Suzanne Franklin, Board Member, Chicago Cultural Alliance
Taste from Home is a collection of recipes and stories can be used as a way to connect with others and facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity over a new recipe.
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Years ago, my husband and I were Peace Corps volunteers in the remote village of Beysehir Turkey. We were young and very idealistic and were assigned to teach English in schools. Speaking very little Turkish, we felt overwhelmed and challenged navigating each day.
After several lonely months, one family opened their home and hearts to us. It was a passport into each other’s worlds. As we practiced our Turkish and became familiar with Turkish culture, they shared with us their lives and their dreams. We cherished our weekends together sharing meals and friendship. Their willingness to accept us was such a generous act and a lesson that has endured with us throughout our lives.
I first learned of Turkish lentil soup one memorable fall day. A neighbor of our family hosted us to dinner. I remember sitting with the mother and daughter of the house as we talked and laughed together. They embraced me as a daughter and a sister. They taught me not only how to make this delicious soup but, so much more in life. When I close my eyes, I can see us practicing Turkish and talking about our lives as we sipped Turkish tea, chopped onions, picked fresh tomatoes from their garden, and served this yummy soup with freshly baked bread for dinner. It was a wonderful afternoon that has lingered until now.
Whenever I make this soup, which has become a family legend, I think of that afternoon and smile and, share this story with all my guests and the many life lessons it has taught me.
Opening windows to other cultures is why I am so proud to be a board member of the Chicago Cultural Alliance. In these challenging times, we especially need to open our hearts and our wallets to help in the work of Alliance whose mission is to promote, connect, and support a more diverse and inclusive Chicago. At this critical juncture, please stand with me in making a difference by making a donation today.
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