On Wednesday night, The Welcome Project of Somerville hosted YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City at the Center for the Arts at the Armory. This was a fundraising dinner featuring ten immigrant-founded restaurants, with YUM profits benefiting The Welcome Project’s educational and cultural programs for Somerville’s immigrant community.
While attendees sampled spreads of warm goat cheese, roasted red pepper, garlic and eggplant sauce from Sabur, or kukhara ko chhoyia (Nepali dried chicken with chili and lime) from Masala, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone spoke about the importance of preserving ethnic food traditions in the battle against childhood obesity. Critical to reducing reliance on fast food, Curtatone explained, is careful attention to and appreciation of the “craftsmanship” that goes into many ethnic dishes. Curtatone cited his own Italian-American upbringing as formative in helping him to appreciate distinctive food cultures.
YUM attracted a cross-section of guests, ranging from Welcome Project corporate sponsors to its own ESL students. Live music and an open bar made the evening festive and fun.
As for me, I munched on warm tortilla chips from Maya Sol, pitted olives and small squares of feta from Istanbul, and helped myself to thirds on a steaming rice dish from Yaki & Yeti with carrots, onions, green bell peppers, tomatoes, cilantro and turmeric. During all this I dreamed of emigrating, if only for a short while, to one of these cuisine-rich countries myself.
For a full list of the delicious restaurants featured at YUM, visit their blog.