The Twin Cities are a beautiful hub of culture and community smack dab in the middle of the midwest. Though I’ve lived here in Saint Paul for 18 years, I’ve dwelt in the outskirts, right on the border of Como and Roseville, embracing the middle-class Minnesota nice without stepping foot in entire communities that occupy my city. To claim such a diverse area as my home without having experienced it is dishonest, to myself and others.
Over these past five weeks, I have come to see a side of the city that I hadn’t known was there to explore. It’s been uncomfortable, scary (I still can’t believe I ate lamb stomach!), but so rewarding. Forcing myself to look at my home from others’ perspectives gave me the freedom to see the city as it truly is, not just what I want it to be.
Food truly does bring people together. A group of people becomes a community when gathered around a table. Immigrants and refugees build a home here by sharing their food, and by extension their culture, with others. As I move forward from this project, I am encouraged to keep living in this intentional exploration by listening and learning about others through food. I challenge myself along with all of you to find comfort zones you are living in that may be blinding you from seeing the bigger picture of the world around you. Then, push them. Explore a new area of town. Try a different restaurant. Order something bizarre from one of your favorite places. We only see as much of the world as we let ourselves, so keep your eyes, and your mouths, open.