These are just a few of the foods and beverages featured in Global Press Eats, an all-new section of Global Press Passport, the Global Press membership experience.
Global Press Eats asks GPJ reporters to explore the culture of food in their local communities by interviewing cooks, chatting with customers, investigating the history of specific ingredients in traditional food and even providing recipes to give the reader a chance to taste for themselves.
So why, after 11 years of reporting on these communities, is Global Press now writing about food? What does a recipe for traditional Nepalese porridge have to do with international news?
What, where and how we eat says a lot about what’s happening in our local – and global – communities.
Where, for example, are cooks sourcing their ingredients? Are they importing items? Are the vegetables they use being grown locally? Answers to these questions give us clues about food security and food sovereignty around the world.
By telling these stories, GPJ reporters reveal information about the local economy, food systems, politics, trends in health and wellness, tradition, culture and globalization. And they remind us that a love of food is one of humanity’s universal commonalities.
In Sri Lanka, GPJ senior reporter Manori Wijesekera featured Chef Publis, who makes a traditional dish, manioc roti (read the story here), with a fresh and healthy flair. For Chef Publis, manioc roti is a nostalgic dish. It reminds him of cooking with his mother when he was young. Today he makes the dish according to tradition and leaves out processed or artificial ingredients. Then, he adds an abundance of natural fruits and vegetables.
The fact that Chef Publis actively works to include fresh ingredients is telling. As the editor on the story, it made me wonder why. What’s changed in the years that Chef Publis has been eating and making manioc roti that’s made it necessary for him to actively pursue fresh ingredients? Was there a change in local food systems? His story reflects change in local health consciousness and that in itself is important.
Food can be controversial too. On July 1, we published the latest Passport, which featured an all new batch of Global Press Eats. This edition included a story by GPJ reporter Kudzai Mazvarirwofa, featuring Chef Cola, the first black female vegan chef in Harare, Zimbabwe, and her trending vegan dinner series (read that story here).
The story touches on the concept of veganism in Zimbabwe, where meat is an essential part of local culture. But the story, Mazvarirwofa’s accompanying blog and the podcast, dove deeper to explore the relationship between race, privilege, animal rights and veganism.
Mazvarirwofa’s story is a perfect example of how a seemingly simple story about a vegan chef is actually about so much more. It speaks to the power of food to bring people together, to spark conversations, and to tell stories about the world around us – one ingredient at a time.