Visual Identity by Karena Bravo.

Eman Alabbassi

Shepparton Culture Kitchen

Eman and her young children endured great hardships to reach the safety of Australia when war made living conditions unbearable in Iraq, in 2002. After having lived in Cobram, Eman moved to Shepparton where she had been working as a part-time language teacher for some time. The ever-growing and developing cultural landscape keeps her engaged with the local community.

As a child growing up in Iraq, where cooking was an essential skill for every woman, Eman learned to cook by watching female relatives around her prepare traditional foods. Many ingredients were home-made or grown, like yoghurt and vegetables, or sourced from local farms. Eman loves the unique flavour of her traditional herbs and vegetables, such as Iraq celery and parsley, that she tries to grow and take with her everywhere she lives.

Her garden is very important, as she sees it as a wonderful gift that provides healthy, organic food for herself and her family. She enjoys tending to her many fruit trees, vegetables and herbs each day and sharing their fresh flavour and nutrition with friends and neighbours. The connection between nature and her religious practice, where everything in nature is described as worshipping God, is very important. Looking after her garden complements Eman’s worship and consolidates the connection between healthy eating and emotional well-being.

Eman Alabbassi. Photo by Mellisa Silaga.