“This is the time and place for the Indigenous food movement. The Western perspective may see us as a trend or a fad, but we’ve always been here; we’ve just been overlooked. Not only did our ancestors survive colonization, but so did our ingredients.”
The immigrant and refugee women who cook at Comal are participants in that experience, not simply hourly workers in a cafe. They are cultural ambassadors to the surrounding community, sharing recipes, techniques, and stories. They cook food that humanizes and equalizes.
The message is to slow down. Gather around the bread making or the smell of sautéing onion. Let that capture your attention, get involved. It is innate within you already.
“Food sovereignty is reconnecting to and celebrating one’s roots and ancestry and not needing to ask permission to feed yourself, your family and your community foods that are culturally appropriate.”
Elsi encourages others to look at Slow Food, to pick and choose what can be applied to the needs of their community and adding their own “flavor” to it, much the way her residents use the fruits of the community garden. Nothing makes her smile more than walking into the garden to a chorus of, “my grandma used to make that!”