Sharing Food and Art to Build Community

Food accompanies people as much as history, tradition or language; it is a powerful force that brings people together and can stir up strong nostalgia or remind us of comforts of the past, like memories of being cared for by our parents. The smell of food can trigger all-encompassing recollections that bathe us in an aura of its mystique and in an instant our entire being can be transferred into the space of that memory. When a person finds itself transposed and uprooted, two main things they will bring with them wherever they go: language and food.

At Loom we have such a variety of nationalities, ethnicities, languages and cultures. In terms of origins, what everybody has in common here is their uprootedness, the fact that everyone comes from somewhere else. Loom, being a sanctuary, has organically become a food-sharing and eating-place. What can make a space feel more like a home than having a collection of dishes on the center table, and enjoy each others cooking while conversing and making art together? Every week at least one person (if not more) feels compelled to cook a dish to bring and share at our studio. These are always typical dishes from the individual’s home country, and the desire to let everybody know the name of this dish, or how it was made illustrates the pride and the love (and partly the heartache) with their roots.

This is how the idea of collecting the best of recipes and writing a Loom cookbook was born. I am going to kick-start this series of posts with our first recipe, Bishnu’s Sel Roti from Bhutan, which will be posted next week so stay tuned! Each recipe will be introduced with a little bit of history about the dispersion or creation of refugees from the highlighted country.

In the blog version of these posts, this is as far as it’s going to go: little bit of introductory history and recipe, but does this seem like not enough? Here is the cherry on top: after posting enough recipes, the articles that you’ll read here and the recipes that you will find in our blog, will actually be printed in a hard copy real book that will have illustrations for you to color in! Can there be any more self-care action that cooking and coloring?! Yes there can… but this is a great start! Everybody has different levels of trauma in their life, and anyway, trauma or not, we all deserve, and in fact REQUIRE self-care, so cook yourself a nourishing meal, and immerse yourself in a creative activity that serves no other purpose than to relax.

Neta Levinson, Loom Coordinator

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