culinary diplomacy

Food brings us together.

Yes there are certain culinary delicacies that would turn off even the most adventurous foodies but fundamentally, people will come together over a good meal. They will put any prejudices and social stereotypes aside to try that mouth watering, gotta have it ethnic dish.

Yes hunger and insecurity are the worst enemies of peace but good food can bring enemies together. Good food can transcend political boundaries.

I came across a story of this political artist/chef that began a culinary art project called the Enemy Kitchen in 2004. Artist MICHAEL RAKOWITZ, started this ongoing project of a pop-up restaurant from in which he introduces Iraqi cuisine to different audiences in different parts of the world.

With the help of my Iraqi-Jewish mother, I have compiled Baghdadi recipes to teach to different public audiences, including middle and high school students. Preparing and then consuming this food opens up a new route through which Iraq can be discussed—in this case, through that most familiar of cultural staples: nourishment. Iraqi culture is virtually invisible in the US, beyond the daily news, and Enemy Kitchen seizes the possibility of cultural visibility to produce an alternative discourse.


The Iraqi refugees and American war veterans who operate the Enemy Kitchen food truck.

Tasbeeh Herwees’ article in GOOD magazine describing Michael’s story and beautifully outlines the origins of the Enemy Kitchen project and Michael’s ambitions.

Providing nourishment to others is the ultimate peace offering. Whether you are trying to tame a wild beast, or braking bread with your comrades, or sharing a peaceful cultural experience.


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