3.3 How important for you is it to spread the story of Slovenian food prepared by Slovenian Australians across Australia and elsewhere?
Participant: I don’t think it’s so important for me, at least I don’t feel the need to spread the story. I typically just cook Slovenian food and bring Slovenian food. It’s a personal thing for me, not altruistic thing. I guess, if that makes sense. It’s probably because I was born in Slovenia, grew up there, so I’ve got a strong sense of having that culture in me. I don’t have the need to enforce it.
Participant: To me it is very important. Not just to me but also my children can take that on to their families. At least through the food they can teach them and show them about their country or where they originate from. Because I do strongly believe that we can engage in one life as we live, but food is something that will also draw us back where we originated from or where we came from. It’s very important that that tradition is being taken forward and that it should be, not preserved but definitely engaged amongst community and friends, or even social media, through the digital side, through other aspects.
Participant: It’s good that there’s another extra thing to know about Slovenia. Lots of people confuse us with Slovakia, and it gives us more of an identity, “Oh, that’s where this comes from. Oh, that’s where “potica” [potica cake] is done.” I’ve seen a lot of Slovenia being promoted in Australian media recently. All these foods are being promoted. There’s been a bit of increase in that sort of promotion. Slovenian food generally is quite unique and has some nice flavours too. It is good to have it promoted. Anything to get our little country recognised, so it’s good. I also feel the same way, I don’t enforce anything on other people. Something personal, food is comforting so it’s about your personal private stuff, not so much enforcing it upon others. You don’t expect from Australian people too.
Participant: I’m very, a very passionate Slovenian, as [my husband] will attest to. For me promoting the fact that Slovenia exists, there’s so many people that… Today it’s very, very different. It’s important. It’s part of my heritage. It’s important to me. It’s such a beautiful country. It’s the foods, the flavours, are wonderful so why not share it with the rest of the world. Why should people miss out.
Participant: It’s really important, because if you don’t spread it, who’s going to know about it? You’ll lose the tradition and it won’t be there any more. So it’s really important for me to tell people. And even my friends, when they come over and they don’t know what it is, they usually try it and they love what Slovenian food has to offer. So I think it’s really important.
Participant: I like to brag about it [laughing]. It’s very important. This is my heritage, my culture and so forth, and I like to share that. It makes me proud and it makes life interesting for other people. It’s all about learning and sharing and that’s what for me it’s about.
Participant: It’s really important for the younger generations so that they can still retain that influence and not lose it. I always think the Italians or the Germans, they might be fourth generation or something but they still say, “Well, this is my Nona’s recipe,” or whatever, and they’re very proud of that heritage. Slovenians should be the same, and I hope that our kids will do that. It has to start somewhere and it has to start with our generation really, doesn’t it? [Husband: If you’ve got a book there to refer to it certainly goes a long way to helping to achieve that.] And the digital media though is more important for the younger ones because that’s what they access. I do too, that’s where I look for information.
Participant: Slovenian food is very healthy and it has a really good quality. Why not to show this to other nations, and also to give them an opportunity to eat healthy, fresh and really tasty food.
Participant: It’s like Italian traditions, Chinese tradition, because there’s Chinatowns everywhere. There should be also a little part for Slovene food and cuisine because we deserve that as well. It’s like Italy, every single one has little stores, we should get that as well.
Participant: It is, it brings different preparation to the food, and gives diversity.
Participant: It’s very important. We are multicultural country and every nation is trying to present and to keep the traditions of their homes. I think Australia, it’s getting into it. Even the cook shows on television, they don’t just do Australian food or French food or Italian, they use the wider scope which it’s excellent.
Participant: It’s very important to make sure we keep in touch with it. We might be second, third or fourth generation now but we all like to go to our grandparents or parents place and eat traditional food that we all grew up with, we’re all used to. It’s prepared very differently to the day and age today, in an organic sort of way, because a lot of the food is grown by ourselves. We know that there’s no chemicals unless we’ve actually done something with it ourselves.
Participant: For me, very. Money stopping me to show people what I can offer, or what can we offer from Slovenia. I think we will win, because have mix from Italy, Hungary, Thailand, also India. We prepare also a risotto but still is risotto. Italians will have it, they will prepare it. Ours is better because it must be simple, salt and pepper or eggs and flour. Everything must be simple. Without simplicity you cannot function.
Participant: It’s very important because what’s the world without any cultural diversity. A lot of it’s lost. I was talking to a friend the other day about that. It’s not only about food it’s also a lot about festivals and the music. It’s the music, the clothing, “narodne noše” [national costumes] that people used to wear and now it’s kind of died down. A lot of things have died down and everything’s becoming more black and white but it used to be a lot more cultural back then. But relating back to food I think it’s one of the most important things. Food’s one of the biggest things in my life. I don’t know about anyone else. With an African friend back at university, we were talking about that, because he cooked something for me, an African dish, and then I was also going to cook something for him which I did, I cooked him kransky [laughing]. [Interviewer: He liked it?] He loved it. I cooked him a kransky with mashed potato and I gave him some of the “filana paprika” [stuffed pepper] that my grandma gave me.
Participant: I don’t know if it’s important. But I know when we talk, or if someone tries something, I’m more than happy, really proud, about our dishes to explain what’s our food. I’m really proud of Slovenia in general, not just food. It’s always they ask me, “oh, apple strudel” and “oh, is that Slovenian”, I said in history we were under Austria anyway, it is Slovenian. I am proud and when we talk about food, of course, people also ask you, and I’m more than happy to explain. I always feel proud being Slovenian, about our countryside or food, anything.
Participant: I know when I talking with my friends at the gym we often talk what we cooking for dinner. I have my gym from 1:00 to 2:00 and then we stop over there to have cup of coffee and for another hour we yak, yak, yak, yak. I often tell them what I’m going to cook and they say, “Oh, yum, yum, yum, yum.” [Interviewer: So you are proud.] Oh, yes. I am, and my husband he said now no restaurant can satisfy as I satisfy him “po domače” [home made]. [Interviewer: How can we engage younger generation of Slovenians not to forget Slovenian cooking traditions?] My daughter she often come to my place and they eat in my place and she love it. Whatever I do she love it, but she always say it’s too hard, it take too long. She said to me, “Mum, you can spend all afternoon preparing for dinner, but I can’t. I’m too busy.” So that why the young people cook different. My grandchildren whenever they come to my place, you should see how they eat.
4 Connecting with other Slovenian Australians (see Questions and Answers)
3.1 How useful are Internet, social media and other digital tools (YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, TV shows) for you in order to find and share recipes, discussions about food? Answers.
1 Culinary heritage (see Questions and Answers)
2 Growing and sourcing food (see Questions and Answers)
3 Digital technologies for communicating culinary heritage (see Questions and Answers)
4 Connecting with other Slovenian Australians (see Questions and Answers)
5 Identity (see Questions and Answers)
6 Conclusion (participants’ ideas) (see Questions and Answers)