There’s a reason the expression “food is love” exists. From birth, being breastfed and having food prepared for us by our mothers was the way we were cared for. Being fed as a helpless infant was how our survival was ensured. At the outset of existence, that’s the mark of love.

As we get older, however, food is no longer a simple necessity. It’s through food we derive the pleasure of taste, and it’s through preparing food for others that we get satisfaction through sharing. We gather specifically around food: family barbeques, having friends over for dinner, showing off Grandma’s famous blackberry pie.

Such was the case at the recent Dutch-Indonesian Community reunion dinner at George Preston Hall in Langley, BC. More than 100 people with Dutch and Indonesian ancestry showed up to eat, dance, and share on June 4.

Classic dishes such as lemper ayam were on order, as were rizzoles: both foods mired in the Indonesian Diaspora’s cultural cuisine. But why is that important?

“Diaspora groups are a realization of the expansion of distinctive regional communities,” wrote Margot Morris. With the emigration of regional communities comes a new place to find belonging.

In the case of the Dutch-Indonesian diaspora — a displaced people as a result of the post-WW2 Indonesian independence in 1945 — their regional food is a comfort and a commonality with others who experienced similar situations. For second and third-generation Indos, the food acts as a marker of ethnic identity in the increasing cultural mosaic of Canada.

Currently, there are roughly 215 million people living in a country other than the one they were born in.

45.4 per cent of Canadian-born children of immigrants reported they had multiple ethnic origins. They were second generation individuals who were born in Canada to at least one immigrant parent.

Individuals who were third generation in the country had the highest proportion of reporting multiple ethnic origins, at nearly 50 per cent.

To continue representing diaspora communities—allowing the communities to play a role without having to return to their countries of origin—community events that involve several generations of a group must last.

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