The recipe for changing the world through food
At lunchtime, the plate in front of us is much more than a plate. It is an element that can connect people, stories and territories; that can bring opportunities and promote collective action. Because, after all, what we eat speaks of who we are and what our network of relationships is, what our cities and our governments are like, and it also says what our history as humans is like.
From this perspective, Esto no es (solo) un libro de recetas… es una forma de cambiar el mundo [This is not (just) a recipe book… It is a way to change the world], a publication by Instituto Comida do Amanhâ, UNIRIO and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung – Brasil Foundation is now also available in Spanish thanks to CEMAS. This is a book that aims to highlight the traditional recipes of the Brazilian territory. To this end, it highlights the importance of taste and food culture while challenging readers to see food as a resource that connects us to the world and to who we are. The initiative was born in Brazil, but one only has to read the principles on which it is based to see that it has an impact throughout the world, since its proposals can be extrapolated to other territories and communities.
As the title indicates, this is a recipe book that includes tips and information on the ingredients of the region. But it is also a look to the future, one that has a markedly political character, because it clearly sets out the challenges we face, presenting possible solutions and showing us that, through cooking, we can all be part of a movement for improvement.
Connected to the world and to history through every plate
The booklet is also beautiful and friendly. Its pages promote interdisciplinarity, and the values of community and collaboration; they show the power of affability and celebrate taste, coexistence and the ability to share stories.
As José Graziano da Silva, Special Advisor to the Instituto Comida do Amanhã and former Director General of the FAO, explains in his foreword, “this book … must cross borders and propose a closer possibility of action, by uniting efforts and themes with the same variety of spices and flavours, so characteristic of our food culture”.
This publication expands on the need for local governments and national policies to respond to the major challenges of today’s food systems. These include increasing rates of obesity and undernutrition, the need to rethink the rural-urban border, the importance of local food production, school feeding policies, food policies in contexts of vulnerability, and the loss of biodiversity.
As Vicente Domingo, director of CEMAS, noted at the presentation of the book: “Eating is not only a physiological need, it is part of our sense of belonging to a community and a sign of identity. If we want to study in depth how to improve the relationship between cities and food, we have to touch on different areas of knowledge: gender perspectives, urbanism, climate change, food waste, local markets, Big Data and immigration. We need to think of them as interacting planets, through collaborative work, involving academics, agricultural producers, consumers, private sector workers and public policy makers, so that local responses can be applied to solve global needs. This book is a guide, a compass that shows us the way and it is an honour for CEMAS to take part in its translation and to be part of this path that makes the challenges of our food systems visible”.