Food is so much more than something we eat. Some of our best memories are ones gathered with family and friends around the dinner table or in the kitchen learning an old family recipe. Food shines a light on our diversity, by providing a glimpse into our histories and cultures, and fosters inclusion by bringing us all to the table.
Food is a universal vehicle for bringing people together – bridging different cultures, traditions and conversations. And what better way to celebrate diversity month – than through our taste buds? To recognize the occasion, we asked a few of our TC Energy Inclusion Champions to share their stories – what good food means to them and everything that comes with it. From family traditions to ingredients that bring their dishes to life, here’s a front-row seat into their history, culture and what makes them who they are.
Mexican food is one of the most famous cuisines of the world. In it, you can find fruits, vegetables, herbs, rice, beans, corn, pork, chicken, fish, octopus, shrimp, rabbit – even crickets, ants and worms! Depending on the region, you’ll certainly find different traditions, tastes and styles - but what is consistent everywhere? The intensity of the delicious flavors.
Coming from the Yucatan Peninsula myself, where our local cuisine has been recognized worldwide, one of my greatest pleasures is eating. My family has a tradition to celebrate all important holidays together by sharing a meal: Mother’s Day, Day of the Dead, Christmas, New Year’s – all of them! For us, those days mean getting together and cooking. This tradition comes from my grandmother who’s passed it down to us throughout the years, preserving family recipes and keeping us close. I can go anywhere in Mexico, or even to different countries around the world, and I will always find the ingredients to taste and enjoy my delicious memory meals on those special days.
My favorite meals to eat and flavor profiles to create are dishes and flavors that originated in other cultures. I would eat literally ANYTHING if it was prepared for and shared with me by a generous host. I find extra special joy in knowing exactly where food comes from and it’s important for me to know that my food is raised/harvested ethically and sustainably. We raise our own chickens for fresh eggs and now that Spring is here, it’s time to get the garden going again!
My favorite family tradition surrounding food is our annual salmon fishing trip. Every July, my family travels from the Northeast corner of Washington State (Spokane), to the state's Southwest Corner (Ilwaco). My mother and father have been fishing out of the Port of Ilwaco since the 70’s. It means a lot to continue this tradition with them and to include the next generation as well. In just two days, we can catch enough fish that each of our households can have a salmon dinner once a week for most of the year.
Many people say that music is the universal language and I believe that’s true… to some extent. In my opinion, food is a universal language with many different accents, just like language. Food is the key link that connects us to each other. Through challenges and successes, we all turn to food and share it with our loved ones.
I was born in Canada, but my family is from Colombia. At an early age, my parents instilled in my sister and I the importance of appreciating food and always be open to trying new dishes. In Canada, they don’t have the same ingredients you would commonly find in Colombia, but my parents took this as a challenge to add their own touch to different dishes.
The colour of our dishes is what you see first when a dish is served. The more colour you add the more appetizing it looks and the more likely you are to enjoy it. Although there are select Colombian and Latin American dishes like empanadas, arepas, and tamales (only to name a few), where the main ingredient is rice – our dishes also include spice and colour. In any dish, we try to include at least three colours to make you feel excited to eat your dinner.
Food is the recipe for how we make friends, stay connected to family, celebrate important milestones and nurture relationships despite cultural differences or language barriers. Through eating, learning and sharing good food – we are able to connect the dots in our lives and bring people together.
Open yourself up to new foods, new friends and new perspectives, and you’ll notice your table is suddenly full of good food AND great people!
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