Last night, on what turned out to be American Thanksgiving, the African refugees cooked dinner in the Poggio Alla Croce community centre kitchen.
Italians know very little of African food but after long discussions with the students, a shopping list was created. Two kilos of beef, okra, onions, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, peanut butter and rice were some of the ingredients.
Italians don’t use peanut butter often and it’s considered somewhat exotic but we were able to find it at Pegna in Firenze.
Vivi market, our go-to shop for international food, surprisingly had no African food at all!
We found Okra from only one vendor in the Mercato Centrale.
Our language class on Thursday was hands-on and included new vocabulary words for the Africans, (cucinare, tagliare, la pentola for example) as well as new culinary techniques for the Italians. Okra was a new vegetable experience that is an excellent thickening agent but not such a tasty vegetable unless eaten raw, according to Elettra.
To add peanut butter to the stew was surprising but very delicious to the Italian palate when we sat down to eat together.
We were a cross-section of humanity- Young men from all parts of Africa with unique backgrounds and stories, middle-aged Italian activists, a Filipino man who recently arrived via Libya, an Italian culinary student and myself.
Enjoy the Slideshow!
And please take a look here at our GoFundMe campaign- We are halfway to our goal to raise enough money for a year of Internet access in the makeshift classroom.If you have donated, you have my heartfelt thanks and if you are still considering a donation, you are joining a worthy cause.