Today is both National Grilled Cheese Day (I guess I capitalize that?) and Equal Pay Day.
One side of the day—safe to call it the party side—recognizes all that is holy in the culinary meetings of crispy, seared bread and creamy, plant-based cheese (obviously, we only consider vegan cheeses to be consumable by us humans; the rest if a cruel, commercialized by-prodcut of milk literally only produced for the babies of cows, goats, et cetera). Our contribution to that side of the day and our tastebuds—a Caprese-style grilled cheese using grilled Kenter Canyon red fife bread, farmers market tomato + basil, and vegan coconut-cashew mozzarella from Miyoko’s Creamery, up the coast.
The other side of the day—the serious documentary side, let’s say—is meant to recognize the massive, pervasive, longstanding gap in wages for men and women. As is pretty common knowledge at this point, un the US, women typically earn $0.79 for every dollar men earn. Still. To this day. See the image below, created by the White House.
The reason Equal Pay Day is today is because April 12 marks the day that said typical woman catches up to the earnings said typical man earned in all of last year. That’s straight-up depressing. More depressing? That gap’s even larger when said woman is not white. Again, graphic courtesy of the White House (click if it’s too tiny for you).
What are we doing about it? Well, for one, there are a ton of acts and laws, like the Lilly Ledbetter Act—the first piece of legislation signed into law as president in 2009—which essentially makes it easier for women to bring legal challenges to unequal pay. But that’s been law for over 7 years, and we’re still at roughly the same place. We can sign acts and pass laws and we should continue to do that, but almost as important is the act of keeping the lines of dialogue open on this; reminding all of this that this problem continues to exist and has broader implications and causes than those missing $0.21 can really speak to.
Thus the importance of having a day like National Grilled Cheese Day. Sorry. Equally Pay Day. So very similar, it’s hard to keep track.