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San Diego Immigrants' Cookbook Makes Traditional Meals Healthier

From left to right Nadia Atef, Fatima Ahmed, Thitina Shita and Amina Sheik Mohamed are pictured in this undated photo. They are some of the contributors to a new cookbook, "Around the World at the Farmer's Market."
Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications
From left to right Nadia Atef, Fatima Ahmed, Thitina Shita and Amina Sheik Mohamed are pictured in this undated photo. They are some of the contributors to a new cookbook, "Around the World at the Farmer's Market."
San Diego Immigrants' Cookbook Makes Traditional Meals Healthier
GUESTS:Fadumo Aidid, contributor, "Around the World at the Farmer's Market" cookbook Adrienne Markworth, executive director, Leah's PantryBethlehem Degu, member, United Women of East Africa Support Team

You are listening to Midday Edition. IM Tom Fudge. Passing down family recipes makes us feel connected to elders, ancestors, and even to the memories of something we've left behind. The new cook being published in San Diego is a collection of recipes from people who now call San Diego home but who are from other parts of the world. Around the world at the Farmer's market is a new cook book that features recipes from Iraq, Uganda, Congo, and Morocco to name a few. The book focuses and healthy and affordable ways to quickly and easily make a traditional foods from around those countries. Joining me in the studio to talk about it are Fadumo Aidid, she's a contribute to the book who came to San Diego from Somalia 22 years ago. And Fadumo picture coming in. You are welcome. And Bethlehem Degu is with the nonprofit United Women of East Africa Support Team. She is an immigrant from Ethiopia . Bethlehem, thank you. It's a pleasure. Timely Adrienne is founder of please pantry. And she has published -- it's the organization that funded the cookbook. Thank you. Let me start with you Bethlehem, to continue to make foods from Ethiopia? Yes, that's very important. We have a lot of cooking classes and things going on at the center of the time. We think it's very important for us to connect with our culture. Translating these recipes that were really stored in the heads of people into specific instructions, did you see that is a challenge? Yes that was a little difficult at times. Most of the time it was passed down orally. So the first time were writing it down, it was a little difficult at first. I assume that the people you were talking to probably had to stop and think before they knew exactly what they were doing to make these dishes. No, actually which is when a marriage is cooking we usually do, and the facilitators like myself and other leaders are making sure that everything is measured and we were writing down everything. So we took care of that part. Eventually they were able to say okay, 3 teaspoons of this and 2 teaspoons of that. You also want to make sure that these recipes would be healthy.'s back yes. Tell me what it was a challenge. It wasn't too challenging. The recipes, we can modify the recipes too much, we were with the traditional ways of making it. We just found that we wanted to pick healthy, easy to make, quick things to make. Once again the kitchen, everything went well. Do have a favorite recipe? My favorite like the tomato salad, that is something I eat all the time and the red lentil. Tellis a little bit about red lentils the recipe how do you make it. We actually make it we put human, to Merrick -- cumin, to Merrick, spices, a little bit of olive oil, and a little water to boil and simmer. It's really good fast and delicious. Let me go to Fadumo Aidid. Trend 11 your favorite respin the book is Suquamish by saying that correctly Soup that. Soup yes. We also call on me out in Somalia. When you first came here 20 years ago More than 20 years ago. Was it difficult to find the ingredients? It was difficult because we didn't know where we would find them and what we are getting. The American food, that's why I get diabetes. Before I came here I got no diabetes. I was a healthy person because I was eating healthy food and fresh food. But when I came here, it's very difficult to find whatever you want or what is healthy food. It's very difficult. Let me ask you miss Bethlehem, I find it curious that the purpose of this book is to make the recipes healthy. Visits in the United States where we have the problem with diabetes, not in Somalia where there are some aspects of these recipes that made them unhealthy? No I think a lot of the women at the center that made -- helped us cook, they were very health conscious already. So they were making it -- keeping in mind to keep low-salt. It wasn't really too hard. They were already healthy. Fadumo, can you tell me a little bit about this recipe, USB that is in the cook book. Yes this recipe is very good. That's why I picked out this recipe. It has a lot of benefits that the people didn't know before. Now, we know it is very cheap, it's easy to cook, and it has its -- it's good for -- good for diabetes, calling cancer, asthma. It's easy, cheap, and has a lot of benefits. Adrienne Markworth, and return to you. She is the director of Leah's Pantry which published in funded the cookbook . Where did the idea of this cookbook come from? Back from three places. The first was from the UCSD pediatrics. Center for community health. Their workers had felt like they didn't have appropriate resources to be working with some of the refugee and immigrant communities. The same thing was happening at IRC San Diego working with the Iraqi community. Both of those organizations came to me and said we would like to make a recipe book for these recipes. We are funded by step dad, part of our scope is to create resources for statewide audiences. We had done recipe development in the past, and this seem like a great idea to combine and work with community resources. How do you hope this cookbook will be used in the community? I think it will be distributed for free to community members. It will also be on our website which is eat fresh.org which is a compile and then of 500 recipes that are you statewide and even nationally for education. A large recipe for the cookbook and tasting is being held tonight at the Copley price YMCA. It is free and open to the public. Copies of "Around the World at the Farmer's Market" will be available for free . Links and information you can find at our website including Tran11's recipe. You can find that kpbs.org. I would like to thank our three guests, Fadumo Aidid is a contributor to the cook book thank you very much. Bethlehem Degu is with the nonprofit United Women of East Africa Support Team , thank you very much, and Adrienne Markworth is founder and director of Leah's Pantry the organization the publish this could . Thank you. Thank you.

Cover of the cookbook, "Around the World At the Farmer's Market."
Cover of the cookbook, "Around the World At the Farmer's Market."

Passing down family recipes can give us a connection to the significant people and places that shaped our lives. For immigrants, traditional food is a reminder of what's been left behind.

A new cookbook being published in San Diego is a collection of recipes from women and men who've come to call San Diego home from other parts of the world. "Around the World at the Farmer's Market" features recipes from Iraq, Uganda, Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Egypt and Morocco.

Fadumo Aidid, contributor for the cookbook; Adrienne Markworth, executive director of Leah's Pantry; and Bethlehem Degu of the United Women of East Africa Support Team will talk about traditional foods Thursday on KPBS Midday Edition.

What: Cookbook Launch Party

When: Feb. 25 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Where: Copley-Price Family YMCA, 4300 El Cajon Blvd.

Event is free and open to the public.

RECIPE: Somali okra and vegetable soup, Suqaar

Ingredients (Serves 4):

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander seed

3 cups low-sodium chicken stock

3 carrots, chopped

2 medium red potatoes, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 lb fresh or frozen okra, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

½ tsp salt

black pepper to taste

¼ cup fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat oil on medium. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, cumin, and coriander. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add stock, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, and bell pepper. Stir and then boil. Reduce heat and cook 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in okra and tomato. Cook until vegetables are tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and black pepper. Garnish with cilantro before serving.