Hello, and welcome to our intercultural and global world food blog! This column of the ‘Intercultural Communicator’ aims to offer insights from contributors of different backgrounds around the world and across the disciplines into how food can play a role in fostering intercultural competence through the sharing of ‘food stories.’
It has been an interesting year for us all and we have all had to deal with changes in many aspects of our lives. Whilst we may not have been or will not be able to celebrate important holidays with our families and wider communities as much as we usually do, food that is traditional for our holidays can give us a great sense of comfort. Whatever holiday it is that we are celebrating, food tends to be an important aspect of it.
For myself, I love trying new foods and engaging in a dialogue around how food is made, its origin and why it is called a certain name as I find it often opens up a much wider cultural discussion that does not merely focus on the food itself. Nevertheless, I found that around holiday times I used to be a little less open towards trying new things and wanted to stick to traditions that I knew and was comfortable with. However, living in a multicultural household, it is important to be open and to embrace different traditions. I did not want to push my traditions at the expense of the rest of my family’s traditions. Over the years, I have learned to love embracing different holiday traditions and making new traditions as a family.
This year our holiday will be very different as I will be celebrating with a much smaller circle of people. I am looking forward to having the comfort of some traditional food but, as this year will be like no other, I have also challenged myself to try something completely new.
Indeed! It’s been an unusual year for everyone around the globe regardless of geographical location, socioeconomic background and religion- the pandemic has touched all of our lives, making us aware of just how much we take for granted. As we approach the festive period for many, we will reminisce over those special family get-togethers of previous years that revolved around good wholesome food and better company—so many food-related joyful memories! So, needless to say, this year the festive period has somewhat evolved; whether you celebrated Eid or Diwaali or will be celebrating Christmas shortly, it will be different.
I agree, festivities hold so many rich memories (good, bad, ugly) but there’s something about the food, the taste, aroma, texture that is very special and provides a ‘window’ into another world, culture. So, when it comes to changing things up a bit during the holidays, it can be tricky and challenging to open our minds and indeed hearts to perhaps trying something ‘new’ and uncertain. For me, growing up with feet straddling two cultures, it’s always been interesting to see how food becomes quite a central point of cultural exchange and convergence, especially when festivities are mentioned!
However, this festive period we challenge you to try something new this year, step out of your comfort zone and begin a new chapter of your ‘food story’ and explore another culture in the process!
We invite multimodal submissions, such as film features, articles, and artwork as well as food story ‘interviews’ from everyone with a food story that’s willing to share. 😊 Contact Sarah (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Maria (M.Hussain1@leeds.ac.uk) if you have any further questions. The Intercultural Connector team thought we’d start with celebration themed articles. At this time we know there are many celebrations, and we welcome you to share your ICC holiday food related stories, photos, recipes between now and Lunar New Year (February 12, 2021). Using the Blog Submission Form. We also welcome any general ICC Food Memory related article and recipes!