In Conversation—Carmel Mikol at EnVie
The frivolity of running a breakfast blog given our current state of affairs is not lost on me.
In fact, it's something that weighs on me quite heavily. And while you probably don't come here for politics—in fact, maybe this is an escape from the rest of the news in your feed—it's important to acknowledge there are bigger things happening beyond just what and where to eat breakfast.
I recently sat down over breakfast to talk about the world with the lovely and talented Carmel Mikol.
An award winning singer-song writer, Carmel is a writer, an observer of the world, a student, and all-around amazing lady. She's also half-American.
Her choice of restaurant was EnVie. The following is a little snapshot of our conversation.
D: So you're a woman. Who is also part American. How do you feel about everything that's happening right now?
CM: I feel guilty about being part American right now. To be clear, I am first and foremost a Canadian. I was born and raised in Canada and I think like a Canadian. But I also lived in the States for 10 years during a really formative time in my life. I also don't really take my American citizenship seriously. I didn't vote in the US election—I vote in Canada—because I feel weird about voting in a place I don't live.
I feel guilty because a lot of people are like "Well, you're American. Why didn't you do something?" But it's not like Trump won by the popular vote. My one vote wouldn't have really done much to change things.
D: Let's talk for a second about the women's march. We went to the one in Halifax, what did you think about that?
CM: I think it was great that the women's march in Washington happened. I think it was a very powerful and important statement. And I think it's amazing that women all over the world did it in solidarity. But I didn't feel personally moved by it. I find there's a lot of things you have to do and say to be inclusive and as a result you lose a bit of the fire. That's not to say there aren't other issues—there's a million other things we should be taking about—but it would be nice if we could stick to one clear message. And at the end of it, I walked away with nothing to do.
I heard a really interesting piece on the Current recently. It was about how people want political action to be exciting and dramatic and sexy, but real political action takes place at the PTA and in town halls, and by calling your senator and non-fancy things you can't really Instagram about. But you do it every day,
D: The grunt work.
CM: Yeah. That's what democracy is really supposed to be about. If you don't jump on the bandwagon and protest things then people think you don't care. But if you really start asking "where is the valuable place to put my energy" then it becomes a little more complicated.
D: You're in school right now. What's it like to be in an environment that encourages critical thinking and fosters discussion? It must be cathartic and also overwhelming to be able to discuss a lot of what's happening from an academic standpoint.
CM: What's interesting about it is there's basically nothing you can read from any era in literature that doesn't apply to right now. Because most literature is formed around the tension—class struggles, political conflict, or something. It's what is required for every great piece of literature to happen.
D: As a writer, what do you feel your role is now?
CM: I think it was Emerson who talks about writers being people who do this unhonoured work of observing. I've always thought of that as a really key thing. As a writer, you observe, you filter through yourself and you write it down. And then whatever the world makes of it is out of your control. And not everyone can do that. But it's really important that we write stuff down either to remember later or to protest or to just say, "I'm here and I've had this experience" and for somebody else to read it and say "I've had that too".
D: So I have to ask, how was your breakfast?
CM: I had the skillet bowl which was a tofu scramble with some greens, roasted potatoes, some guacamole on the side. It was good! I found the tofu scramble a bit salty for my taste. But the roasted potatoes—I could have eaten them all day. They're super delicious. Crispy on the outside and then really yummy on the inside. I really like turmeric and there was a lot of turmeric in the tofu scramble. Nice thing for a Sunday morning a little anti-inflammatory to start your week off!
I had the Dirty Hash. Mostly because I wanted to say the words "Dirty Hash" and receive food in return. But I also found it a bit salty. And while I do love my some vegan food, I couldn't help but think how much better the whole thing would have been with a nice soft poached egg on top.
Overall verdict? Conversation was a 10/10. Food was a 7/10. I'd definitely go back.