The idea for Fusion was born following one of our annual International Evenings held within the school. Traditional and favourite dishes from parents, children and teachers are cooked at home and sampled at our pop-up restaurant in a school classroom. During the evening recipes are shared and our love of food is evident in our courage to taste new dishes from other countries; from spicy or sweet, sautéed or stir fried, slow cooked or stuffed.
With the knowledge that food can connect us no matter where we originate from we set about gathering recipes from parents and teachers to create a cookbook reflecting the diversity of cultures within our school. We collated recipes from India, France, America, Italy, Holland, Morocco, Wales, England, Ireland, Japan, Belarus, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Romania, South Africa, Turkey, Argentina, Hungary, Sri Lanka, China, Spain, Israel, North Africa, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We received recipes for smoothies and cereals, savouries and sweets, soups and starters, salads and sides, stews and seafood specialities, scones and shortbread, Shuba and Sushi; recipes with ingredients such as spinach and squash, saffron and sage, spaghetti and salmon, sugar and strawberries, squid and spuds, sausages and shanks, cinnamon and seeds, soya and soy; recipes inspired by Grandmothers and Aunts, memories and history, the Irish flag and the British Raj, traditional and religious celebrations, fussy eaters and no-waste recyclers.
Alongside recipe gathering we worked with the children in the school and the older people from Claregalway and District Day Centre where the children learnt about food production, cooking and cultural celebrations over 50 years ago. The older people learnt about the diversity of foods available today and what unusual foods the children cook and eat at home.
We also looked at food in Literature with the children and enjoyed salivating over the Tiger Who Came To Tea and ate rather too much (both the tiger and ourselves!). Children in the school also designed the food sketches in the recipe book detailing delicacies such as cupcakes and pancakes, sushi and squid – not an easy task by any means.
Having collated recipes of global origins we thought it appropriate to include information on the various religions, spiritualties and non-secular beliefs represented within the school and the food traditions related to them.
Funding towards the printing of the book was granted from Galway County Council under their European Region of Gastronomy award scheme. Match funding was kindly received from parents with businesses in the school, local businesses and individuals who supported the project (logos are printed in the back of the book); and some sponsors even contributed recipes.
And so Fusion was created; a unique, attractive and accessible cookbook with something for everyone whether you are a coeliac, vegan or carnivore; a lover of savoury, sweet or sour; a Granny, Aunt or next generation Master Chef; you will find plenty of recipes to experiment with.
Fusion: Family Recipes From CETNS is available to buy from Claregalway Educate Together National School office and is €12 per copy or 2 copies for €20. All proceeds go back into the school for educational, sports, information and technology equipment.