The Cooks’ Alliance from ten villages displayed an array of delicious traditional foods at the NESFAS office today. These ten villages are to host international and national delegates in their villages on the fourth day of the Indigenous Terra Madre (ITM) 2015 slated for November.
The spread consisted of dishes made with wild edibles, snacks, salads, chutneys, broths and meats as samplings of what the communities will be serving to the visiting delegates. The dishes on display included ‘pu tyndong’ – rice snack cooked in hollow bamboo barrel, ‘pu thap’ – boiled rice cake, ‘doh shalynnai’ – fried paddy fish and ‘dohthlie’ – fish cooked with bamboo shoot water among others. These villages have taken the onus to welcome the delegates and share a day in their lives with them. The excitement has been building up and each of the communities have planned for the fast approaching day in detail. They all wish to welcome their guests in the best possible way and intend to showcase their culture there through dance, music and food. In preparation, the ten communities gathered today presented their menus to the Flavor Development Department of NESFAS in hopes to take away reviews on the foods prepared by them so as to be able to improve upon them. Kong Theina Shabong and Aisi Kharnaior from Pyrda expressed their excitement and hopes that the visitors will enjoy their food. “I hope they like our food. We are proud to have the opportunity to host people from all over the world. We will do our best and cook with our hearts. I wish to welcome the delegates and let them know that we are excited to have them. We really hope that their visit is memorable and that they feel like visiting us again,” said Kong Theina.
Kong Plantina from Khweng spoke about how she was happy to have had the opportunity to present their food prior to the event. “I look forward to suggestions on how to improve my dishes because I want our guests to go back happy,” she said. An owner of a Mei-Ramew Cafe, Kong Plantina served traditional foods from Ri-Bhoi. Her dishes are unique as she mostly works with wild plants foraged from forests surrounding her villages. The staffs tasting the had shining review of the dishes. “Healthy on the stomach, delightful on the palate,” said one of them. The food in general was wholesome, simple and mild. By having the communities, as co-hosts of the event, and giving them the opportunity to showcase their cultures and traditional foods, NESFAS hopes to reinstall pride among these communities and provide a global platform where they can showcase their cultural and culinary heritage. The ten villages include Pyrda, Diewlieh, Nongtraw, Laitsopliah, Nongwah and Mawhiang from the East Khasi Hills District; Khweng from the Ri-Bhoi District; Moosakhia and Mulieh from West Jaintia Hills; and Dombah from West Khasi Hills.
Organized by NESFAS, the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty, Slow Food International and 41 host villages which include the ten mentioned above, ITM 2015, will be a cultural melting pot that will see the participation of no less than 52 countries and more than 70 indigenous communities from all over the world. The first three days of the 5 day event will take place at the North eastern Hill University Shillong while the forth will take the delegates to some of the villages that are co-hosting the event. ITM 2015 will culminate in a gala food festival that will take place at the Sacred Groves in Lawkyntang, Mawphlang.