Friday, July 09, 2010

Conflict Kitchen on NPR

I admit to still not catching the food from Conflict Kitchen yet even though I live pretty close by. Once one gets past the increasingly lame is it art questions and takes it as mostly a new opportunity to experience new foods and perhaps cultures on a different level it's great.

You see, Conflict Kitchen only serves food from countries we currently are in some type of conflict with--although often short of outright war and it's a product to a large extent of CMU's Art and Design departments.

Listen to
NPR's story on Conflict Kitchen

"In a few months, the grant-funded restaurant will switch countries — and cuisines. In September, it will serve food from Afghanistan. After that, maybe Venezuela or North Korea.

"You know what, it's delicious," says Joni Perri, a Kitchen regular who works nearby. "Every bite full, delightful. And it's just smashing that stereotypical myth that just because there is conflict in those countries ... I don't let it stop me from buying good food."

Weleski says what most people know about the featured countries is through the media. To prompt the discussion, she will host events such as live webcam meals with diners in Tehran."

Also read, the great post about it on Reimagine an Urban Paradise where she advocates a violent conflict with somebody with great vegetarian food. (not)

Sadly, a huge amount of historic cultural exchange has come through war as surviving soldiers bring back wounds; internal scars; memories of lost friends and sometimes fond affection for the great food "over there."

Apparently it worked that way in Iraq.

"Minutes after the place opened, Travis Post, a Marine captain from Oklahoma who had been stationed in Iraq for seven months, pulled up in his car. "So you've really got shawarma back there?" Mr. Post asked, referring to the spicy grilled meat sandwich popular throughout the Middle East.

"You want one?" asked Ms. Hazime's husband, Crisantos Hajibrahim, who was working the cash register.

"Heck, yeah!" Mr. Post responded. While training Iraqi police, he had shared meals with locals daily. "There was a lot of lamb in my life," he says."

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