As a source of both physical and emotional sustenance, food is intricately tied to our survival as individuals and as a community. During the twentieth century, food also played an important role as a means by which Cambridge visitors and residents could learn about and connect with their neighbors across racial, ethnic and class lines.

On Saturday, October 23, we debuted our newest tour, “Food and Mending in Central Square.” Graduate students from the Boston University Gastronomy Program created this tour of Central Square, highlighting locations and moments in Cambridge history in which the sharing of a diverse array of ethnic cuisines helped to raise awareness and understanding of the area’s rich cultural mosaic.

Beginning at The Middle East and ending at Asmara, we explored the food and immigration experiences of Cambridge residents from Lebanon, India, Tibet, the Dominican Republic, China, Syria, and Eritrea. As waves of immigrants arrived from all corners of the globe, Cambridge as a whole – and Central Square in particular – expanded its culinary horizons to include the cuisines of these new Cantabrigians who had come to work, study and live in an increasingly diverse city. As restauranteurs diversified to meet the demand for a broader array of foods, native-born Cambridge residents also expanded their palates, learning about both the cuisine and the culture of their immigrant neighbors.

This tour was created in conjunction with our upcoming Fall Conversation, How Has Food Mended Cambridge?, which will take place on Monday, November 15, at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. Look for a self-guided version of this tour coming soon!

This tour is made possible through grant funding from the Cambridge Heritage Trust.