Center for World Indigenous Studies
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My World In My Kitchen

Published: November 9, 2007, Author: MHirch

My World In My Kitchen

Food and how we prepare food is one of the most central aspects of daily life. More intimate than our language can ever be, cooking expresses most eloquently our personal creativity as well as cultural mythologies and beliefs.
When you take away the food you take away the culture and ultimately the health of peoples. Relocating peoples, wiping out local foods or forbidding indigenous cultures through “legal” means to hunt and gather traditional foods is the most subtle and thorough way of colonization. Impeding access to traditional foods goes deeper than physical weapons ever could as cultures get shaken to the very core of their spiritual and phsical health and well-being.

Smells taste and looks of food install in us a sense of place and identity, strongly connected to our personal histories and regional upbringing. Thus the cloudberry is to the Finn what the salmonberry is to peoples inhabiting the wild Pacific Northwest.
Illustrated and spread is the knowledge of the beautiful variety of local food cultures by use of cookbooks, which can have great political power too. No wonder one could find a whole stack of cookbooks right at the entrance of the UN library in New York.

Sacred foods, the seeds for growing cultures, nowadays to many inhabitants of the developed world have completely lost meaning. Reduced to a mere commodity available only in big supermarkets. Thus the adventure trip in modern times becomes a well planned tour into the depth of buyers’ paradise with a lot of dead food sitting as special offers on top of shelves. Not the palate and the idea of how to best nourish body and soul make the modern hunter decide what food to get. He is led by clever advertisement campaigns and the driving thought the cheaper the better. Upon showing the processed long-lasting trophies at home it is proudly announced how much was saved. No word about the natural smell or excellent taste of the food is lost. Maybe because there is no such thing? What sensual experiences are possible when consuming pre-prepared food? Now what might that tell us about the quality of life and personalities?

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