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Breaking Bread: On Gastrodiplomacy

In each installment of “Breaking Bread,” Phylisa Wisdom will discuss gastrodiplomacy–using the history of different foods, and eating and cooking those foods, to foster understanding and cooperation between cultures. Think of it as breaking bread to break down barriers. We’ll explore who gastrodiplomats are and what they’re doing–or cooking–to engage in dialogue with, or about, other cultures and countries. The column will feature interviews with sassy changemakers, recipes from chefs involved in gastrodimplocatic efforts, and analysis of effective efforts (and sometimes wretched failures) from all over the world. We’re unapologetically in favor of talking politics at the dinner table.

You may have already heard the political buzz terms “culinary diplomacy” or “food diplomacy.” In the blog series, Breaking Bread, I’ll primarily use the term “gastrodiplomacy," because a new idea deserves a new, sexy name. When we talk about gastrodiplomacy, we’re talking about cultural exchange and learning via one of three avenues:

1) government to government

2) government to citizen

3) citizen to citizen