Learning to cook food across cultures Global Cooking is a social and learning opportunity

The Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN) has discovered food is the ultimate ice breaker.

The organization, which helps new immigrants integrate and settle in Canada, offers a Global Cooking Class on Mondays at Alberta Avenue Community League.

Each week, a group member teaches other participants recipes from their homeland. While the goal is to learn to cook, the class has many benefits. The leader practices his or her leadership, teaching, and language skills. It is also a social occasion, crossing cultural and gender barriers, and the group shares stories and translates for each other. Spontaneous song, dancing and laughter help participants feel welcomed and included.

On the right, Sonia Habashy, community facilitator with EMCN, laughs with Tahany (left), who emigrated from Syria with her three children 11 months ago. Tahany’s husband died in the war and she lives with her sister and her children in Edmonton.| Rebecca Lippiatt
On the right, Sonia Habashy, community facilitator with EMCN, laughs with Tahany (left), who emigrated from Syria with her three children 11 months ago. Tahany’s husband died in the war and she lives with her sister and her children in Edmonton.| Rebecca Lippiatt
Mohaba, Zafar, Basel and Daro (left to right) prepare yalngy, grape leaves rolled with rice, vegetables and spices. Daro is homesick for his family, who are Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and is anticipating a taste of his homeland. Basel is dressed as Thor for Halloween, celebrated in Syria as St. Barbara’s Day. The group encourages Mohaba to lead the next cooking class as they would like to try Somalian food.| Rebecca Lippiatt
Mohaba, Zafar, Basel and Daro (left to right) prepare yalngy, grape leaves rolled with rice, vegetables and spices. Daro is homesick for his family, who are Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and is anticipating a taste of his homeland. Basel is dressed as Thor for Halloween, celebrated in Syria as St. Barbara’s Day. The group encourages Mohaba to lead the next cooking class as they would like to try Somalian food.| Rebecca Lippiatt
Grape leaves look a lot like maple leaves. Everyone expresses gratitude that they are able to share their traditions with their new Canadian community.| Rebecca Lippiatt
Grape leaves look a lot like maple leaves. Everyone expresses gratitude that they are able to share their traditions with their new Canadian community.| Rebecca Lippiatt
A glass jar shapes the dough for the meat dumplings called shishparak, served in a cream sauce. Preparing them is similar to making perogies.| Rebecca Lippiatt
A glass jar shapes the dough for the meat dumplings called shishparak, served in a cream sauce. Preparing them is similar to making perogies.| Rebecca Lippiatt
Lila, who immigrated from Syria 11 months ago, leads this week’s class. She breaks into a song and dance while she teaches the group to cook traditional Syrian food. Lila wants to open her own restaurant in Edmonton.| Rebecca Lippiatt
Lila, who immigrated from Syria 11 months ago, leads this week’s class. She breaks into a song and dance while she teaches the group to cook traditional Syrian food. Lila wants to open her own restaurant in Edmonton.| Rebecca Lippiatt
Zafar takes photos of the class to share with his wife, who was unable to attend. | Rebecca Lippiatt
Zafar takes photos of the class to share with his wife, who was unable to attend. | Rebecca Lippiatt
The group eats together. The raez bhaleb (rice pudding, flavoured with rose water, almonds and pistachios) is dessert. | Rebecca Lippiatt
The group eats together. The raez bhaleb (rice pudding, flavoured with rose water, almonds and pistachios) is dessert. | Rebecca Lippiatt

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