‘Solidarity Sunday’ to showcase food from slandered countries

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DIGGING IN — Up to 400 attendees at “Solidarity Sunday” will once again dine outdoors on West Indiana Avenue, just like this crowd that assembled last year for “7 Courses 7 Countries,” featuring the cuisine of seven countries from which President Donald Trump tried to restrict immigration.

DIGGING IN — Up to 400 attendees at “Solidarity Sunday” will once again dine outdoors on West Indiana Avenue, just like this crowd that assembled last year for “7 Courses 7 Countries,” featuring the cuisine of seven countries from which President Donald Trump tried to restrict immigration.

BEACON PHOTO/JOE CREWS

PROUD ACTIVISTS — Jenneffer and Hari Pulapaka pose in their restaurant, Cress. The couple are behind the March 25 “Solidarity Sunday,” an international meal featuring dishes from areas maligned earlier this year by the president. 

PROUD ACTIVISTS — Jenneffer and Hari Pulapaka pose in their restaurant, Cress. The couple are behind the March 25 “Solidarity Sunday,” an international meal featuring dishes from areas maligned earlier this year by the president. 

PHOTO COURTESY CRESS RESTAURANT 

DeLand restaurateur Hari Pulapaka took offense when our nation’s president maligned the countries of Haiti and El Salvador and the continent of Africa over immigration issues. So he and his wife have organized another family-style dinner to “stand in solidarity with the people, culture, and food” of those nations.

“It’s certainly a response to what we heard came out of the White House,” said Pulapaka, an immigrant himself who co-owns Cress Restaurant with his wife, Jenneffer Pulapaka. “But it’s more than a political statement. The true meaning and value is to use food to bridge barriers that might exist between different people.”

The dinner dubbed “Solidarity Sunday” is coming up Sunday, March 25, on West Indiana Avenue, Pulapaka said. He has already sold all of the nearly 400 tickets available for the outdoor meal, which runs 4-6:30 p.m.

According to Pulapaka, the menu for Solidarity Sunday — subject to minor changes based on ingredient availability and quality — will feature Ayamese, a meat stew from Nigeria; Doro Wat, a chicken stew from Ethiopia; spicy fried plantains called Kelewele, from Ghana; a collards and kale dish called Sukumi Wiki, from Kenya; from Somalia, Nafago, a potato scotched egg dish; Jollof, a tomato rice dish from Liberia; from Cameroon, Ndole, a spinach/bitterleaves and peanuts concoction; Diri ak Pwa, or rice and beans, from Haiti; and Pupusa, a stuffed corn pancakes dish from El Salvador.

“These dishes are meant to be shared,” Pulapaka said. “Some can be entire meals upon themselves, and others are side dishes.”

Pulapaka will have some paid staff helping him prepare and serve the food, but most of the work will be done by volunteers, he said. The meal will be served “family-style,” meaning large portions of food will be placed on tables where diners can serve themselves.

“There’s no way we’re plating,” Pulapaka said. “The whole goal is to ‘pass the bowl around,’ and getting more conversations starting that way.”

Cress is not selling or serving alcoholic beverages, since the event is being held on the street. But diners are welcome to bring their own favorite beverages, he said.

A portion of the proceeds will be given to the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Pulapaka said. FIC is a statewide coalition of more than 65 member organizations and over 100 allies. It was founded in 1998 and formally incorporated in 2004.

According to its website (floridaimmigrant.org), the coalition’s stated mission is to grow the connection, capacity and consciousness of the state’s immigrant families, organizations and communities.

“We envision a new Florida based on inclusion and equality, without racism and exclusion, where immigrants can live and love without fear,” the website states.

— Joe Crews, joe@beacononlinenews.com

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