Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension

Nourish and celebrate

A new video collection invites you into local home kitchens where families pass on stories, recipes and cultural remedies.

Discovering the deeper meaning behind recipes

Elizabeth Quillo (r) and her daughter Ch’aska Maria making Torrejas de Quinoa

Winter is the perfect time to gather with loved ones, put on an apron and make a mess of the kitchen. As we pull out cookbooks, shuffle through recipe cards or share secret family ingredients, we are reminded of all who came before us and nourished us.

Behind the hands who wrote the recipes are stories celebrating heritage, history and culture. Passing on recipes is another way we can continue to share stories from one generation to the next. 

Food, culture, healing and wellness

To explore the unique ways we heal and tell stories through cooking and food, University of Minnesota Extension educators created the "Nourish: Cultural remedies" project that includes a playlist of videos that center on food, culture and wellness.

Coming together with community members and families, the goal of the project was to bring greater health across cultures by preserving cultural wisdom and celebrating the healing power of food.

"There are so many things that we don’t understand about healing," says Elizabeth Quillo, Extension SNAP-Ed educator. "Food is a constant thing that we have to have every day, so why not make it meaningful spiritually, physically, historically, and in every way." Quillo teaches for the University of Minnesota’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) team to help low-income individuals and families make diet and lifestyle choices to improve their health.

The power of storytelling

Torrejas de quinoa

"We had this idea for people to see the stories through our cooking and by celebrating our cultures," says Quillo.

Quillo and her daughter Ch’aska Maria tell their story with a dish called Torrejas de Quinoa. Mixing fresh vegetables like bell peppers, onion, carrots and peas to make these burger-like quinoa patties, Quillo recalls the memories behind the dish, which was taught to her by her dear Mamá María in Peru.

"It's full of memories and reminds me of how I was cared for by her, and I want to give that back through this recipe."

As Quillo reflects and reminisces on these memories with her daughter, cooking transforms into healing. 

"That time with her was precious. We both have been through a lot and it was a special way for my daughter to hear stories of Mamá María."

Nourishing our communities, bodies and souls 

As each video shares its own unique story, there is a celebration of the commonalities and differences between and among cultures. Leading with the intention of learning was crucial for the team in this project. 

"If we want to know how to support our communities, we need to have the attitude that we are here to learn from our communities and learn from each other," Quillo shares.

The team hopes through this experiential learning viewers are able to appreciate the greater meaning and purpose behind traditional foods we share with our families and communities.

"Cooking with my family is something so intimate and that feeds my heart," Quillo says. "These food traditions and memories in the kitchens and our communities are what we can use to nourish our souls and bodies."

Come in to the kitchen

With videos celebrating Quechua, Dominican, Mexican, Karen, African American, Chinese, Ojibwe and Lakota cultural remedies, Nourish invites the viewer into a series of kitchens. Hear families tell stories, share wisdom and offer love through food.

Watch the "Nourish: Cultural remedies" videos

Permission is granted to news media to republish our news articles with credit to University of Minnesota Extension. Images also may be republished; please check for specific photographer credits or limited use restrictions in the photo title.

Related topics: Family Featured news
Page survey

© 2024 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.