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Conflict Kitchen Reaching Hearts & Minds Through The Stomach

Photo credit: somenametoforget

Photo credit: somenametoforget

Here’s a novel – and tasty! – approach to spreading cultural awareness of all the countries on America’s enemies list:

Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict. The food is served out of a take-out-style storefront that rotates identities every six months to highlight another country.  Each iteration of the project is augmented by events, performances, and discussions that seek to expand the engagement the public has with the culture, politics, and issues at stake within the focus country. These events have included live international Skype dinner parties between citizens of Pittsburgh and young professionals in Tehran, Iran; documentary filmmakers in Kabul, Afghanistan; and community radio activists in Caracas, Venezuela.

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Operating seven days a week in the middle of the city, Conflict Kitchen reformats the preexisting social relations of food and economic exchange to engage the general public in discussions about countries, cultures, and people that they might know little about outside of the polarizing rhetoric of U.S. politics and the narrow lens of media headlines. In addition, the restaurant creates a constantly changing site for ethnic diversity in the post-industrial city of Pittsburgh, as it has presented the only Iranian, Afghan, and Venezuelan restaurants the city has ever seen. Upcoming iterations will include Cuba and North Korea.

So if you ever happen to be here in Pittsburgh, or live here already, be sure to check them out.  I confess I have not yet done so myself, but in my defense I only just heard about them this afternoon.

Rumors that local conservatives are planning a Coalition of the Willing Kitchen featuring British and Blackwater Xe Academi cuisine served with freedom fries and triple canapés have not been substantiated.

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