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СМГО «Центр європейських ініціатив»

29.07.15 16:04

SAY: Cultural Cuisine by our volunteer Roos Klaver


Until the end of August every Thursday our office becomes a kitchen, where young people from Sumy have the chance to be guided by our new volunteer, Roos Klaver from the Netherlands, into the preparation of tasty dishes from various European Countries. We’ve cooked spicy delicious cookies “peppernoten” (the Netherlands), traditional potatoes and cheese dish “graten” (France), hot-hot curry and rice (The UK) and many other mouthwatering meals – every time accompanied by an interesting story about traditions of the dish and the country.

The main purpose of these series of workshops is to aggregate local youth in some interesting activities, to get them acquainted with something “far” but at same time possible to reproduce near home. Cultural Cuisine is the rebirth of last year’s project SAY: Sumy Active Youth, initiated by another Dutch volunteer Jara Snippe.

Food acts as an instrument of re-appropriation of identity when there are no other connections with our homeland thus becoming an important bridge towards roots, places and traditions during migratory periods. One of the best way to create a sort of “alterity” among all the social classes, instead of consumism which has been trying for ages to destroy the “slow” and healthy process of preparing food.

Even though Roos joined CEI one month after the official ending of the Food Bank Project, (almost) the same initiative is going to be repeated in some restaurants and cafés in Sumy, in order to share curious whether traditional receipts with all the locals interested in “cultural cuisine” (культурная кухня).

So we hope to see more people possible to these events where sometimes guests are invited as “masters” – with whom it is possible to drink a good glass of wine in the end of the session.

Food can be considered as a cultural element. This statement is proven by the fact that even being omnivorous, human being doesn’t feel comfortable to eat the same food his peer eats in a different country. The predilection towards some kind of food and the refuse for others, even if potentially eatable, has a cultural origin indeed.

It is a common practice to attribute certain dishes to their related cultures, and a common practice too is to create stereotypes around these old culinary “traditions”. “We are what we eat”, recites an old motto that strictly marks people, cultures, society, paying basically attention to the different directions taken by alimentation.

Riccardo Bravi