Launching the Refugee Cookbook

Launching the Refugee Cookbook

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon. We loaded the community quilt into the car and headed for the Riverside Art Museum where the launch of our new cookbook “Taste of Afghanistan” would take place. The Afghan women and children that contributed to the book was ecstatic. To see their work in print tickled them pink.

In fact, thanks to a program at CSUSB, and Inlandia Institute, we were able to put together this marvelous cookbook that was filled with taste and tradition. The Afghan refugee women took English classes learning to describe recipes in English while their children were involved in writing poetry and drawing and painting. We gathered all their hard work and, voila: ‘A Taste of Afghanistan’ came out.

One by one the guests started arriving to the Riverside Art Museum for the launch. It was such a mixed crowd that people had a hard time trying to figure out who is a refugee and who is not. That was absolutely perfect. A community event with neighbors, and residents of the town supporting each other. In fact, when people purchased books, they were looking for the “authors” to sign their books, not refugees. The Afghan women were beaming with their colorful scarves and the children were proud to see their work printed in a book. Some of the women had just learned to write their names in our English classes, and there were plenty of opportunity to practice that because all 100 books that were printed got sold and most buyers wanted their books autographed by the owners of the recipes.

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There were Afghan snacks, samosas, cookies with black sesame sprinkled, and of course baklava to taste for the guests. People were chatting and enjoying the snacks when we decided to talk about the program and thank some of the contributors. A little Afghan girl sang a song and conquered all the guests’ hearts.

This event was certainly an example of how our communities should get together and celebrate and support each other’s accomplishments and share cultural qualities.

 Poet signing a book

Poet signing a book