As some of you know I’ve had a great opportunity to advance the cause of Roots Cuisine. I was offered the opportunity to be part of the U.S. State Department Speakers program back in November, which meant that I would be traveling to Turkey to speak (initially) about Louisiana foodways. Interest in topics has expanded to include talks on African American foodways and perhaps a bit about the role of African Americans in United States society. Quite amazing that others are so very interested around the world and the average American, including African Americans themselves take that role and that rich history for granted, often discounting it completely. But quite sadly, that is often the way of the world, non?

I will be visiting Ankara, Adana, Istanbul, Gaziantep, and the highlight will be ?zmir where I’ll eat, cook, and connect with a group of Afro-Turkish villagers. As Sarah Khan, founder of Tasting Cultures Foundation put it such a “. . . rich culture [and] deep history . . .” The Afro-Turks are primarily descendants of enslaved Africans brought to the Ottoman Empire in the late-eighteenth century and most of them are concentrated along the Aegean Sea in the province of ?zmir. It will be wonderful to work and learn and, of course, eat!

I am looking so forward to expanding Roots Cuisine’s palates and networks eastward.

Please visit during the next month to see what were up to.

9 Responses to Bound for Turkey

  1. Rachel, the ancestors of some Afro-Turks came from Crete. They were slaves and economic migrants who came to Crete from 1669 onwards. Since most of them were Muslims, they followed the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923. It is worth mentioning that despite living on Crete for 3 centuries, they were almost ignored by writers.

  2. admin says:

    Ahh. Very interesting. I have limited knowledge of the group’s history and I’m looking forward to learning more so thank you. And how -if you’ll pardon my ignorance- did the people in Crete come to be there for three centuries? Can you recommend resources about that group that might be available in English?

  3. Aundreta says:

    It was indeed a pleasure to meet you and enjoy cuisine dearest to my soul-your shrimp and grits was amazing and made me a little homesick!! My students truly enjoyed your presentation and they learn so much!! Keep on cookin’ it up, sista!! I hope that our paths will cross again soon! Elinize sa?l?k—health to your hand!!

  4. Aundreta says:

    It was indeed a pleasure to meet you and enjoy cuisine dearest to my soul-your shrimp and grits was amazing and made me a little homesick!! My students truly enjoyed your presentation and they learned so much!! Keep on cookin’ it up, sista!! I hope that our paths will cross again soon! Elinize sa?l?k—health to your hand!!

  5. admin says:

    Oh it was my pleasure, Aundreta. Tell the ladies I said hello. I really appreciate your coming and your supportive words. You keep doin’ it big too! I, too, am hoping will meet again. soon. Take care and, I’m navigating to your blog….now!

  6. Jake Olson says:

    I’m really sorry that I missed this. I would have loved to attend this. I live in Adana and these kinds of cultural events in English are few and far between.

  7. admin says:

    Yes, Jake. I noticed that could be the case. I wish that you could have been there too. You should give the consulate in Adana a call they do a bit of programming. You might also check out the Embassy site and/or Facebook page because there are some really interesting things going on there, if not in Adana then close by. I hope you’ll visit Roots Cuisine again soon!

  8. sare says:

    Dear Rachel, Iam one of the listener in Adana. It was very interesting lecturar for me to learn Americans and Afro Americans eating habits and cooking ways. Thank you for sharing us your opinions.
    I have remind you to give us a shortbread recipe on the net.
    p.s. Just remind myself ” a small jar of pumpkin jam”.

  9. Rachel Finn says:

    Yes! How could I ever forget you and your kindness and your sweet, sweet pumpkin jam.

    I really have not forgotten. I have been working on a big project, a museum exhibit that will be up soon. I am still planning to get recipes up and talk more about my experience there, however late.. I’m going to share some other recipes with you, along with the shortbread recipe.

    Thank you for remembering me and for stopping by and now I can stop by your house too!

    Rachel.

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