The best way to win hearts & minds is through the stomach
In this episode we explore the power of food and how it enables us to understand ourselves and others better.
Our special guests in this podcast are renowned chefs from different parts of the world, Sara Leana Ahmad (@addalittlelemon) from LA, California, and Philip Juma (@JumaKitchen), London, England, who both share their personal and professional journey through food. [listen below]
Culinary diplomacy is traditionally seen as an extension to the field of Public Diplomacy, a form of communications with foreign publics to establish dialogue and influence. However, this has now become more and more accessible by everyday people, such as you and I, as a tool to educate others about our identity simply through documenting and sharing the foods of our cuisines.
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The power food has on our perception of other cultures is greater than we might realise, as food is directly linked to our physiological, emotional and overall well being. It is also associated with our moods and activities, as well as our family life and our social circles. Do you ever notice the perceptions we have on the people certain foods or dishes originate from? This is particularly noticeable in foods that bear the country of origin to its name – Think Greek yogurt or Moroccan Couscous. We bring these foods into our home, and in a sense, taking a slice of that country or culture home with us and allowing us to create a bond, or an emotional connection, with that culture or the people of that culture – whether consciously or subconsciously.
Ultimately, food consumption can effect the way we see or understand ‘others’ from different nations, bringing them a little close to home. And from a macroeconomic perspective, this influences our travel choices, foreign investments, and politics. However, the issue of cultural appropriation is also a growing, profitable trend.
“Food is about memory and identity. Claiming ownership over a food is a way to assert a nation’s narrative…”
The exploitation of a people’s cuisine or culture denies their cultural significance and this is something we often unknowingly support by not consciously considering the foods we consume and its cultural origins. What both Sara and Philip do through their respective initiatives, as discussed in the podcast, is assert their own personal and cultural identity to both educate others and provide an alternative narrative to their places of origin.
Listen now & let us know your thoughts below.
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