Yesterday a good friend of mine sent me a very interesting link to a creative and powerful food initiative in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania called Conflict Kitchen (Conflict Kitchen Website). The take-out stand only serves food from countries that the United States is in conflict with. Every four months the kitchen will focus on a different country (this month is Iran) and as you can guess, some to come soon will be Afghanistan, North Korea and Venezuela to name a few. Unfortunately, with the rate the US is going it could easily continue for many months to come!
The food is traditional kubideh and it is wrapped in custom designed paper that has interviews with Iranians from both Pittsburgh and Iran on subjects as varied as food and poetry to the current political turmoil. There have been some incredible events as well that augment the information and conversation around the country and the US conflict (a Skype meal with Tehran for example) which allow people to ask questions about anything from cultural rules around dating to the daily political climate.How wonderful that not only are you given the opportunity to feast on sumptuous world cuisine, but are also given information to help you bridge your cultural understanding of the world and most importantly be presented with an opportunity to participate in a dialogue to increase awareness and understanding on all sides.
What struck me at first was the incredibly unique manner in which to approach raising people's awareness about a particular issue but in one of the most basic ways: through food! We all need to eat, many people enjoy testing their palate and exploring new cuisines, so why not take what we know works and throw in a bit of colour and purpose and see what we get? What makes this even better is that they are involving the people directly i.e. those Iranians not only in the local area but in Iran itself. These individuals are being given a voice and opportunity to share what is their truth from their perspective and give one more consideration to what you might learn from friends, in school, on the news or in the local paper.
As bloggers or blog appreciators, we all know the power of information and (hopefully!) the importance of considering every perspective in any situation. Many people across the world are never given an opportunity to voice their own feelings or experiences due to the political climate under which they live and initiatives like this prove that it is all possible.
I hope everyone will take an opportunity not only to visit their site and see what it is all about (because what I have just written is obviously just my opinion and therefore one of many) but maybe, just maybe, you will be inspired to consider how can you be creative in opening a new dialogue? Maybe it's with someone who you thought you could never get along with, maybe it's someone who has a completely world view to you or maybe it's just a new dialogue and story with yourself in how you decide you want to react to a certain situation...whatever it is, remember that the most important thing is that you are true to you, follow your passion and be open to whatever crazy, wacky and wonderful ideas come to you! I promise if it is fantastic and positive for this world you've already found a fan in me!!
p.s. If you are in Pittsburgh or are passing through soon please check it out and let me know what you think.
p.p.s. If you feel this is important and worth sharing, please do pass on the information about Conflict Kitchen (Facebook, Twitter, your own blog...).