Gastrodiplomacy: Sharing American Food With The World

Often times, it’s people that bring food to different places. But once in a while, food can take a person around the whole world.

JJ Harder’s journey to becoming a gourmand, as well as a diplomat, was not always clear-cut. He recalls growing up eating frozen foods in Omaha, Nebraska. College taught him how to cook, since living with a bunch of guys entailed a not-so healthy diet. After returning from the Peace Corps in Bolivia, and being introduced new foods while there, he was craving something more. He took it upon himself to visit every single restaurant in Lincoln, Nebraska, which ultimately led him to become a food critic for the local newspaper. read more

Homeland Harvests: Growing Vegetables With Memories

Come autumn, my mother starts acting like her seventy-something year-old self – that is, grouchy, itchy, and nostalgic. The season has always been an anomaly to her tropical body and soul. What was up with the brightly colored leaves? Taunting her with their false heat of oranges and reds while the air was brisk on her white sari. She never liked autumn, not one bit. But that’s mostly because the arrival of autumn meant one thing – the waning of her beloved garden. It was where my mother preserved the many tastes, textures, and smells of our homeland. read more

Parkdale Food Centre: Empowering Future Generations through Food

Nestled in an Ottawan community center, Parkdale Food Centre is innovating the way food banks develop programming. Instead of food distributions, young participants have multiple ways to address food insecurity and financial instability by building a sturdy foundation in financial literacy and entrepreneurship through the food industry. read more

Sho Dreams of Japan – The Journey of a Culinary Ambassador

Sho Aoyama gained success as a Chinese-born Japanese chemical engineer. Yet, after years of multinational assignments he knew he needed a change. Thinking turned to action after witnessing the terror surrounding the 2016 Paris attacks. Sho was  then inspired to found the WASHO Cooking Classes in his hometown of Osaka, Japan. He saw his opportunity to finally settle down and have the world come to him. read more

The Gifts of a Recipe

“I have a recipe for you,” Grandpa announced. I was finishing up college, but it was Christmas break and I’d traveled with my father to his hometown in rural Arkansas. Grandpa waved a scrap of paper in the air encouragingly, so I opened my journal and copied it down: read more

Sephardic Cuisine: Passover on the Bosporus

The story of how a South-Asian American Muslim foodie, a Jewish Latino Literature professor, and an Irish-Catholic physicist, amongst several other hyphenated attendees, gathered for Passover Seder may seem farfetched at first thought. But then again, we’re talking about Byzantium… I mean, Constantinop – ermm, Istanbul! In the king of all crossroads cities, at the terminus of the Silk Road itself- where seekers and nomads were already roaming rife for millennia, it’s not too hard to imagine such a gathering. Many came searching for trade, some came for refuge, while a few others still come to the city for things all-too ethereal for words. At times, they came together – the silk merchant with the pilgrim, the janissary with refugees – partaking in each other’s journeys to the city. I was no different. read more

Food Sovereignty: Sustaining Cultural Identity and Self-reliance

By: Rachael Novak

If you’ve ever been to a powwow, chances are the unmistakable scent of warm fry bread and the temptation to try a “Native American food” lured you to one of the food vendors. It’s far less likely, however, that you learned much about the complex history of this powwow staple, now beloved by so many across Native America and beyond. While fry bread is undeniably delicious, it has contributed to high rates of obesity and diabetes in American Indian communities. In fact, the Federal government has distributed many processed foods that are high in calories and unhealthy fats and low in nutritional value throughout the various waves of physical and cultural displacement of Native peoples over the last 150 years. In particular, the forced movement onto reservations restricted access and connection to the land and food sources that had sustained Native Americans for time immemorial. A century and a half of historical trauma and federal policy has contributed to the prevalence of modern-day “food deserts” in too many Native American communities, equating to a dearth of access to healthy and high quality foods. read more

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