Saapadu in Toronto: A Tamil Family's Foodway Journey from Sri Lanka to Canada

This project explores the Ratnalingam family's life and food journeys from Sri Lanka to Canada.
The family migrated from Sri Lanka to Canada in 1986 when the civil war was at its brink and left them and many other Sri Lankan Tamils with no choice but to flee the country. Fleeing with their first child, Mathini, they didn't realize how their lives would be transformed. Arriving in Canada they brought with them different traditions, gender roles and cultural practices from their home country. Gohulavany Manikkam would continue to be the primary cook in the household while Ratnalingam Manikkam would help with food work that was seen as less feminine such as carrying groceries, or cutting meat. Canada also left its mark on family foodways a shift towards convenience which could mean whipping up a salad or buying boxes of idiappam at the store instead of making them at home. Through such practices that emerge out of the interviews conducted with the  parents by their daughter Nelani, we see how the family has molded into new food cultures in Canada but still holds on to food pathways from their homeland and culture. 

Nelani Ratnalingam