What do refugees have that people in Missoula, Montana generally do not? For one thing, deep understanding of the food from their old homes. That treasure of knowledge and skill has been harnessed by a Missoula social service agency, United We Eat @Home. The organization lined up refugee chefs with a commercial kitchen and a crowd of customers who get on the phone to order the day’s take-out meals the minute they go on sale. Good luck beating your way through the competition — often enough the meals sell out in less than 30 minutes.
Among the dishes available: baba ganoush, halawa bi smeed (a pistachio-topped semolina pudding), beef kofta, and potato pakura. Needless to say, these are not items on the standard Missoula menu.
Everybody wins: the chefs supplement their family income with food sales, and the Montanans get delicious, exotic meals otherwise unavailable. Read more in the New York Times story that describes the program: Missoula’s Most in-Demand Kitchen Is Run by Refugees.