Flavors from Home
Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
304 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 60 b&w photos, 1 map
- Published: March 2015
Each year, the United States legally resettles tens of thousands of refugees who have fled their homelands. Refugees, unlike economic migrants, are forced to leave their countries of origin or are driven out by violence or persecution. As these individuals and their families struggle to adapt to a new culture, the kitchen often becomes one of the few places where they are able to return "home." Preparing native cuisine is one way they can find comfort in an unfamiliar land, retain their customs, reconnect with their past, and preserve a sense of identity.
In Flavors from Home, Aimee Zaring shares fascinating and moving stories of courage, perseverance, and self-reinvention from Kentucky's resettled refugees. Each chapter features a different person or family and includes carefully selected recipes. These traditional dishes have nourished both body and soul for people like Huong "CoCo" Tran, who fled South Vietnam in 1975 when Communist troops invaded Saigon, or Kamala Pati Subedi, who was stripped of his citizenship and forced out of Bhutan because of political and religious persecution.
Whether shared at farmers' markets, restaurants, community festivals, or simply among friends and neighbors, these native dishes contribute to the ongoing evolution of American comfort food just as the refugees themselves are redefining what it means to be American. Featuring more than forty recipes from around the globe, Flavors from Home reaches across the table to explore the universal language of food.
"Zaring should be commended for transcending language and cultural barriers to document the international language of all people -- food and cooking." -- Maggie Green, author of The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook
"We hope that the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky will read this book to better understand the positive changes being made by these refugees. It will appeal to everyone with a love of food and/or an interest in evolving culture." -- Paul & Angela Knipple, authors of The World in a Skillet: A Food Lover's Tour of the New American South
"These short biographies are uplifting and the recipes tantalizingly appealing." -- San Francisco Book Review
"Their stories are heartbreaking, exciting, and remarkable, and they are now available in a cookbook as compelling as any work of fiction." -- Arts Louisville
"Through the author's entry into the kitchen and foodways of a representative cross section of our diverse refugee population, we truly are made to feel 'at home' with our new neighbors .This book plays a vital role in breaking down barriers. The universal language of food and the sharing in the breaking of bread, provide an 'in' for those unfamiliar with refugee resettlement who might be curious about all the newcomers in town but are unsure how to connect." -- Sophie Maier, Immigrant Services Librarian, Louisville Free Public Library
"Food is best served with a healthy portion of love and personality. That's exactly what Aimee Zaring's scrumptious book, Flavors from Home, delivers. In addition to accessible culinary instruction on an array of global recipes, readers receive the vivid life histories of the cooks themselves. What comes through most poignantly is the resilience and hope of these cooks--people who change the place they've come to as much as they are changed by it. Cookbook? Biography? History? Personal essay? Yes. Flavors from Home is all of the above, and then some. Read it (snacks within reach!) and redefine your sense of the kitchen, and Kentucky, as refuge." -- Neela Vaswani, author of You Have Given Me a Country
"In Flavors from Home, Aimee Zaring has crafted not just a book of delicious recipes, but a beautiful meditation on exile, place, and cultural identity. The moving stories of these cooks and their recipes are a feast for the spirit." -- Jason Howard, author of A Few Honest Words
"In this beautifully written and completely original book, Zaring has done much more than interview refugees and collect their recipes. Instead, she has managed to articulate what binds us all together as people hungry for good food, community, and places to call home. Flavors from Home is an important and delightful book that will make you realize that we all have much more in common than we think, will shine light on culture and history that we don't often hear about, and will make your mouth water. Delicious in every way." -- Silas House, author of Clay's Quilt and Eli the Good and NEH Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College
"A unique celebration of community that's appropriate for the bookshelves of adventurous foodies -- and good neighbors." -- LEO Weekly
""[ Flavors from Home] offers refugees a chance to document and share the multiple ways in which food has served them, and it introduces general readers and cooks to the idea that there can be much more to a recipe than simply another way to make a meal, demonstrating that food provides many kinds of sustenance."" -- Lucy Long, Digest: a journal of foodways & culture