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Food Is More Than Calories: The Meaning Of Macaroni In A Refugee Camp

Georgian cuisine includes elaborate banquets called Supras, featuring many dishes, piled high on the table. (Thiery/Flickr)

Food is about kinship. Food is about love. Food is about generosity and hospitality. Food is about cultural identity--and all of those factors were neglected when they were given macaroni.

This week's show features an interview with Dr.Elizabeth Dunn, professor of Geography and International Studies at Indiana University. Elizabeth Dunn is also a food scholar. She studies food and immigration.

In a compelling piece in the Iowa Review, called “A Gift from the American People,

she writes about how food is so much more than a substance that keeps us alive, so much more than mere calories. She reflects on the approach of humanitarian aid organizations that often fail to understand this when providing food aid to displaced people.

Alex Chambers spoke with Elizabeth Dunn in our studio recently. He asked about her experiences working in refugee camps in The Former Soviet Republic of Georgia after ethnic conflict in the breakaway province of South Ossetia.

Learn more about the conflict in South Ossetia:

Scars linger for Georgian refugees, New York Times

Russo-Georgian War, Wikipedia

Along A Shifting Border, Georgia And Russia Maintain An Uneasy Peace, NPR

Learn more about the current global refugee crisis:

The UN High Commission On Human Rights (UNHCR) figures at a glance

The Global Refugee Crisis, Region by Region, New York Times

U.N. sounds alarm on South Sudan as Africa's biggest refugee crisis looms, Reuters

Music on this week's show:

"Waiting Itself" from Clear Language by Balmorhea

The Earth Eats' theme music is composed by Erin Tobey and performed by Erin and Matt Tobey.

Stories On This Episode

Radish and Butter Baguettes

Run your stale baguettes briefly under running water, pop them into a very hot oven for 5-8 minutes, and they'll taste freshly baked!

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