© Anushka Bose. All rights reserved.*
A big part of the third culture kid identity is determining for yourself how that identity lives inside of you and which portals it utilizes for self-expression. Writing is surely one of those portals for me, but I’m learning as of late that cooking is also another portal through which I share my love for culture. I’ve learned that I harbor all this culinary jest inside of me, and all that this passion needed was a quick trip to the grocery store, a recipe I saw on my social media, and the willingness to make it happen. It had occurred to me some time ago, that I would like to eat delicious food on the regular.
Since having a clean diet/eating healthy is of high importance to me, I would often resort to bland foods for the sake of being healthy, and splurge on tasty meals when I ate out. In due time, I changed my mind set by asking myself, why can’t I make the delicious food myself at home? Why am I off-sourcing my taste buds to restaurants? In that effort, I found a delicious recipe for a Mediterranean Chicken Stew that I made a few weeks ago. The flavors included in this dish reminded me of the aroma of middle eastern food in Saudi. Then, the following week, I cooked Indian Chana Masala, a great vegan dish that carries so much protein. Both Middle Eastern/Persian and Indian cuisines are two of my favorites, and they also happen to be the cultural footprints of my identity. In that regard, it is my cultural desire to learn as many dishes from these categories of cuisines as possible. In fact, I have created a summer cooking list for me that includes culinary dishes from around the world that I have grown up eating/loving: Indian, Persian, Turkish Lebanese, Saudi, Italian, Chinese, Thai, and American. I have incorporated one or two dishes in each culinary category, and I aspire to learn how to make those quintessential dishes over the Summer and Fall. It is my unique way of tapping into the multicultural fabric of my identity and sharing that passion with the world.
On that note, I am turning the lens to you: (1) Which cuisines are your favorite? (2) What is one Saudi or Middle Eastern dish that you love to cook? (3) For all the chef-aspirers out there, what tips might you add for someone dipping their toes into cooking Middle eastern-dishes, are there any dishes you recommend learning to cook? (4) Is there a famous family recipe in your household; if so, what is the dish? (don’t feel pressured to share the recipe!)
Food will always be a portal for culture and identity. In fact, in my international relations Ph.D. The program, I recently became aware of the phrase “Gastro-Diplomacy.” This term refers to public relations campaigners and “investments by governments and states,” to improve the value and standing of the nation-brand -through food. There we go! Food is not about the act of consumption, there is a beauty to the entire process of it — from finding a recipe to going to the store, organizing it on the kitchen slap, cooking it, and then finally eating it. Moreover, food is literally embedded within the field of international relations through gastro-diplomacy Who knew? I would love to hear your input on this discourse. Please feel free to comment on the article, or also email me at email@example.com!
Mediterranean Chicken Stew
Anushka is a current PhD Student at American University in Washington, D.C. She spent her youth growing up in Dhahran, where she attended Dhahran Elementary, Dhahran Middle School, and Dhahran Academy High School. She loves learning about new cultures and is fascinated by the diversity that brings us all together, especially the expatriate community, where the only thing that is common is that we are all different, in culture, language, and the perspectives we hold. One day she hopes to publish a book on the Third Culture Kid experience. Dhahran continues to hold a big place in her heart.
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