In the context of our design challenge, we joined the team of “Über den Tellerrand kochen” in their KitchenHub on May 28th to taste and learn about the many different ways to prepare spinach in different countries as for example in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria or South Tyrol.
“Über den Tellerrand kochen” is a Berlin based social business, which by using food aims at “[…] creating a new togetherness among refugees and locals and achieving long-lasting integration in a process that involves people from all corners of society participating on their own initiative.” (https://ueberdentellerrandkochen.de/en/about/). About every month they organise a cooking event called “50 shades of…”. This time it was spinach. They put up different cooking stations where we were welcome to help the cooks. The informal and open-minded atmosphere made conversations of all sorts very easy. Here are some pictures of the event.
For us the most important insight we gained is the following:
The Afghan women who cooked told us that they live in a refugee camp where they do not have any cooking facility and are therefore more than happy about every chance to cook elsewhere. It relaxes and enables them to act out. Every second week they meet up at the KitchenHub to cook. To feel secured it is important to them to be only a small and female group on those days. Therefore the size of the group is kept small even though there has been an increasing demand. Such places are rare and seem to be deeply needed. We are going to cook with one of them in a park to try out whether outside cooking especially in terms of privacy is an option for them as well or not.
We heard another related story at our experimental cooking night. Three friends from Syria joined us that day. Two of them are living in an emergency accommodation. The other one got transferred to another camp. The two former do not have access to any kitchen where they live, the latter can use the shared kitchen. From time to time his two friends even join him for cooking, because they really miss doing it.
Not having access to cooking facilities seems to be a big issue. “Food security” including cooking is part of “feeling at home”. How can we enable people to do so?