Wednesday August 1, 2018
By BETH DOOLEY
This cookbook is the first in this country to focus on Somali cuisine.
For the nine young authors of “Soo Fariista/ Come Sit Down: A Somali American Cookbook”
(Minnesota Historical Society Press, 183 pages, $24.95), who are part
of Wariyaa, Somali Youth in Museums, cinnamon-spiced lamb and
lime-infused semolina cake is the taste of home.
colorful, enticing book is the result of a yearlong program for Somali
teens offered by the Somali Museum of Minnesota (1516 E. Lake St., Suite
11, Mpls., 612-234-1625; somalimuseum.org).
“Food is a
tool to touch history and identity,” writes Osman Mohamed Ali, the
museum’s founder and executive director. The youth — Abdirahman,
Abdikarim, Abdiwahid, Asha, Hamdi, Hamse, Hamze, Hoda, Naima — found
their way here from Syria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya and Somalia,
and became friends through this project as they explored kackac, bur and
halwad (tea, beignets and sweets).They interviewed family elders, community members and plumbed their own memories.
cooked, fried and learned together ... struggled to make sense of
recipes with missing information, to navigate the ever-present ‘just a
pinch’ measurement system, to assess the authenticity of the recipes
with our palates,” they write.
Here are recipes intertwined with tradition and adaptation.
cannot eat Somali spaghetti without understanding that the Italian
colonizers brought pasta with them, or jabaati [curry] without
remembering that the British brought Indian cuisine with them — and at
the same time appreciate that Somalis incorporated their own spices and
techniques into these dishes.”
recipes reflect the Somali experience in Minnesota, with locally grown
vegetables, meats, poultry, fish and rice dishes redolent with warming
spices cardamom, cinnamon, curry, cumin, coriander — and sparked with
garlic, chile and lime.
begins with a collection of traditional holiday favorites — abundant
stews, celebratory breads and delicate desserts, many with multilayered
steps that require multiple hands. Find fried pastries filled with
spiced beef, cardamom-scented flatbread and crystallized pastry shells.
The chapters that follow for breads, meat, sides and sauces, drinks and
desserts carry recipes for more accessible, simple everyday fare.
was published in conjunction with the “Somalis + Minnesota” exhibit at
the Minnesota History Center (345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul,
651-259-3000, mnhs.org/historycenter) that will run through June 2019.
exhibit tells the story of Somali culture, from traditional life in
Africa through the massive migration that began in the 1990s to today’s
large, well-established Minnesota community. Reading the stories of each
contributor and the notes on the recipes and touring the exhibit is an
introduction to the people, the history and culture of hospitality that
defines Somali identity.