Spring has arrived in Texas, and with it, a season of new beginnings for Appetite for Humanity. As we announce the launch of our website and officially kick off our newsletter, we’re celebrating the very spirit of beginning by sharing some inspiring stories:
But first, in case this is your new beginning with our efforts, here’s a quick overview of what Appetite for Humanity is all about:
Appetite for Humanity shines a spotlight on organizations that use food and food culture to welcome and support refugees, asylees, and immigrants all over the world. Through our online directory of these initiatives and our ongoing efforts to distribute resources and updates, we help individuals and groups share information, learn from one another, and ultimately, jump in and help.
Thank you for being part of the movement!
As refugees pour out of Ukraine and people around the world search for ways we can begin to help, our founder, Julie van de Zande, has reached out to some Ukrainians in Austin to ask how we can help on the food front, so that those coming to the United States can feel more at home when they arrive.
The Biden Administration has announced that 100,000 Ukrainian refugees will be welcomed in the US, and we expect many to land in Austin. You can learn more at the Uniting for Ukraine website, or subscribe to our newsletter to keep up-to-date.
Beginning with Ukraine
Since the outset of the war in Ukraine, Russian-born Alissa Timoshkina and Ukrainian Olia Hercules, both London-based chefs, found a way to begin helping.
Through the launch of Cook for Ukraine, they have raised significant awareness and cash. In addition, Hercules has turned her attention to practical, food-focused support for those who are hosting Ukrainian refugees. A recent article in the New Statesman explored this effort in some detail:
Those brave souls who manage to successfully navigate the UK government’s Homes for Ukraine application process are not expected to cater for their guests, just house them. But [many hosts] wonder what they can stock up on to make the new arrivals feel at home. After all, however cosmopolitan your palate in ordinary times, when your world has been turned upside down, a few familiar foods might prove reassuring.
But where to begin?
For Hercules, the answer was sharing. She quickly jumped in with an abundance of useful information and insights, regularly sharing helpful links, resources, and advice on Ukrainian cuisine.
She has also written a “season-appropriate list,” which she will update as necessary. It includes items like fresh dill (“a lot of it”); sour cream (a “big tub”); beetroot; potatoes; cabbage; and so on.
In addition to describing the heart behind the efforts of Alissa Timoshkina and Olia Hercules, the article delves into Hercules’s descriptions of her home-country cuisine in mouth-watering detail that will capture the imagination of any foodie.
But we are most inspired by the example these two chefs provide: they had a strong desire to help, they didn’t hesitate to begin, and they are determined to continue the work.
Featured Initiative: Break Bread Break Borders
We are making a “food for good” company, where refugee women from war-torn countries are economically empowered by cooking for a living.
The women are mentored by professional chefs, restaurants, caterers and culinary consultants. The BBBB community cooks acquire food handler permit and food manager license certifications for job opportunities in the food service industry.
What a thoughtful, effective mission! Break Bread Break Borders helps refugee women begin a new chapter, and we love their passion for this important work.
Recipe: Afghan Naan Bread
Julie recently shared this delicious recipe for Afghan naan bread, along with her experience:
“Every time I enter an Afghan home, I see this bread. Afghans make this regularly, but I always assumed it was difficult. In fact, it’s quite easy—and delicious.
“Since September 2021, Appetite for Humanity has helped equip over 120 Afghan kitchens in Austin, providing things like pressure cookers, blenders, serving trays, tea thermoses, etc.
“Many families had to wait for weeks in extended stay hotels, before moving into permanent homes. So we spent months supplying them with large mixing bowls, pizza pans, flour, yeast, and oil, so that they could bake this familiar bread right in their rooms. Some of the rooms had ovens, but many did not. I was amazed to see these ever-resourceful women frying naan on stovetops when necessary.
“Bread is a staple of Afghan cuisine, and I’m inspired by the comfort they find in making it—despite such different surroundings. It also makes me very happy to know that we were able to help by providing the items they need to create familiar food as they began to settle in their new city.”
We love the recipe Julie shared from Anupama of My Ginger Garlic Kitchen. It’s surprisingly easy to make and positively delicious. If you’ve never tried your hand at home-made bread before, this is a great place to begin:
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