Cookbook Benefits Refugee Services of Texas

Refugee Services of Texas recently released Plated Stories: Legacies from Home to Table, a book featuring first-hand accounts of the resettlement experience, personal stories from survivors of trafficking, and delicious recipes from all over the world.

The cookbook, released by one of the state’s leading refugee resettlement programs and service providers for human trafficking survivors June 20 on World Refugee Day, tells the stories of refugees, asylum seekers, and survivors of trafficking from Africa, Central America, Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, as they recount their journeys fleeing from war, persecution, and trafficking situations to find safety and opportunity in Texas.

“With record numbers of refugees coming from Afghanistan and from Ukraine, it’s more important than ever that people hear these stories and connect with the common humanity we all share,” said Ashley Faye, writer of Plated Stories and senior director of development at RST. “Food and stories are common denominators to our collective humanity, so we hope this book will foster understanding and appreciation for all the cultural flavors our world has to offer. I hope readers will find as much enjoyment and fulfillment in the book as we did in creating it.”

Donations made toward ordering the cookbook go directly toward the work at Refugee Services of Texas, which serves vulnerable populations through dedicated case managers who help individuals and families find housing, services, schooling, and job opportunities in Texas.

The U.S. Refugee Admissions program has been slow to rebuild after the previous presidential administration. With less than three months remaining in the federal fiscal year, the U.S. is on track to resettle just 18,900 refugees in FY 2022 – not close to the ceiling that the Biden administration set at 125,000. The world is seeing record displacement of vulnerable populations, with more than 84 million people being forced from their homes because of violence, persecution, and natural disaster. Only a fraction of a fraction of those displaced persons will ever be granted resettlement in another country, much less the United States.

Jessica Goudeau, the award-winning author lauded in The New York Times Book Review for her novel After the Last Border, wrote the foreword to Plated Stories and says, “These recipes are infused with memories of home and family, with old traditions that will never be forgotten and new friends who provide hope even in the midst of starting over. As we expand our palates and our experiences through these stories, we are receiving one of the greatest gifts in the human experience: a bond with people from around the world who are just like us.”

Plated Stories features recipes from 21 contributors – everything from Egyptian spinach stew to Salvadoran stuffed tortillas to Vietnamese taro pudding to Croatian pastry – with easy instructions and culture-specific twists in each recipe.

The cookbook features photography y Nitya Jain and food styling by Darcy Folsom. It was designed by Sheena Wendt with support from Emily Person and Harper McKnight. Funding was provided by University Presbyterian Church, Julie van de Zande, Max Hoberman, Kay Mailander, and Covenant Church.

To order the book for a minimum $50 donation, visit Refugee Services of Texas’ website.

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