Jun 032012

In the diaries and letters they left behind, immigrants made it clear that next to their families and their family homes, they longed most for their native foods. — Susan Matt writing about 1870-1920 immigration in “Homesickness: An American History”

Of the connections an immigrant has to his original home, food is the strongest of those that he can enjoy in his new country (music comes a close second). There’s a reason heritage festivals take place amid food booths. Ethnic food sites like Lubos Brieda’s Slovak Cooking bring the old country to immigrants and descendants alike. Whether you make and eat bryndzove halusky in Kosice, Slovakia, or in Portland, Oregon, the dish carries with it the notion of Slovakness, helping perpetuate your identity as a Slovak. Food engages all the senses, conjuring home anywhere.

Throughout this summer, I will explore and report all the places in Portland, Oregon, where you can buy food and beverages from Central Europe.* I will cover stores (grocery, bottle), food carts, delis, and restaurants. Rather than exhaustive, each list, presented in a separate blog post, will be a starting point for the resource page, updated as businesses emerge and wither. Tips and pointers are welcome!


* For the purposes of this series, Central Europe comprises countries between Germany and Russia, and between Scandinavia and Greece. This summer I will also run a series of posts about the definition of Central Europe as a region.

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