Food for the Hungry (FH) has the privilege to work in over 20 countries around the globe in three different regions. As part of your relationship with FH, you have seen the beauty of the variety of cultures the world houses. One of the many ways to define culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and arts. Culture is a reminder that if we look back at our family tree, our roots started somewhere, regardless of where we are living now.
So if we all come from somewhere, do we know where? Have we retained pieces of the rich history of where our families started? These are the questions I was inspired to ask myself as I learned more about the customs and practices of the people Food for the Hungry walks alongside. So rather than keep these thoughts about culture as thoughts, I wanted to put action behind it. Ultimately, that is how I landed on the idea of hosting a global eats dinner party. Gathering people together to celebrate culture and diversity while enjoying a meal felt like a meaningful and tangible way to learn more about the world.
Most of us have at some point hosted a party, whether it was a smaller gathering like a birthday party or large like a wedding. Invitations are not a new concept, but I wanted to share a couple of tips from my personal experience with this type of event. The invitation lays the groundwork for the party.
There are multiple options for how to host a global eats dinner party. One option is, you, as the host, can provide all the food, by either cooking or purchasing a variety of authentic dishes from countries you would like to highlight. Two, you can do it potluck style and have people claim a country they would like to represent through a dish or beverage they bring. The third idea is, take this opportunity to get to know more about the culture and heritage of your friends by inviting each person to bring a food or beverage that represents their family history. My husband and I went with option three when hosting our dinner party.
It is important to note, when choosing the second or third options, that not everyone has a tried and true recipe down to a science, ready to go. I discovered that my guests took the time to carefully look up recipes or learn from a relative how to cook their dish. So more notice and preparation time was appreciated.
The Dinner Party
Being that this was a dinner party, my main focus was on dinner and the people attending. My husband and I wanted to invest in our friends and the stories behind their dishes. When we sat down to eat, we took the time to go around to the table and have each guest share more about the dish they contributed to the dinner. It was fun and encouraging to hear the history of each dish and learn more about the culture or heritage of our friends. Collectively, everyone who attended the event learned something new. We learned that we can all cook, and cook well. Each of us discovered more about each other as well as something about our own history. This party provided the opportunity to explore our roots and highlight them with our community.
We see over and over again in the Gospels how Jesus took the time to eat with people. He broke down barriers and social stigmas, by sitting at a table and breaking bread with others. When we take intentional time to share a meal with others, we have the opportunity to dive deeper into community and celebrate the beautiful diversity of the Kingdom of God!
Hosting a global eats dinner party is just one way to learn more about the uniqueness each culture and country brings to the global table. If all this talk about food has you craving something new, check out some of our recipe blog posts and get cooking!
Taste The World: Causa [Peru]
Chicken Adobo Recipe [Philippines]
Taste The World: Injera Recipe [Ethiopia]