Talking about food entails sharing stories of the thousands of relations that food generates, relations with distant countries, with new homes, and with people encountered along the way.
Based on the globally recognized method of the Human Library and on the experience of the Slow Food migrant communities in Italy, “Food tales” initiatives with migrant communities were organized in Italy and Sweden. The growing number of refugees and immigrants in European countries makes it necessary to launch activities that help to create a climate of trust based on mutual understanding that allows people of all backgrounds to appreciate each other’s cultures, histories, and traditions.
Sitting face to face, migrants and other citizens have the chance to talk about their culinary traditions and life experiences without barriers. By addressing the issues of migration, identity, and multiculturalism, this unique meeting will promote a greater understanding of diversity and social cohesion.
Lina is a civil engineer that came to Sweden from Syria five years ago. There she worked at the Aleppo Universitet. She is currently project manager at Invitationsdepartementet. This is a non-profit organization that offers opportunities for people who are old and new to this country to meet over a home cooked meal.
As Igor explains in the kitchen of his home restaurant, opened thanks to the "Recipes of Dialog" project, the cuisine of the Rom can be defined as traveling. The expression of a nomadic people, these culinary traditions were first formed along the roads of India, then the Middle East, and lastly Europe, evolving and enriching themselves along the way. Their essence is hard to define, as they have been influenced by so many different cuisines, and this is the message that Igor wants to pass on through his restaurant business. His cooking, which he wants to use to break down deep-seated prejudices, reflects a journey of a thousand years and the flavors, colors, scents and skills that distinguish the Rom culture.
Cooking is a passion for Essediya, originally from El Jadida, a city in the Casablanca-Settat region that used to be known as Mazagan. Mazagan is also the name chosen by Essediya for her restaurant which she opened. Essediya's love for food comes from her time in the kitchen with her mother, an excellent cook, when she was a little girl. Her cooking has been evolving ever since, especially after her move to Turin, opening itself up to new and changing flavors.
Erica Reisman is an American with a Bachelors in Applied Math-Economics and a Masters in Agroecology. For her master's thesis, she studied the consumer perspective in Community Supported Agriculture. Her passion is to bridge her interests in business, logistics, and small-scale, sustainable production in order to strengthen local food systems. She currently is interning with pool.farm, a startup that organizes direct-to-consumer group orders from local and small-scale producers.
Dulce Chan Cab (Chan Cab means "little honey" in Mayan) was born and grew up in a rural Yucatán village, Sucilá, where respect for traditions and nature were important. Her indigenous Mayan roots gave Dulce the idea of creating a food garden together with a group of friends, a space for discovering the history and provenance of the typical products of Mexican and pre-Colombian cuisine. Food is of great importance to Dulce. "Everything starts from food in order to arrive at other worlds," is how she talks about the gastronomic cross-fertilizations that she experiments with in the kitchen, preparing family recipes using produce from the garden. The Milpa Orto Collettivo is also the name of her home restaurant.
Erika Rodriguez and Billy Huaman are a young Peruvian couple who came to Italy 18 and 11 years ago respectively and now live in Barge, in the province of Cuneo. Billy and Erika have opened a restaurant business in their own home, which apart from serving good food has an added intercultural value. Long passionate about food and gastronomic cross-fertilizations, they also make a raw cow's milk cheese inspired by Andean traditions, named Yauyos after a Peruvian province.
Many other Peruvian women have followed similar journeys to Ana's, brought to Italy by the high demand for care workers. Over the years, the Peruvian community has stabilized and many people, men and women, have started their own businesses. Ana always wanted to open a restaurant, and now at last she has been able to.