Flavors from Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods by Aimee Zaring, PDF 0813169593

April 8, 2018

Flavors from Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods

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

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About the Author

Aimee Zaring has taught ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) to refugees and immigrants through Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Global LT, Inc., and Jefferson County Public Schools. Her writing has appeared in Arts Across Kentucky, Edible Louisville, New Southerner, Louisville Courier-Journal, The Rumpus, and other publications.

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A great blend of stories of 23 refugees from 13 countries and 42 of their favorite recipes from their homelands. The stories provide a new appreciation of the hardships endured by our neighbors from other lands. Also, great if you want some additional information on special ingredients and detailed instructions while preparing ethnic foods. I highly recommend it!
Our country has served as a refuge for immigrants and refugees from varying sections of this globe. The more recent influx of new arrivals with their unique cultures and regional habits has modified and impacted this adoptive country forging it into a giant melting pot. Like the story of Stone Soup, the more recent refugees landing in Kentucky from Viet Nam, Hungary, Bosnia, Bhutan, Somalia, the Middle East, and various areas from four continents share the recipes for their favorite foods. These dishes with their traditional tastes and aromatic flavors revive memories of familial sustaining foods, and are slowly permeating the national diet. Many of the dishes will be familiar to frequenters of different ethnic restaurants. Not only are the cuisines richly described along with the exotic ingredients, these native comfort food recipes are prefaced with a portrayal of the plight of the refugees themselves. The individuals and their home backgrounds are described along with their challenges to enter and succeed in the American mainstream. These short biographies are uplifting and the recipes tantalizingly appealing.
I won a copy of Flavors from Home by Aimee Zaring in a contest sponsored by the publisher, The University Press of Kentucky. I very much enjoyed reading the stories of the refugees in Flavors from Home. Zaring told their stories in an engaging, compassionate, and fair way. While at times, Zaring seems to lean a little heavily on how much the refugees appreciate their new lives in America, she also presents the refugees as productive members of society. She tops each refugees story with a recipe from their homeland. As a vegan, I can’t imagine eating, let alone fixing, most of the recipes in this book, but there are a few I will likely adapt to vegan recipes, or at least try to. The refugees’ life stories and their relationship to the food of their homelands reminded me just how intricately food is woven into our identities. Flavors from Home demonstrates the power of food to bridge the divide between people turning strangers into friends and friends into family.

  • Title: Flavors from Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods
  • Autor: Aimee Zaring
  • Publisher (Publication Date): University Press of Kentucky; revised edition edition (January 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081316091X | 0813169593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813160917 | 978-0813169590
  • Download File Format: EPUB, PDF

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