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February 20, 2011

Conflict Kitchen Considering Wisconsin Menu?

Pittsburgh's Conflict Kitchen, a takeout lunch shop located at Baum Boulevard and Highland Avenue in East Liberty, specializes in raising public consciousness by cooking and selling the lunch food of a culture or society that the United States is in conflict with.

"Our root concept is that we should understand the people and culture that our government is fighting with", said spokeswoman Dorothy Arnold, "and one of the best ways to really get a taste of a culture is to eat their sort of food, prepared in their own way".

The first iteration of Conflict Kitchen was Kubideh Kitchen, an Iranian take-out restaurant that served kubideh in freshly baked barbari bread with onion, mint, and basil.


The second iteration of Conflict Kitchen was Bolani Pazi, an Afghan take-out restaurant that serves a savory homemade afghan turnover filled with either pumpkin, spinach, lentils, or potatoes and leeks.

The Conflict Kitchen has received national media attention for making a political statement while running a profitable business. Coverage has included ABC News, Fast Company, NPR, PBS, and Salon.


Greg Packer, a software engineer enjoying lunch at the stand said, "At these prices nobody's getting rich here, but it seems like they're keeping the electric and water bills paid for on their own, and I like that".

After introducing Iranian and Afghani food traditions to Pittsburgh, Dorothy Arnold said she began considering what conflict to focus on next. "I came to realize, why are we only focusing on international conflicts? Why can't we take a turn at an internal American conflict?" And the concept for the next update of Conflict Kitchen was born.

"We've decided to focus on a war we're waging within America", Arnold said, "where union workers in the state of Wisconsin are having their rights taken away, their livelihoods diminished, and the economic status changed to something like indentured servitude".

The next iteration of Conflict Kitchen will focus on the indigenous foods of Wisconsin, which Arnold identified as "Milk and cheese, a choice of a fish broil platter or a bratwurst platter, and for desert either Kringles or pasty's".

Greg Packer, the software engineer eating his lunch, said "I'd love to have food like that to eat, real comfort food. Knowing that they like fish and brats and special pastries makes those people in Wisconsin seem a lot more human than what I see in the protests on the news. Makes me wonder why we're declaring war on them all of a sudden".

CONFLICT KITCHEN is currently open on Saturday and Sundays from 10am to 2pm. They will be open 7 days a week starting on April 4th. website: conflictkitchen.org

Artist conception of Conflict Kitchen with Wisconsin Theme

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