My guest for today is Shayma Saadat, an internationally published food writer, food photographer, teacher and public speaker. Shayma specializes in Silk Road Cuisine, her chosen name for a style of cooking that incorporates her Afghan, Pakistani, and Persian heritage. Just this past July, Shayma presented a paper at The Oxford Symposium on Food titled “Food Reimagined: Diasporic Identity and Authenticity” Her paper discusses the role of food in nostalgia and also - super interestingly to me - the concept of “authenticity”, especially in Eastern cuisines, and why that can be a problematic and limiting word used to label foods. While Shayma is a scholar, a writer, and an academic, she is also a truly wonderful guest who talks about this topic of authenticity, food, and nostalgia from a very deeply personal perspective. I can’t wait for you to hear this episode - and to try Shayma’s truly perfect Chana Masala with just one secret surprised ingredient inspired by her own travels and memories.
Listen Now to Shayma Saadat, Presenter at The Oxford Symposium for Food
Highlights of "I'm Confused! Isn't 'Authentic' a GOOD Thing?"
- What is the diaspora?
- Food as identity for members of the diaspora
- 3 points to her paper - 1) food, nostalgia, identity and 2) ?? 6:50 3) how those in the diaspora are re-imagining and
- Is authenticity and inauthenticity in food a false binary? is there grey area?
- Why is it harmful to label Eastern food as authentic or inauthentic?
- Who is it doing the labeling?
- The constant push and pull between old and new generations, the static and the dynamic
- How to approach changing a recipe from another culture
- Traditional vs. authentic
- "Made in Pakistan, assembled abroad"
- Shayma's path from
- A Pakistani and Persian heritage then her path Pakistan to Washington DC to Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, UK, Massachusetts, Rome to Canada
- A love story that brought Shayma's great-great-grandfather from Iran to Pakistan, and how Shayma learned this story
- The similarities and differences between Afghani, Pakistani, Punjabi, and Persian foods
- Rice as The Queen of Dishes
- Cooking, authenticity, legacies, and the cycle of life
- "I don't have a sweet tooth; I have a carb tooth" 🙂
- Using the water in the cans with the beans
- The sentimental reason Shayma uses Aleppo pepper in her Chana Masala
- How did Shayma build a career in food while working as an Economist and become a full-time member of the food community
- Why being a food blogger is Shayma's biggest honor
- "We don't always want to talk about the trauma and loss. I want to talk about the beauty of that world and I want to talk about my heritage."
Recipes Associated with this Episode
Connect with Shayma Saadat of Spice Spoon
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The concept of The Storied Recipe is unique - every guest gives me a recipe that represents a cherished memory, custom, or person. I actually make, photograph, and share the recipe. During the interview, I discuss the memories and culture around the recipe, and also my experience (especially my mistakes and questions!) as I tried it. My listeners and I are a community that believes food is a love language unto itself. With every episode, we become better cooks and global citizens, more grateful for the gift of food, and we honor those that loved us through their cooking.
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