An authentic Syrian menu, an international guestlist, one table. An eye opening experience into Syria's culture and women
Initiated by Expat and Austrian Aid for Refugees, Food for Thought is a nonprofit group that has been successfully empowering women who have sought refuge in Vienna over the past 5 years. We organise dinner parties and events, at which we invite Syrian women to cook Syrian food. As a group, everyone then enjoys the meal together. The food offers a great introduction to Syrian culture and creates a comfortable environment for the women to interact with one another.
Our model brings Austrian, Expat, and Syrian women together in their homes to share a meal, breaking down cultural, language, and social barriers, promoting understanding and integration.
Who hosts the dinners ?The dinners take place at different locations each time. A “host” will offer up their home to hold the dinner, and together we invite friend’s and family to attend. Anyone is welcome to host the dinner. We believe that having dinner in someone's home creates a welcoming environment to both the Syrian women and dinner guests. As the majority of the menu is prepared the day before, all the host has to provide is a space to entertain and basic kitchen utensils. As a host you are welcome to decide how many people you want to invite. Or whether you would prefer to host a private event for you and your friends, or an open invitation for anyone interested.
Who prepares the food ?Syrian women who have sought refuge prepare the entire menu. The majority of preparation takes place prior to the dinner, though they will arrive 2 to 3 hours before the guests at the host's home to add the finishing touches
Why is it women only ?When Food for Thought was founded, there was much debate over whether or not to have the dinners mixed or women only. Prior to the pilot dinner the Syrian women raised their concerns, that in a social scenario they felt more comfortable in an women only environment. Also as most have young children at home if their partners were to attend, child care would be an an issue. After the pilot dinner it was clear that by keeping the events women only these circumstances also applied to many guests and created a relaxed, inclusive and respectful environment for everyone attending.
Why is it german at the table ?Since arriving in Austria all of the women have enrolled in German courses. We want to support and encourage this by offering the opportunity to practise conversational German. The majority of our guests are expats and therefore native English speakers, we believe that speaking German at the table is a great way for everyone to improve their German in a relaxed environment.
What do I bring ?Instead of bringing the traditional dinner party gifts of flowers, wine or chocolate we encourage guests to make a cash contribution to help cover the cost of ingredients. If you want to show your gratitude to the Syrian women, who have put a considerable amount of time and effort into preparing dinner for us, please feel free to contribute a gratuity.
How do I get involved ?Follow us on Facebook to sign up for upcoming events, or to get in touch if you want to host a dinner yourself.