Aurora Almendral is a Philippine-born freelance writer based in New York City. As a Fulbright Scholar to Morocco and Spain, she researched and filmed a documentary on entrepreneurship and illegal immigration in Madrid. She previously worked as a research assistant at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and has written for Filipinas Magazine and New America Media. She is currently the editor for a website focused on design.
Thanksgiving is the ultimate harvest holiday, and no one knows that better than the tens of thousands of farm workers who grow and harvest New York’s produce.The reality of agriculture is that a hefty percentage of the people who plant and harvest New York’s local food are immigrant workers, many of whom put themselves in danger to cross the border into the United States to work the land.
Arverne, a quiet, predominantly black neighborhood just east of Rockaway Beach in Queens, hasn’t seen much help in wake of Sandy. The mud and straw that was stirred up by the floods has dried into dust covering the streets and sidewalks. Aluminum siding has been peeled off the sides of some of the houses, and cars have been strewn around the street by the floodwaters. Debris and water-logged furniture are piled on the side of the road.
The line of customers, almost all of them Filipino immigrants, snaked out the door at the Jollibee fast food restaurant in Jersey City, New Jersey. It was opening day, and everyone was there for a taste of home.
Jollibee is a Filipino fast food chain that’s so beloved by Filipino immigrants that its list of overseas locations reads like a map of the Filipino diaspora. There are Jollibees in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Dubai, where large numbers of Filipinos work as drivers, nurses, hotel staff and engineers. In Hong Kong Jollibee serves up its burgers and fries for homesick domestic workers picnicking in the parks on Sundays.
What is the power of Maggi, and why does it dominate immigrant kitchens? Listen to the latest Food In Two Worlds podcast to learn how this iconic seasoning is viewed in Nigeria, Burundi, the Philippines and Austria.