About

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I’m a queer feminist food blogger who lived in Japan and now lives in the Pacific Northwest. I post recipes and social commentary on food and gender. I like baking nerdy birthday cakes.

My pronouns: I’m giving ze/zirs/zir a spin at the moment (they/their/them is okay, too). Robin, sometimes referred to as C, is my partner and uses they/their/them. (If you see pronoun/gender inconsistencies on the blog, I’ve discovered a lot about myself since starting this blog in 2011, and my life is so much better for it.)

A Food Journey

When I was in grad school, I used to go to the grocery store and buy a week of dinners: Garden burgers, canned soup, frozen pizza, pre-made pasta; though I could turn out homemade cakes like a champ during finals thanks to stress-cooking. After my M.A., I moved to Japan as a JET CIR and quite suddenly found myself in deep trouble: six years of formal Japanese study had not prepared me for the rural grocery store or the lack of familiar foods to make at home; to add insult to injury, I was also without my Crockpot and my full-sized oven. Did I mention I had no idea how to cook for one?

I could have gone to the family restaurant in town every night, but I decided that I was going to learn how to feed myself. When I started this blog in Feb. 2011, I had stopped saying “but you can’t buy that in Japan!” and starting trying to learn how to cook. One night over Vietnamese food in Nagano, as I sat poking a lotus root in coconut sauce trying to figure out its alchemy aloud so I could recreate it in my own kitchen, my friend looked me in the eye and said, “The conclusion to all your stories is ‘Then I’ll MAKE IT MYSELF.'” Thus, this blog was born.

Because I quite literally moved out of my food comfort zone, I developed a profound curiosity for how food worked. Because of my job, I learned how to cook tortillas and pita bread and met some incredibly creative foodies through international cooking lessons. Now, years after I stepped off that plane, I cook (almost) entirely from scratch.

My Tenets

I’ll make it myself!

Almost all the recipes on this blog are made from scratch, usually with whole grains and fresh vegetables. Oh, and a ton of dessert.

Mostly vegetarian.

I mostly cook and eat vegetarian food, but I do eat meat, especially fish. Most of the recipes I post are vegetarian and/or vegan (or vegan-izable). I eat less meat because I am concerned about my health and the environment but also because I just really love vegetables–and hate sterilizing the sink after handling raw meat.

I do not believe in gender-policing food.

On my very first day of university, one of my professors stated, “Everything is about gender.” It’s true. The more I get involved in the food-blogging community and the food world, the more I get exasperated with people who uphold ridiculous gender norms about who eats what and who cooks. Can we please stop thinking of certain foods and drinks as “girly,” of “girly foods” as lesser foods, of herbivore men and carnivore women, of cooking as a cishet-white-middle-class wife-and-mother hobby or obligation?

While I doubt that anyone sits down to write about food and thinks, “How can I oppress people today?,” gendering food is much more subtle, often subconscious, and so pervasive that most people probably don’t even know they’re in, to use Tatsuya Ishida’s metaphor, the Gender Matrix–and, to continue the metaphor, a lot of people would rather just continue ignore the issue of gender than confront it.

That’s why I’m here! In addition to being a foodie, I’m a bisexual genderqueer geek with an academic background in analyzing gender in marketing, visual media, and pop culture. I promise to bring you delicious food without conflating gender roles with its consumption/production: no talk of “pleasing your man,” “sinful chocolate,” “meat-and-potatoes,” or “real women,” because food is for all people. In addition, I sometimes take a break from recipes and reviews to analyze food media regarding gender.

If you’re new to gender studies, have no fear! You’re welcome to comment with any questions, whether you’re new to cooking from scratch or new to gender issues, and I will try to answer them and/or point you to helpful resources.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Contact Me

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. genkiduck says:

    Thank you for your blog, I always enjoy it. Here is a shiny new Liebster Blog Award just for you. (^o^)

    http://thejwsdojapan.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/an-award-for-me-oooh-shiny/

    1. Leah says:

      Thank you! :3 I’m working on the post/questions for it now, but man, I am bad at picking a favorite food!

      1. genkiduck says:

        Haha, and I thought that was the easiest question. Good luck, I’m looking forward to reading your answers! :D

  2. Caitlin says:

    Hi! Long-time reader, first-time commenting…
    I was going through my old planners and in one from 2013, I found your blog URL written down so I could RSS it later (I did).
    I lived in Kanazawa in 2010, so I always enjoyed reading about it from your perspective later on. I live in Sendai as a JET ALT now, and I’m moving back to Australia this August.
    Just one of those weird things, realizing just how long I’ve been reading your blog and how I relied on it as one of many pillars of support (obviously cooking as an expat but also… feminism in food, identity, navigating big life changes, thinking about 帰国ing).

    So…. thank you! For your blog!
    Thank you, again!

    1. LM says:

      Hi, Caitlin,
      Thank you so much for the comment! I can’t believe I’ll Make It Myself! is coming up on its 5th anniversary. It makes me really happy to know that not just my recipes but also my writing about personal stuff, feminism, and identity was helpful to someone else.

      Thank you for reading for all these years, and I wish you the best of luck with your post-JET journey! :)

  3. Ashlegih says:

    Your blog is an absolute saving grace.

    I’m a Gifu JET ALT from Seattle living in the inaka, and trying to make foods from home without an oven or good-sized kitchen was draining my soul. I was missing hummus wraps something fierce when I found your tortilla recipe a few days ago.

    And wow. I’m so happy.

    You even posted about the Seattle gingerbread houses! I used to go every year.

    So I wanted to say thank you. Thanks for making inaka-friendly recipes and easy Japanese food words guides for illiterates like me. I love your blog.

    1. LM says:

      Hi, Ashleigh,
      Thank you so much! My initial goal with the blog was to do just that, and I’m so happy it’s been helpful to you. :D I might have even choked up a little bit when I was trying to read your comment to my partner just now.

      Also: your comment was also a good reminder to update my Japan-Friendly Recipes page and try to fix my menu options, so thank *you* for that!

      Thanks again, and happy cooking!

  4. Madeleine Bui says:

    Hi! I’m struggling to find your contact me page ):
    Any chance you could direct me to one or perhaps drop me an email? Your self-profession that you’re a “feminist food blogger” is super interesting and if you’re up for it, I’d like to perhaps talk about it with you. I’m writing my dissertation on food blogging communities and I feel like you’d have a really interesting and relevant perspective for my research aims.

    1. LM says:

      Sure! It’s illmakeitmyself at gmail dot com. :)

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