When I first started Many Kitchens, I was very clear that my aim was to find the best cuisine from all around the globe being made in the United States. In order to have enough diversity as an online marketplace, I actively searched for exotic foods and immigrant producers who could create them most authentically. Today, Many Kitchens works with artisans who have come to America from all over the world and our tables are so much richer for them. I can’t imagine how bland our lives would be without gastronomic diversity or what that would even look like? No delicate saffron, no complex Zaatar, no fiery curries?
Last week, I met with the indefatigable, passionate, talented and utterly stunning (inside and out) Hawa Hassan. Immigration is on the forefront of all our minds but especially hers. Like me, she’s an immigrant but unlike me, she was born in Somalia. I can’t even begin to understand the challenges she has faced and is now being faced with again. Just before we parted, Hawa encapsulated what I have been struggling to say in one beautifully eloquent sentence, “Food is a passport.” Her addictive and versatile Somali sauces were an entirely new discovery for me and a reminder of how much of the world I have yet to discover.
It is thanks to Hawa and others like her, that we get to travel the globe without ever having to leave our kitchens. So in lieu of a recipe this week, I’d like to take a moment to express my gratitude to all our producers, whether they be immigrants or descendants of immigrants, for enriching our palates and ensuring that our community is so much more than the sum of its parts.