Food for Thought: Who Are Our Gastronomic Migrants?

Most families around the world enjoy a version of spaghetti bolognese more than once a week. It’s an absolute classic for us all. Dishes like this have been gracing our tables for generations and without much thought how they became so familiar and common.

Italian food culture has been a strong in fluence on our home cooking repertoires for many years, one assumes due to the many Italian migrants who have graced Australia’s shores. This was never stronger than directly after World War II when Italian immigration spiked dramatically. A wealth of agricultural and cooking knowledge came with them and most major towns in Australia bene fited; food and farming in Australia would never be the same again. With a nation born and bred on meat and three veg; garlic, olive oil, eggplants, pasta and, more importantly, co ffee moved from foreign to the norm. But, I am sure, it wasn’t without resistance. Children su ffered through schoolyard bullying for their stinky mortadella sandwiches, salami sticks and chunks of provolone cheese (can you imagine how horrifying a vegemite sandwich would have looked to Italian children?!) and the sight of home-grown vegetables being sold at the end of drive ways would have driven people like my grandparents crazy.

Gastronomic-migrants-adelaide-review-immigration-annabelle-baker-travel-gastronomy-edible-exchange-spaghetti-bologneseSpaghetti Bolognese has long been a staple of the Australian diet. What could be next?

New people, culture, religion and food can be confronting when it arrives on your doorstep but immigration through history has enriched cultures and society for the better. A perfect example of this is the melting pot of New York City. The Jews, Russians, Koreans and the Irish are only some examples of the pockets of cultural diversity that exist their. In fact, New York holds the largest Jewish population of any city in the world and elements of their culture have been adopted into everyday America, with no better example than the humble bagel. As Amnesty International reports that there are still 4.5 million refugees from Syria misplaced around the world, most of who are living way below the poverty line, I can’t help but wonder how enriching they could be to all of our lives. I know that the problem is overwhelmingly complex and the numbers are so large it seems an impossible problem to solve. But it is without doubt that their in fluence will be felt in many parts of the world as they are rehomed. History tells us that welcoming them won’t be easy, it will be met with trepidation, worry and opposition but there is no denying that 4.5 million people need compassion and a safe place to call home. The problem needs a solution and we will all have to be part of it. I feel that if we focus on the positives that have arrived from such events in the past and embrace all that comes with new cultures the history books will read favourably of our contribution to humanity in the 21st century. Who knows, maybe falafel in at bread with hummus will be the new spaghetti bolognese before we know it. Annabelle Baker is a director of Edible Exchange Read more: Discover delicious Lebanese food with Sumac Cafe

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