RealFoodRealFarms #2 – US Food Diplomacy 101 in Slovenia

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The Slovenia Experience

This series of podcasts will bring you along on our journey throughout Slovenia, as we meet cooks, farmers and eaters throughout the country.  We are here at the courtesy of the US State Department, who invited us to come as part of a cultural exchange intended to develop mutual understanding of food traditions and trends within our respective countries.  Parts of our visit will be filmed for a Slovenian Television show, Seasoned by Americans.

Episode 2 of our podcast covers various topics we discussed with Meghan and Maggie, Embassy employees and our hosts for the duration of our trip.  Meghan is the Deputy Public Affairs Officer, and Maggie a co-ordinator for the Embassy’s Community Liasion Office.

Our producer, Cat Williams, provided her notes on what we covered during the half hour show:

• Why food is one of the best ways to showcase the diversity of the United States.

• How to represent America in another country. Plus, Meghan and Maggie’s perspective as Americans living for several years in Slovenia.

• The story of how the culinary diplomacy project came about. “Bring some chefs over and get their hands dirty. Eat! Cook! Laugh! Talk! And do it all on television so Slovenes can get a chance to see it.”

• Cassie talks about filming the tv show Seasoned by Americans at POP-TV, Slovenia’s largest independent television station, and having to wear makeup.

• Some of the unique challenges Americans face living in Slovenia, including language barriers, searching for American-style coffee, and how to find good cilantro!

• A few myths that other countries believe about what Americans eat. And some foods we’d find unusual that are common in Slovenia: such as horse, bear and elk salami.

• How food culture may be shifting in Slovenia away from traditional ways of growing and preparing food and towards more mass produced foods that emphasize quantity over quality which can lead to a rise in obesity.

• Cassie talks about her own experiences dealing with American customers’ obsession with portion size vs perceived “value” in what they pay for. And how she ultimately won them over to a healthy portion size.

• What the Embassy hopes for the rest of Cassie and Natalie’s trip. (Some of the people they will meet have never met an American before!)

• A funny story about how Slovenes, in general, love “kids and dogs” and dote on them both so much that the Embassy workers had to buy 2 sweaters for their dog.

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