It has been a truly shocking week. The tragic event in Paris, when the death toll reached it’s the highest level since the Second World War. Shocking, as well, because the outpouring of sympathy, seen on social media, is peppered with reminders that this tragedy repeats itself every day around the world. To my own shame, I didn’t realise, the shocking death toll in Baghdad just the day before.

I was listening to an interview, given by the truly remarkable, Archbishop of Baghdad, an eccentric in every sense of the word. He is renowned the world over for talking to terrorist organisations of all persuasions. In a truly British twist, he usually invites them for supper or tea. Where they talk and more importantly he listens. Here is a man that knows the power of table fellowship, he uses food and hospitality to bring people together and remind them of the things that unite us rather than divide.

How can food help?

So why as part of natures own creations are we are unable to make the best of our differences? It appears we can learn something from food and how it integrates itself successfully, not only into climates but also cultures. From the 14th century when rice and egg plants were exported from India, through to the 18th and 19th century when the tomato, potatoes and peppers came from the South Americas to Spain and the Ottoman empire and are now so integrated that we could not imagine European foods without the tomato. This is an integration we can only be envious of.

But these foods also stimulate memories for us, memories of loved ones, friends and family. Here are just a few of those I remember with food:

  • My Grandmothers brown bread
  • My Mothers wonderful neck end of lamb
  • Wendy’s parents Fred and Nancy – stew and dumplings
  • My Great friend Sarah- black current jam
  • My nephews and nieces – pancakes and maple syrup
  • Rob and Fiona – fresh eggs
  • Anoushah and her Mother – vegetable pickle
  • Lin – chocolate trifle
  • Steve and the legendary – under roast
  • The people of Ireland and Soda Bread
  • The people of Baghdad and Sheikh Mahshi
  • The people of Paris and Pot-au-fau

What foods remind you of friends and family?

Now go cook…..

David James
Director of Food Services

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