Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Food versus War

Last March, I was in Pittsburgh for a reading at the wonderful Gist Street Reading Series. I found Pittsburgh to be an interesting, rich, and wonderful place. And now, more news of Pittsburgh and its wonderfulness. I heard about this on the radio tonight, and had to report it here. Borrowing both the photo (above) and the text from their blog (below; all borrowed out of admiration and respect), I present you with this:
  Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries that the United States is in conflict with. The food is served out of a take-out style storefront, which will rotate identities every 4 months to highlight another country.  Each Conflict Kitchen iteration will be augmented by events, performances, and discussion about the culture, politics, and issues at stake with each country we focus on.
Kubideh Kitchen [the current iteration] is an Iranian take-out restaurant that serves kubideh in freshly baked barbari bread with onion, mint, and basil. Developed in collaboration with members of the Pittsburgh Iranian community, the sandwich is packaged in a custom-designed wrapper that includes interviews with Iranians both in Pittsburgh and Iran on subjects ranging from Iranian food and poetry to the current political turmoil.
Brilliant, yes? I do think that food is a welcoming and potentially persuasive way to enter into the world of another--even of a feared or hated Other. A way of breaking down barriers. A way of differentiating the people from the government/politics. A way of recognizing humanity. 

How about a bowl of chicken soup with matzoh balls? Which I mention only because it is a warm and welcoming (and, some think, curative) food. Also because it's associated with Jews, and a lot of people have problems with Jews.


Jim Poznak said...

It's ridiculous that our country is in conflict with any other county, and we have been for almost my whole life (57 years). It's also ridiculous that our country is in conflict with so many other countries at the same time that the cuisine of those countries can form the basis for a restaurant business. But, on the other hand, it's wonderful that enough of the people from those countries live here and can inform us about their cuisine.

Susan Messer said...

We can't lose hope, though. These kinds of imaginative ways of connecting and building understanding (in this case, through the taste buds) do give some hope.

rasirds@cox.net said...

Chicken soup -It wouldn't hurt.

Susan Messer said...

Agreed. I don't think it would hurt.

About Me said...

If we all sat down and ate together, perhaps we would not have wars. Peace through food. Interesting idea.

Susan Messer said...

Yeah. We can hope. I love the idea, too. But then I was thinking about all the fights that start (or can start) at the family Thanksgiving dinner if someone strays into politics or religion or some such controversial topics. So there's got to be more to it than food. Tolerance and the ability to listen to viewpoints that differ from our own and rile us up. I did write about that in an earlier post. Thanks for stopping by.