The Cooking East to West culinary project launched in December with a class featuring three of Émigré Gourmet’s chefs. In February, the series continued with a hands-on Indian cooking class led by Émigré chef Afsari Jahan. Participants learned the secrets of classic foods like tandoori chicken (see recipe below), and took part in a shared meal.
Tag Archives: Food & Culture
by Julia Jean-Francois
Margarita – chatty and charming, yes, but can her calabacitas and caldo de camarón deliver me into the many heavens of Mexican cuisine?
Some weeks ago, one of our staff nominated a new member for our recently launched Émigré Gourmet cooking collective. Margarita, we were assured, is a fine Mexican cook who knows all the ins and outs of the classic Mexican favorites. This sounded good, but could she put the proverbial frying pan onto the proverbial fire and turn out something fantastic?
If you love to cook, don’t miss our new, three-day course that introduces participants to the culinary traditions of Southeast Asia, the Middle East Latin America & the Caribbean. We invite you to learn techniques and recipes from the experienced home chefs of Émigré Gourmet – culinary craftswomen who will help you conjure the exotic flavors of their native cuisines – and chef instructors from Kingsborough Community College.
Those familiar with the neighborhood know that Sunset Park is a fascinating culinary destination. In its diverse immigrant communities, the ancient “spice route” is recreated in miniature within these three square miles of New York City. In the cultural groups that make up the Sunset Park, many families have preserved the culinary customs and traditions of their ancestors, and exotic ingredients they use to prepare these foods are relatively easy to come by. In this course, participants will not only to learn preparing traditional foods; the class will also provide an opportunity for informal discussion of the cultural context of each cuisine; for example, whether a certain dish is served to celebrate a bride’s wedding shower, to break the fast at Ramadan, or has some other particular significance.
Course sessions will take place on three consecutive Tuesday nights, beginning December 1, in our kitchen at Center for Family Life (345 43rd Street in Brooklyn). Sessions run from 6pm to 9pm. Cooking lessons are, of course, followed by a dinner together to enjoy the foods prepared by you and the instructors! The fee for the course is $150.
Class size is limited – reserve space now!
For more information, please contact Jessica Bonilla at (718) 633 4823 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Vanessa Bransburg
In May 2009 I attended the Brooklyn Food Conference at John Jay High School and PS 321 in Park Slope. The conference was organized by the Brooklyn Food Coalition, a grassroots initiative that aims to increase access to sustainable, healthy and delicious food for all. With over 2,500 people in attendance, the event was such an incredible success that organizers started thinking and planning for the next steps almost immediately.
In the last few months there has been a large effort to reach out to multiple neighborhoods in Brooklyn to get residents, workers, activists, and others involved in their particular neighborhood groups. Neighborhood groups have been discussing and selecting issues that concern them. Some of the issues that have been chosen by groups include getting healthier lunches in schools, organizing community gardens, food coops, and addressing workers’ rights issues.
In September, we had our first Sunset Park Neighborhood group meeting at the Sunset Park Recreation Center. About 20 people attended, mostly organizers and activists at local organizations. Unfortunately the meeting attendees did not fully represent the diverse demographics of Sunset Park. A few of us made sure to bring this up and made a commitment that we would all recruit more workers and residents from Sunset Park.
The main themes that were brought up by the attendees were workers’ rights issues, access to fresh food, and education around nutrition and various types of foods that are sold at green markets and community gardens.
The next meeting will be on Monday, October 19th at the Adult Employment Center of Center for Family Life (443 39th Street, 3rd Floor), where we will decide which issues we will tackle as the Sunset Park group. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join us for the exciting venture into the food world! For more information about the upcoming event, contact me at (718) 633-4823.
by Julia Jean-Francois
Julia Jean-Francois is Co-Director of Center for Family Life. She is also a food enthusiast with a keen interest in the cooking traditions of the different cultures that make up Sunset Park’s diverse community. We will be sharing her stories about her adventures in the cooking underworld of Sunset Park. Here is the first one, wherein she learns the secrets of making authentic Chinese dumplings.
This month I attended an authentic Chinese dumpling-making lesson with Jing Kien. This is the kind of opportunity that I am always on the lookout for, and so when Jing Kien’s granddaughter Jackie, a caseworker in our Family Counseling Program, graciously invited me to her grandmother’s home to learn her family dumpling recipe for a cookbook we are writing, I eagerly accepted. Continue reading