Cooking gives a person choice & power. With an array of ingredients, one has the freedom to be creative. We learn as we cook - flavours that complement each other, different food types that build healthy, nutritious meals, time-keeping skills to ensure nothing is over/under prepared. Cooking is an education.
Cooking for yourself & others is a joy for many, a relaxant for others, empowering for the masses, a chore for some. Food is unifying. Many conversations focus on our likes & dislikes, our favourite foods, the textures, flavours & nutritional value of dishes we devise. As we cook, we remember shared moments, smells remind us of past sensations. Cooking together a connector.
In cold weather, a warm meal is comforting. Warm food is easily digested. Typically hot meals take longer to eat. Warm food gives your body more time to do the work (break down & absorb nutrients); eating hot food is energy efficient eating. When it is cold, eating hot food fuels your body, it raises your temperature. It makes you feel warm.
Now for the reality on Vial Camp, Chios. This is an image of tonight’s dinner. We know from conversations with residents that little joy is taken at ‘scheduled’ meal times on refugee camps.
➡️No one can cook safely (it is too dangerous inside a tent)
➡️Portions are insufficient (individuals admit they are always left hungry)
➡️Food is cold on arrival (without safe resources on camp for heating)
➡️Meals are unattractive (food that tempts us enhances our tastebuds).
Remember this during your quarantine. Many of us gain freedom of expression through cooking. We can't invite people over, but we can be creative in our cuisine. This is another element of ‘normality’ that does not exist if you are a refugee.
We take it for granted but the comfort of cooking is not a refugee’s reality.