Taste the World at Rockhampton Showgrounds this Saturday
AFTER she married a Rockhampton man and moved to Australia in 1992, Theresa Stanke had difficulty finding the kinds of food she loves to cook.
"In Papua New Guinea, we eat a lot of sweet potato, cassava or tapioca, yams, taro, and different kinds of spinach,” she said.
Saturday, she will share her cassava and ripe banana slice recipe with visitors to the Taste of the World festival at the showgrounds.
"My kids love sago and banana slice best, but sago is hard to come by,” she said.
"Whenever someone's going back to Papua New Guinea to visit relatives, we all put in an order for them to bring us back some sago flour.
"I've found a lovely man, Robert, who has a little cassava plantation out at Bouldercombe so that's easier to come by.”
There is a big difference in Papuan cuisine between eating and cooking bananas.
"There are some cooking bananas growing north of Cairns but they don't seem to be commercially viable here,” Mrs Stanke said.
"Luckily, some of the other ladies in Rockhampton are great at growing food in their back yards.”
As a community support officer with CQ's Multicultural Association, Mrs Stanke comes into contact with a lot of migrants who share her passion for bringing people together to eat.
"It's not just about filling your belly; it's about learning and making friends and settling issues within the extended community,” she said.
"We use different ingredients and speak different languages, but when we come together to chop veges and look after each other's children, we always end up having the biggest laughs.”
Mrs Stanke was one of the founders who sought funding to begin the festival ten years ago, which has moved from the river bank to Yeppoon to the showgrounds.
The family-friendly events will feature a petting zoo and face painting, song and dance performances and nine food stalls in addition to three cooking competitions.
The Masterchef Cultural, Community Mixed and Children's groups will be judged on planning and preparation, teamwork, presentation and taste.
Proceeds from the festival will help CQMA, a not-for-profit organisation, continue its role in supporting the region's multicultural population.