January 23, 2016

‘Savor’ – much more than just a cookbook

Kabita Deo of Nepal prepares dough for aloo paratha, "whole wheat flat bread stuffed with potatoes, cilantro, and spices, often eaten for breakfast in Nepal and India." – from “Savor – Stories of Community, Culture, and Food,” p.46. “An Iraqi woman drops a falafel croquette into hot oil for frying.” – from “Savor – Stories of Community, Culture, and Food," page 26.
Kabita Deo of Nepal prepares dough for aloo paratha, "whole wheat flat bread stuffed with potatoes, cilantro, and spices, often eaten for breakfast in Nepal and India." – from “Savor – Stories of Community, Culture, and Food,” p.46.|“An Iraqi woman drops a falafel croquette into hot oil for frying.” – from “Savor – Stories of Community, Culture, and Food," page 26.|| Kabita Deo of Nepal prepares dough for aloo paratha, "whole wheat flat bread stuffed with potatoes, cilantro, and spices, often eaten for breakfast in Nepal and India." – from “Savor – Stories of Community, Culture, and Food,” p.46.|“An Iraqi woman drops a falafel croquette into hot oil for frying.” – from “Savor – Stories of Community, Culture, and Food," page 26.|| |||
By The West View

“Savor: Stories of Community, Culture, and Food” is possibly the only cookbook that, after reading it from cover to cover, will leave you in tears before you cut a single onion.

The book was a collaborative project between Glendale community members, the Glendale-Mountainview Community Learning Center and students from a University of Utah class called Eating for Justice, Sustainability, and Health.

When CLC Coordinator Keri Taddie sat down with the U of U students to explore ideas for their semester project with the Community Learning Center, she wasn't sure of their commitment level. Now, after two years of genuine community building – one year after the students’ graduation – she knows Kate Harrington and Mary McIntyre to be some of the most hardworking volunteers she has ever known.

Their desire was to create a project that would celebrate the beautiful diversity of the west side and unite the community at the same time. This was accomplished by inviting 15 community members, representing 12 different cultures, to share a recipe with one or more of three common ingredients; cilantro, noodles, and the banana. The real treat of this book though, are the personal stories told by community members and the captivating photography that won’t let you put the book down.

In the book’s forward, Gary Paul Nabhan, author of Coming Home to Eat, says, "The true beauty of this project is that at last we are able to hear voices in our communities that few of us have regularly heard, and these voices speak eloquently and passionately of a depth and tenacity of foodways that few outsiders have fathomed." This book truly gives a voice to many who may not otherwise be heard. 

Food is what we all have in common; it is the great equalizer, the window into one's heart and culture and, for many, to home. One of the contributors, Ailine Loa, says in the book, "When you're growing your own food and share with others, that's Tonga."

Another contributor, Rebeca Penha, says, "Cooking is usually a time when you gather your friends and you talk, you laugh, tell jokes, and have fun. It's a big thing in Brazil." This is one reason the project took so long to complete – after submitting their recipe, each contributor spent an afternoon teaching other community members how to prepare the dish. This is where the community building started, with the necessary ingredient of quality time together. 

Originally from Thailand, Mi Sun demonstrated a recipe using broken English, some Spanish, Thai, and the international language of smiles and laughter to connect with new friends.

Keri Taddie's team approached this project like she has all of her work with the community in Glendale for the past 20 years. She says, “It is all about the relationships. It all has to be individualized, honoring who they are and their culture.” 

She says that University Neighborhood Partners and the Salt Lake Education Foundation also understand that goal and that is why they funded the first printing of the cookbook. Equal thanks goes to the Salt Lake City School District and Salt Lake City Corporation for supporting the Community Learning Center itself. 

Taddie says that in small ways this book dispels the myth of what the media says Glendale is. “This book is just one pebble dropped into a lake. It makes a ripple, but when we all throw our pebbles in together at the same time, people take notice.” 

With 250 copies sold and 250 more, fresh off the press, Taddie is seeing a real impact inside as well as outside of Glendale. “You can just see the warmth come over people as they look through the pages of this beautiful book,” she said.

“Savor: Stories of Community, Culture, and Food” is available for purchase at The King’s English bookstore and the Glendale-Mountainview CLC for $25. You can also get a sneak peak at www.savorbook.com.