PITTSBURGH - The food is exotic at Conflict Kitchen in Oakland, but the unfamiliar Afghan fare tasted pretty good to a group of students from Sewickely Academy recently.
“They all seemed to really enjoy it. They went back for seconds,” said teacher Michael-Ann Cerniglia.
Cerniglia uses Conflict Kitchen as a way to give her students real experience with the cultures they learn about in school.
“We want you guys today to think about the stereotypes you've heard about Afghanistan,” an employee of Conflict Kitchen told the students.
“It gives us and our students a way to talk about what is going on in the world, so that we are talking, not just about the politics but about the culture, refugees, what is going on with our soldiers,” she explained.
The food stand on Schenley Plaza serves food only from countries in conflict with the United States, like Afghanistan.
“I think Afghanistan is a good example, where, because of its history, you can see it all represented in the food,” explained Conflict Kitchen’s Culinary Director Robert Sayre.
With each authentic recipe, Sayre serves up a side of education.
The meal comes with a wrapper containing interviews with Afghanis about their life, culture and politics.
The eatery focuses less on the conflict between governments and more on people.
“We want to bypass that level of conflict and talk about the people of the countries,” said Sayre. “Quite often, the people of the countries have more in common than we realize.”
The menu changes every three months or so.
In the past, Iran, North Korea and Cuba have been featured.
Venezuelan food will be featured in July and Palestinian in September.