Taste of Home

Cooking and eating together allows valuable exchange to take place

Sharing food is one of the most natural forms of hospitality – a gesture anchored in all cultures. And it’s not just food that’s served. Sitting down together at a table to eat, enjoy and talk together creates formative connections. Whether in the intimate family setting, or at big events with friends and guests – we share stories as well as food. And it’s especially in hindsight that we recognize just how important those moments, how much a part of our identity they are. Playing around with a little sister over meze and hummus, surrounded by the whole family, the smell of cake with hand-plucked plums from grandma’s garden, the pot full of steaming soup after a winter walk with friends … It’s smells and rituals like these that awaken a sense of home, one which we often aren’t aware of until it’s gone.

At the same time, shared experiences can create new feelings of identity. And since the path to integration leads through the stomach, neighborhood residents, refugees from a nearby emergency shelter, and other friends meet up regularly at Markthalle Neun for the Heimattafel (Home Table). We all bring something yummy, or cook it in the Kantine kitchen and then eat it together. Dishes that remind us of home – whether it’s semolina or Syrian parsley fritters – we share it all. What’s a better place to make new friends than in the kitchen and at the table? There’s lots to talk about: “Mmmm, that tastes good! What’s in it? How did you make it?” Communication via culinary art. For the Stadt Land Food festival, the Heimattafel will have its first big edition on Monday, 3 October with around 100 guests. The Heimattafel exemplifies the festival’s theme of “identity?“ by bringing various food cultures, and cultural identities together with the lovely act of sharing a meal.

And it’s an example of how the first steps toward integration can be made possible through culinary exchange. Everywhere in Berlin, Germany, Europe and the whole world, there are emergency shelters housing refugees. We hope lots of people will catch on to our idea – and enable more exchange on equal footing, and the creation of a warm and open home for everyone we share space with. Lots of get-togethers that create new positive memories, a mutual sense of home and expand our understanding of identity.


Lili Ingmann

Everyone is invited: Come to our extralong Heimattafel at Markthalle Neun at 3pm on Monday, October 3rd. Bring food for two and your friends!