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.