Language Café Recipes: Recipes from the kitchens of Baltic Language Café and visitors

Language Café Recipes: Recipes from the kitchens of Baltic Language Café and visitors
Library Shelf Location ZINE-B
Publication Date 2023

How this book came to be:

Welcome to the Baltic Language Café Recipe book. It isn’t your ‘typical’ cookbook, it is a community collaboration between the participants in Language Café, the public at Baltic and visitors to Baltic’s travelling exhibition ‘What’s for Tea’. It is a portal offering a window into other people's kitchens, shared memories and stories. To get the best out of this book you need to get to know a bit about Language Café first.

Language café started in 2020 as part of Baltic’s Neighbourly programme. Baltic’s programme for communities asks how can we be a good neighbour to the people around us?  While we want to be a good neighbour for all the communities surrounding us, the Neighbourly programme especially thinks about creative and practical support for people seeking sanctuary. Language Café was born out of focus groups with refugees and asylum seekers locally, they let us know that they really needed more opportunities to meet new people, practice speaking English and be creative.

Due to COVID-19 the cafe started out life during lockdowns as small group online chats and cuppas. We now regularly have sixty people come together to chat, make art and eat together. Something that came up time and time again in the early online conversations was food. Favourite memories around food were shared, recipes and tips were traded. When we could meet in person, we ate together and themed the activities of the sessions around food. We thought about how we grow food, how we make our favourite meals, how we serve dishes to share them with our family and friends.

So, when Language Café was commissioned to contribute to What’s for Tea? A mobile exhibition housed in the Travelling Gallery, (a custom built mobile art gallery) we knew our work for the show needed to be about food and as the Travelling Gallery wound its way across the North East of England to schools and community centres it became the site of a recipe exchange initiated by the cafe. The recipes collected here are a product of that exchange. Hundreds of recipes were collected and language café participants alongside artists Debbie and Megan chose the recipes in the pages that follow.

How to use this book:

The recipes shared here are not from professional chefs, they are recipes that have come from many different minds and kitchens from all over the world. Some have been shared from carefully written notes passed down, others have been jotted down from memory. Cooking from this book will be a bit of an adventure, you will meet new people as you travel through it. We hope this invitation into so many different people's kitchens and memories will serve as inspiration. We see this book as a call to experiment, try something new or adapt something old. We hope that flipping through the pages will serve as an antidote to a cooking rut.

Practically speaking, there will be inconsistencies in the kinds of measurements used, and the way methods are described. This is because these recipes are still in the words and voices of the people who shared them with us. These recipes are tested by those who shared them but have not been put through the professional testing that a ‘cheffy’ cook book would be, you are invited to be a final tester.

Finally, this is not a ‘finished book’, we’ve left that up to you, you are invited to be part of the collaboration.  We like to think of it as a live book, you are invited to make notes as you test recipes, make them your own as you try them.

Thanks for joining the recipe exchange,

Baltic Language Café x

Quantity 1
Pages 40
Format Paperback (saddle stitch)
Publisher BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Month June 2023
Category Zine Collection (by appointment)
Keywords BALTIC Learning, Communities, Community Engagement, recipes, Cooking, Food (subject), Food, Cultural identity, Heritage, Baltic Language Cafe, Memories
Related Events Baltic Language Café, What's for Tea? (26 February – 18 July 2022)

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