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Promoting traditional languages through traditional cooking

In celebration of the UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages, the Gab Titui Cultural Centre recently hosted a traditional cooking class, conducted in Kalaw Kawaw Ya (KKY) and Yumplatok or Torres Strait Creole.

Proud Saibailaig and avid cultural practitioner Aunty Goeynaw Isua facilitated the event and taught the class how to make Traditional Sop Sop; a vegetarian dish that is a popular feature at local ceremonies, celebrations and family gatherings.

In between preparing the ingredients, Aunty Goeynaw highlighted the significant role that food plays in the Torres Strait, emphasising its ability to bring families and people together, which was made evident by her inclusion of volunteers and Gab Titui staff at all stages of the preparation and cooking process.

From husking and scraping coconuts to sharing yarns and recipe alternatives, the lively group exchanged cultural knowledge and discussed the importance of healthy food choices in an enlightening and authentic cooking experience.

Health practitioners and nutritionists also attended the cooking class and supported its bid to raise awareness of the connections between chronic illness and poor dietary choices.

TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, said the Gab Titui Cultural Centre is considering hosting regular traditional cooking classes to share healthy Ilan food recipes and encourage speaking in our traditional languages.

“It is imperative that we continually practice our traditional languages to ensure their revitalisation and preservation,” Mr Stephen said.

“Workshops like this encourage our people to come together, speak their traditional languages and share our cultural knowledge with each other.

“The Gab Titui Cultural Centre will look at including traditional cooking classes as a regular feature in our monthly Public Programmes schedule.”

The traditional cooking class was just one of the many traditional language activities that the Gab Titui Cultural Centre had planned for October and November.

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