In the Migrant Kitchen

Sara moves around the large kitchen with laser-like focus, filling a tea glass of water to add to a heaping pot of saffron rice with one hand while sautéing a pan of tart, red dried berries, walnuts, raisins and slivered almonds with the other. The resulting dish, zereshk polow (barberry rice), is a
Zereshk polow in progress.
popular one in Sara’s home country of Iran, but not so easy to make in neighboring Turkey, where she is living as a refugee...

When the International Organization for Migration’s Turkey office and the food website Culinary Backstreets first organized their "Migrant Kitchen" events last year, the rare chance to eat authentic Ethiopian, Filipino, and other foreign cuisines in Istanbul brought variety-starved expat foodies (myself included) out in droves. This year, I got the chance to peek into the kitchen while Sara, an Iranian refugee, cooked up a traditional feast, and to talk to her about her family's struggles in Turkey and the role food plays in creating a little sense of home in a strange and not always welcoming land.

Read the rest of my article, "Refugees Speak In The Universal Language Of Food In Turkey," on Zester Daily.