The recipes that reach the people of Quito on the back page of the newspaper Últimas Noticias are a contribution from the World Food Programme (WFP), in an effort to improve family diets. Thanks to these colorful publications, with photos, simple but nutritious recipes, and colloquially expressed nutritional advice, the city’s inhabitants learn traditional Ecuadorian recipes which over time had almost been forgotten. On the path to Zero Hunger, improving families’ knowledge of nutrition is a step forward towards a better diet.
Where do these recipes come from? In the northern region of Ecuador, WFP consulted and worked with women from various communities who participate in WFP’s programs, in order to discover which native foods were preferred by the population. Together with these women, WFP sought out traditional recipes that had been passed down from one generation to the next and which complemented the typical dishes of the region.
Some of these recipes are interesting for their nutritional value, while others can be made more nutritious. WFP entrusted this task of review and enhancement to nutritionist Michelle O. Fried, known in Ecuador for her culinary publications.
The preferred environment was one that would raise the self-esteem of the women participating in the workshops, in which they reviewed and tested the recipes. Upon seeing that their knowledge of traditional cuisine from their families and region was valued by WFP and government partners, the women once again recognized their own significance and the importance of their culinary knowledge.
The next step was to share this knowledge through an agreement with a publication that could spread the recipes to the general population. This agreement was made with Grupo El Comercio, whose newspaper Últimas Noticias circulates in the working-class neighborhoods of Quito, the capital. The gastronomy school of the University of the Americas is in charge of preparing the dishes, in order to publish photos alongside the recipes.
Repeating this experience through other media would allow WFP to maintain open a channel of information which could help improve the variety of the Ecuadorian diet. As nutritious and traditional products that are falling into disuse come to be appreciated once again, families also gain knowledge on the value of the ingredients they use, thanks to nutritional advice.
WFP in Ecuador: To combat malnutrition, WFP and partners have designed new models of food assistance which diversify the diet of Colombian refugee families and Ecuadorian families in host communities, as part of Ecuador’s efforts on behalf of the people affected by the conflict in Colombia. Since 2012, WFP in Ecuador has been gradually substituting dry food rations for local products and has been working with small farmer associations, in particular women, in order to provide food that is fresh, nutritious, and locally produced.
Translation provided by Ronan O'Brien.
To view some of these recipes which have been published online, please visit the links below: