Each fall, the Ojibwe tribes of northern Minnesota harvest wild rice by hand. It’s a long process that begins with families in canoes venturing into the tall grasses, where rice is poled and gently brushed with knockers into the bed of the canoe. We journey to White Earth Reservation, out onto Big Rice Lake in a canoe, to see how one tribe is supporting itself and changing the diet of its people through community kitchen projects. And we talk with the founder of White Earth Land Recovery Project, Winona LaDuke, about the land, her fight to save wild rice, GMOs, her family, philosophy, and her candidacy for vice president of the United States on the Green Party ticket with Ralph Nader.
A LOOK AT 3 AMERICAN WARS THROUGH THE LENS OF COFFEE
THE CIVIL WAR / VIETNAM / AFGHANISTAN
In April 1865, at the bloody, bitter end of the Civil War, Ebenezer Nelson Gilpin, a Union soldier wrote in his diary, “Everything is chaos here. The suspense is almost unbearable. We are reduced to quarter rations and no coffee. And nobody can soldier without coffee.”
If war is hell, then for many soldiers throughout American history, it is coffee that has offered some small salvation. Hidden Kitchens: War and Peace and Coffee looks at three American wars through the lens of coffee: The Civil War, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
Listen now and read more on NPR.org.
A new season of Hidden Kitchens premieres today on NPR’s Morning Edition. This season looks at the role food plays in resolving or creating conflict around the world. We call it Hidden Kitchens: Kimchi Diplomacy: War & Peace & Food.
Listen to the story now on NPR.org
They call it “The Hummus Wars.”
Lebanon accused the Israeli people of trying to steal hummus and make it their national dish, explains Ronit Vered, a food journalist with the newspaper Haaretz in Tel Aviv. And so hummus became a symbol, she tells us, “a symbol of all the tension in the Middle East.”
The war began over a 4,532-pound plate of hummus…
Read more and listen to “Operation Hummus” here.
“First you take our land, now you take our chickpeas…”
Over the next six Mondays on NPR’s Morning Edition we’ll bring you stories about the role food plays in resolving or creating conflict around the world. We call this new season Hidden Kitchens: Kimchi Diplomacy: War & Peace & Food.
Produced by The Kitchen Sisters
with Nathan Dalton & Brandi Howell
Mixed by Jim McKee
Funding for Hidden Kitchens: Kimchi Diplomacy: War & Peace & Food comes from The National Endowment for the Humanities, Whole Foods and listener contributions to the The Kitchen Sisters Productions. Funding for Operation Hummus was provided by The Robert Sillins Family Foundation.
Sometimes life without a kitchen leads to the most unexpected hidden kitchen of all—the George Foreman Grill. How immigrants and homeless people without official kitchens use the George Foreman Grill, hidden crock pots, and secret hot plates to make a meal and a home. Featuring an interview with boxing champion and grill-master, George Foreman.
So many immigrants, homeless people and others of limited means living in single-room occupancies (SROs) have no kitchens, no legal or official place to cook. To get a hot meal, or eat traditional foods from the countries they’ve left behind, they have to sneak a kind of kitchen into their places. Crock pots, hot plates, microwaves and toaster ovens hidden under the bed. And now, the appliance that comes in so many colors it looks like a modern piece of furniture: the George Foreman Grill.
We had never considered such a hidden kitchen. So we called him. George Foreman talks about growing up hungry and violent, about his his time in the Job Corps, about cooking for his friends and his work with kids. “Feed them,” he says. “Hunger makes you angry.”
And we contacted the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. They put us in touch with Jeffrey Newton who has been homeless or in shelters most all his life, from boy’s homes, to reformatories, to prison by age 17. Then he moved out on the streets, where every day he goes “trailblazing” — looking for food, shelter, work, the resources he needs to make it through the day.
Jeffry learned to cook from his grandmother. He feels an urge to cook, especially for other people — under the overpass on Chicago’s Wacker Drive; on a George Foreman Grill plugged into a power pole; with a hot clothing iron to toast a grilled cheese sandwich.
Pat Sherman lived for quite some time in SROs with no kitchen, where cooking was forbidden. She now has a home and works in Glide’s Memorial Church in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. Sherman was quite ingenious when it came to cooking. Her Crock-Pot doubled as a flower pot — nothing that would arouse suspicion. When nobody was around to check, she would slow-cook her beans while she went to school, then come home to a hot meal.
Photo by Chika.