
K promptly plugged her earbuds back in and continued to count cars, bobbing her head to her music and I was left to mull over what feminists were. From what I knew, K was awesome. She was hilarious, super fun to work with (despite often telling me she didn’t want to talk anymore, not because she didn’t like me, but because she wanted quiet time), and all round a pretty awesome person. But it clashed with my perception of what feminism was. What did it mean to be a feminist? I’m sure she answered a couple questions later on then, but I still didn’t quite grasp the concept. But I knew to choose my words carefully around her, not in a bad way, but because I knew the smallest spark could rile her up and incite a rant about women’s rights and language.
Looking back on me then, I can’t help but cringe at myself. It’s only been about 4 years since that encounter, but I am ashamed that I had ever had such a narrow world view. I made snap judgements about people’s appearance, based on their personal grooming and clothing. It wasn’t that I thought I was better than they were or anything, I just interacted with them differently. Even treating people differently based on their appearances is not okay.
It wasn’t until I got to know more people at the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa that I had a better idea of what feminism was. To these strong-willed and fierce individuals, feminism is much more than women’s rights. Feminism, specifically fourth-wave feminism, is giving a voice to people who experience oppression. In history (or herstory), feminism was the fight to give women the right to vote. Giving the women of democracy the right to exercise democracy in the must fundamental way. As that wave of feminism crashed against the rocks of patriarchy, the rough barriers of voicelessness dissolved into sand.
But evidently the fight never stopped there. Women (cis-gender and especially trans-identified)Â are still not seen as equal today. Rape culture persists and victims of sexual abuse are still asked what they were wearing when they were assaulted. Revealing clothes or modest clothes, there are horrible individuals out there who make victims out of people, scantily clad or not, in neither case are these people deserving of that abuse.
My feminist journey continued into my Master’s degree, where I was enthralled with women and translation, and how women were translated across cultures. Languages like French and Spanish hold more importance to the gendered nouns and their relationship with other words. My new friends were fountains of information and knowledge, challenging my perspectives, giving me new ideas and points of view of an issue.
People of all identified genders, races, and ages should be able to walk down a street anytime of the day and feel safe. Not feeling safe on your way home from work/school/wherever is a horrible feeling. It’s that nugget of fear in between your heart and your stomach. It’s that jolt of adrenaline anytime you hear footsteps behind you and it’s dark. Fight or flight: I’m always prepared for both with my keys sprawled out between my fingers, ready to maim in self-defence. I have an escape route mapped out from wherever I am anytime I feel that prickle at the back of my neck. All the grade 9s female students at my high school had a mandatory self-defence class, but not for the male students. Do you ever take a step back and realize that cis-gendered women and anyone in the queer community feels that way so often that it is a normal instinct to feel unsafe? How messed up is that?
To me, feminism is the fight for basic human rights. People have the right to love whoever they want to love. They have the right to feel safe. They have the right to dress how they want, groom themselves how they want, dance how they want. Feminism is the right to choose.Â Choose to work, choose to stay home, choose to have kids, choose not to. Your body is yours alone.
Feminism is challenging heteronormativity and heteronormative language.Why do we assume that everyone is straight and that any other sexual preference is considered abnormal? What IS normal? Who decided that long hair for women and short hair for men was “normal”? What does “feminine” mean? Does the fact the someone has a uterus and breasts give them an advantage or an inclination to perform fine motor functions like sewing or cooking? Or male genitalia indicate a vantage point for earning income in a sedentary world? Why say spokesman when you could easily say spokesperson?
If this is a lot of information to take in, don’t worry. It took me 4 years to really spread my fem wings. If you have any questions or would like to raise a point in debate (please no derogatory language), I happily invite you to ask questions below in the comments or to email me directly.
- If you don’t know any of the terms I have used in this post such as transgender, cis-gender, etc, please visit Revel and Riot for some easy and accessible definitions.
- For more information about feminism, have a look at Feminism 101 to start.
- To read more awesome fem blogs and articles, my awesome fem friends recommendedÂ xoJane, Shameless (specifically written for youth), and Feministe
Remember that not all feminists have the same ideals. Some prioritize certain issues differently, but in all cases, feminists simply want people to live without experiencing oppression. Anyone can be a feminist: cisgendered men and women, trans-identified men and women, or anyone in between (or outside) those binary identities.
Now that I’ve covered Feminism, now let’s talk FRITTERS.
These vegan lentil fritters are crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Made with split red lentils, these are naturally gluten-free (provided that they’re not processed in a facility that also processes gluten products), low in fat, high in protein, fibre, iron, and potassium. Lentils are basically every vegan’s best friend.
These crispy vegan lentil fritters were first introduced to me at an event where I met Chef Michael Smith (aka the Lentil Hunter). Chef Michael Smith is a famous Canadian chef on the Food Network who has shows about cooking at home, easy cooking with great flavours, and just great for learning about how to make food in general.
When I met him, he was super TALL, very friendly about taking photos with us horrible fangirls, talking about food and being just an all round hilariously adorable guy who geeks out over food. He went to Dubai hunting for lentils, which by the way is one of Canada’s most exported foods because apparently Canada is the king of lentil farming. When he was in Dubai, he met with a chef who made these amazing lentil fritters that are basically just lentils and water, blended and fried.
So obviously I can’t take credit for this recipe, it’s adapted from the one used at the event and was given to me in a media package from Canadian Lentils. BUT you can totally play around with the flavours. Add some curry powder, paprika, harissa, soy sauce, tamari, WHATEVER your tastebuds want to mix up the recipe and flavours. I would love to see what you come up with.
Feminism and Fritters (Vegan Crispy Lentil Fritters)
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 cup split red lentils, picked through for stones and rinsed
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup chopped onion)
- 8-10 sprigs chives, finely chopped (about 3 tbsp chopped chives)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Oil for frying
- 1/4 cup vegan mayo
- 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
- Soak the rinsed split red lentils and water together for 1 hour. Transfer soaked red lentils, onions, chives, salt and pepper into a food processor and process until smooth. It may seem a little watery but don't worry, it'll fry up beautifully.
- Preheat oil to 375F. Gently drop scant tablespoonfuls of the lentil batter into the oil ( (I use a second spoon to gently push the batter so it doesn't splatter). Fry 3-4 spoonfuls at a time turning occasionally until golden. Remove from oil and let drain on a paper-towel-lined platter.
- To serve, whisk together mayo and chipotle and serve the fritters fresh with the sauce. Enjoy!
Well, that’s all folks. Thanks for reading JSA! I hope back to be on my 2 post per week rhythm starting this week.
Hi! My sister, Hayley (thedomesticrebel.com), told me that she met you at BlogHer and also said you posted a “feminist rant”.
As a feminist myself, I think you definitely got all of the major points of feminism!
I’m commenting to 1. applaud you (yay more feminists!) and 2. tell you about a new, cool website that I found through other feminists.
It’s aimed towards women, but could apply to anyone, really. It’s called kitestring.io and you put in your information. When and if you’re in a sketchy situation, you click “embark” and it’ll ask you how you’re doing every now and then. If you don’t reply within 5 minutes, it’ll notify your emergency contacts! (I swear I don’t work for them, haha). BUT I think it’s an awesome resource for now since no one can walk down the street feeling safe anymore.
Anyways, I appreciate you spreading the word about feminism in a beautiful and eloquent way.
Lisa Le says
Yay moar feminists!! Thank you for reading and kitestring sounds really great. I’ll definitely look into that =)
Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent says
A friend introduced me to the feminist movement, as well. It really opened my eyes to how patriarchal our society is and how women and minorities continue to be oppressed. As the iconic Gloria Steinem once said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” It’s frustrating when I read about female celebrities who say they aren’t feminists. My all-time favorite feminist graphic sums up the definition perfectly, in my opinion:
I love anything and everything fritter (I just wish the frying didn’t stink up my house). Your pictures are making my mouth water!
Lisa, as a middle aged feminist who was raised by a feminist mother, it gives me such joy to see the baton being taken up by young women like you. Great post!
And those fritters look awesome!
Christine from Cook the Story says
Awesome post and beautiful fritters!
Abby @ The Frosted Vegan says
Awesome post and writing, it makes me want to yell ‘You go girl!!’ : )
I think it’s awesome that more food bloggers also use that avenue to express their concerns and opinions (I do the same. heehee), so, good job for bringing awareness to this specific issue. And those fritters sound so delicious, I must try making them soon! Yum!
You were one of these lucky ladies who got to meet him, that’s pretty cool!
Holly Waterfall says
Thank you for putting your fem thoughts out into the world. I wish there were more people (both men and women) who thought this way.
One of the most annoying things I hear is when people tell me I’m too pretty to be a lesbian. WTF does that mean?! ummm, thank you?? People don’t realize that there is no right or wrong way to look. There shouldn’t be a norm. There shouldn’t be mold for us all. We all have the wonderful freedom to look as we please, love who we please, and think as we please.
rock on sister!
(oh, and these fritters sound amazing, and I need to make them!)
Lisa Le says
Wow I can’t believe people actually say that to you. Thanks for reading Holly, and yes. This fritters rock. Make em, eat em, and have a happy belly.
Hey, I love your blog! And red lentils are one of my favorite legumes, hands down. Looks like a good recipe.
I know what you mean about being embarrassed with yourself four years ago…I used to view being a feminist in a negative way, since I, like so many others, didn’t know what it really meant. Now I feel like feminism is just so important, especially with regards to equality for trans-women, queer women, and women of color. I feel honored to be able to identify as a feminist now, although I often wish I could do more. You know, sometimes I just feel like there’s so much that needs to be done and that I can’t make a real difference…but even the “little,” everyday things count, like being able to inform a friend about feminism, or discussing problematic societal assumptions with people.
Lisa Le says
Sorry I didn’t respond to this sooner Kayla. Thanks for reading, and I’m so glad that we’ve both figured out why feminism is awesome. Just you being personally supportive of equal rights for all trans, queer, and folk of colour is a great contribution =)
Katie @ Produce on Parade says
Loved this post on spreading the word about feminism. We should all be feminists! Every man and woman! Also, these fritters….*drool*
When I first saw the title of this post, I was like, how is she going to combine feminism and fritters? But it was totally like having dinner while discussing feminism. Which is awesome.
Dafuq does being a feminist have to do with a stolen fritter recipe?
Lisa Le says
LOL. They don’t have anything to do with each other I guess. But most of the time, what I talk about in my posts don’t always connect to the recipes.
I just found your blog via Pinterest and the title of this post totally caught my eye, because there are few things I love more than feminism and fritters!
I love the way you talk about feminism and especially identifying it as fourth-wave feminism. I think it’s really important that people understand that feminism has gone through many different incarnations which have all focused on a variety of issues (or not), so yay for intersectional ideas! The only thing I wanted to point out is your use of “transgendered.” I’ve learned through my trans friends that the preferred adjective is “transgender” as adding the -ed at the end makes it sound as if it’s something that’s happened to them rather than a descriptor of who they are.
Just wanted to let you know! I look forward to making my way through many more of your posts and recipes :)
Lisa Le says
Hi Teresa! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Thank you for pointing that out, I’ve changed it in the post. That totally makes sense and I will keep that in mind from now on =)
Was scrolling through recipes on Pinterest and found something I didn’t expect to see- a lovely explanation of feminism and especially the way it’s viewed by people who have a very narrow view of what a “feminist” is. Thanks so much for your well-written words. You hit the nail on the head. Keep fighting the good fight!
Lisa Le says
Hi Sarah! I’m so glad you left a comment, it’s so great to hear that you’ve flexed your fem guns by standing up against sexism and bullying. I applaud your awesomeness. I do know a few Viet dishes, and actually if you look under my recipe index, there’s a section specifically for Viet recipes =) I’ll be rebranding in the new year as The Viet Vegan and will be incorporating more Viet dishes then too =)
This is great, and absolutely made my day today. I am so excited to read this and see how a transformation can take place in one person’s worldview. I am so glad that you were willing to grow and change!
Feminism at its core, for me at least, is about dignity, respect, and love for all people (and animals!) regardless of their sex, sexuality, or gender identity..
Feminism is not a dirty word, but it carries with it a lot of baggage. Keep waving your feminist flag, and we can eventually change people’s perceptions. :)
Lisa Le says
Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to respond, Johanna! I think the world would be such a better place if people opened their minds to growth. One day everyone will be feminist and we won’t have to label it, it’ll just be that people are good people with synonymous values for basic human rights haha.
I’m so glad I found your recipe on Pinterest! I made these today for a snack during a binge watching and junk food day. They were so easy to make! We loved them!
Lisa Le says
Sounds like a pretty rad day =) Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!
Why onions in everything? Onions are toxic to a lot of people. Would they be good without?
Lisa Le says
I use onions in pretty much every savoury recipe here because that’s just how I like to cook. You could take them out but onions add a natural and savoury sweetness to it, so maybe compensate with other herbs and a little extra salt perhaps?
Bridgette Tennent says
I am really glad I found this post. I believe every woman is a feminist. Even if she doesn’t realize it. I try my best to embrace feminism however I have always found it hard to speak up when I find myself socializing with a group of men and sexist comments come up that make me feel uncomfortable, put down,and disrespected. I do speak up don’t get me wrong but whenever it’s a group and I speak up I’m met with the “okay take it easy there lady” comments and “don’t get your panties in a twist”. Does anyone have any advice on how to approach that situation?
Sarah Vaci says
Bloody amazing recipe
Hi, I have a question about your recipe. Do you use the water you soaked the lentils in in the fritter batter or drain the lentils and throw the water after soaking?
Lisa Le says
Yes use the water and soaked lentils!