Connect with your ancestors through food

Posted by on March 16, 2018 in Australia, New Zealand

Fancy a kangaroo steamer? How about a schnitzel with a side of sauerkraut? Or maybe you’re a fan of couscous and dal? Whatever your food passions, imagine connecting to your family history through knowing what your ancestors ate.

Some popular contemporary diets are loosely based on how our forebears fuelled themselves – for example the Paleo diet, which is centred around what cavemen and women at to survive.

On a more personal level, our more immediate family heritage is often reflected in the food we eat. Say for example, you’re of Vietnamese descent, and grew up being surrounded by the delicious aromas of pho (Vietnamese soup) and banh mi. Those dishes are now what you cook, learnt from your parents and grandparents. They connect you to the past, evoke memories and help you understand your cultural references.

For those who wish to go back further in time to their heritage from hundreds or even thousands of years, delving into your genes and cooking dishes from the regions our ancestors came from is a tangible, fun way of connecting with your past. The average Australian has 26 nationalities in their DNA. So if you discover Scandinavian results in your DNA, you could sample some pickled herring, paired with a cinnamon bun for dessert. Family history research never tasted so good!

This year, workplaces are also getting involved in the concept of celebrating diversity through food. A Taste of Harmony is a festival encouraging staff to bring a dish into work that represents their culture, and share it with colleagues. It’s a great way to get to know the people you work with!

AncestryDNA is a proud supporter of A Taste of Harmony, taking place from 19-29 March 2018. Learn how you can get involved and register online.

What dish would you share? Take an AncestryDNA test to discover more about your heritage.

Cassie Mercer

Cassie Mercer is an editor based in Sydney. She founded the award-winning magazine Inside History in 2010, creating a following of 60,000+ readers and working with Australia’s key cultural institutions to bring the nation’s history to life across Inside History’s multi-channel platforms. The history bug struck her when she discovered the story of her 5x great grandparents – in the 1700s, one was a highwayman in Dublin and the other was the madam of a brothel, of the Lower Sort.

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