Follow Steven Achiam on Instagram: @stevenachiamphoto

stevenachiam.com

Favorite food: Breastmilk 

2 months old, born in Roskilde Hospital, Denmark

“Recipe: Find a sweet and loving mother. Enjoy milk at body temperature.”

Amena

LIV RET

A photo series depicting refugees’ favorite meals

For the art project ‘LIV RET’ two Danish brothers-in-law asked 25 young refugees about their favorite food. In doing so they paint a picture that starkly contrasts with the usual stories surrounding immigrants and refugees. A picture of hope and remembrance, and infinitely more human.

 Chantal Arnts & Maaike de Reuver   Steven Achiam   Xiao-Er Kong

The Danish word livret is the word for favourite food. It has a significant connection to the project title LIV RET, a play on the words favourite food and life rights. 

The right to eat your favorite food

Brothers-in-law Steven and Brendan decided to show a different image of modern refugees. One filled with hope and remembrance. They set off on a roadtrip to ask 25 young refugees around Jutland, Funen, Zealand and the Danish islands about growing up, home and their favourite foods. To show the meaning of childhood meals and how they shape us as people. The photo exhibition of LIV RET has been shown to 100,000 guests at Danish food festivals.

'When we held Christmas with our family in 2015, we were joined by a special guest’, award winning photo journalist Steven Achiam says. ’It was Ali, a child asylum seeker from Afghanistan. Ali now spoke some Norwegian, but there were still some communication difficulties. That is, until we got talking about food.’ Brendan Killeen’s son and Ali found out that their favourite dishes were both made with lamb. ’My son then asked if the sheep get to roam free on the mountains in Afghanistan like they did in Ireland, where I’m from, and Ali said yeah of course. He then wrote down the recipe for us.’

An image of refugees: a picture of hope and remembrance

Two young boys sit down to eat: an Afghan and a Dane. 


Photos and texts are from the self-published book Food for Thought (LIV RET) by Steven Achiam and Brendan Killeen. The book has won two first prizes at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2016 and the surplus will be donated to Danish Red Cross Youth. 

Favorite food: Bun Daahko - Fried coffee berries and popcorn. 

17 years old, Somalia

“In Somalia I buy whole, raw coffee berries at the market. Before putting them into the oil, you have to lightly crush them with your canine teeth. If a stranger is going to be eating them, you can use the tip of a knife. If it's just for me and my family, I use my canine teeth.”

Abdirahman

Favorite food: Kechre - Veal shank with rice and lentils

“It's the burnt smell and the taste of burnt onions, I like. If i close my eyes it’s almost like being home again.”

Abass

15 years old, Afghanistan

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Favorite food: Samak Seneya - Oven baked fish

“It’s fish that my mother makes for me. She buys it in the supermarket or gets it from one of my father’s friends. She makes the fish on the BBQ.”

Msolem

10 years old, Kuwait

Favorite food: Pizza-to-go

“When it's hot, we buy pizza in the shop. We play on the playground and eat at a table. Sometimes on a rug. Sometimes at the swimming pool.”

Hilda

9 years old, Libanon

Favorite food: Shawarma and flatbread

17, 13 and 15 years old, Syria

“I don’t know why it’s my favourite, it just is.”

Omer, Shiyar, Farzad and their father

Favorite food: Orange juice

“When I drink orange juice I remember orange trees in Syria.”

Raghad

8 years old, Syria

Favorite food: Bariis Digaag - Chicken with rice

15 years old, Somalia

“Where I used to live I didn't know chicken. My mother made food outside on an open fire. The first time I had chicken was on the journey.”

Najeme

Favorite food: Fresh cow’s milk

“I like fresh milk because it doesn't have extra things in it. Milk from the supermarket tastes cheaper and isn’t nearly as good.”

Salim

16 years old, Afghanistan

Favorite food: Jujeh Kabab - Chicken kebab with saffron

“In Iran we sat on the grass by the lake and ate. I was swinging and listening to the birds.”

Delaram

17 years old, Iran

Favorite food: Samak Seneya - Oven baked fish

“It’s fish that my mother makes for me. She buys it in the supermarket or gets it from one of my father’s friends. She makes the fish on the BBQ.”

Msolem

10 years old, Kuwait

Follow Steven Achiam on Instagram: @stevenachiamphoto
stevenachiam.com

Favorite food: Jujeh Kabab - Chicken kebab with saffron

“In Iran we sat on the grass by the lake and ate. I was swinging and listening to the birds.”

Delaram

17 years old, Iran

Favorite food: Fresh cow’s milk

“I like fresh milk because it doesn't have extra things in it. Milk from the supermarket tastes cheaper and isn’t nearly as good.”

Salim

16 years old, Afghanistan

Favorite food: Bariis Digaag - Chicken with rice

15 years old, Somalia

“Where I used to live I didn't know chicken. My mother made food outside on an open fire. The first time I had chicken was on the journey.”

Najeme

Favorite food: Orange juice

“When I drink orange juice I remember orange trees in Syria.”

Raghad

8 years old, Syria

Favorite food: Shawarma and flatbread

17, 13 and 15 years old, Syria

“I don’t know why it’s my favourite, it just is.”

Omer, Shiyar, Farzad and their father

“When it's hot, we buy pizza in the shop. We play on the playground and eat at a table. Sometimes on a rug. Sometimes at the swimming pool.”

Hilda

9 years old, Libanon

Favorite food: Pizza-to-go

Favorite food: Breastmilk 

2 months old, born in Roskilde Hospital, Denmark

“Recipe: Find a sweet and loving mother. Enjoy milk at body temperature.”

Amena

Favorite food: Kechre - Veal shank with rice and lentils

“It's the burnt smell and the taste of burnt onions, I like. If i close my eyes it’s almost like being home again.”

Abass

15 years old, Afghanistan

“In Somalia I buy whole, raw coffee berries at the market. Before putting them into the oil, you have to lightly crush them with your canine teeth. If a stranger is going to be eating them, you can use the tip of a knife. If it's just for me and my family, I use my canine teeth.”

Abdirahman

17 years old, Somalia

Favorite food: Bun Daahko - Fried coffee berries and popcorn. 

The Danish word livret is the word for favourite food. It has a significant connection to the project title LIV RET, a play on the words favourite food and life rights. 

The right to eat your favorite food

Brothers-in-law Steven and Brendan decided to show a different image of modern refugees. One filled with hope and remembrance. They set off on a roadtrip to ask 25 young refugees around Jutland, Funen, Zealand and the Danish islands about growing up, home and their favourite foods. To show the meaning of childhood meals and how they shape us as people. The photo exhibition of LIV RET has been shown to 100,000 guests at Danish food festivals.

An image of refugees: a picture of hope and remembrance

'When we held Christmas with our family in 2015, we were joined by a special guest’, award winning photo journalist Steven Achiam says. ’It was Ali, a child asylum seeker from Afghanistan. Ali now spoke some Norwegian, but there were still some communication difficulties. That is, until we got talking about food.’ Brendan Killeen’s son and Ali found out that their favourite dishes were both made with lamb. ’My son then asked if the sheep get to roam free on the mountains in Afghanistan like they did in Ireland, where I’m from, and Ali said yeah of course. He then wrote down the recipe for us.’

Two young boys sit down to eat: an Afghan and a Dane. 


Photos and texts are from the self-published book Food for Thought (LIV RET) by Steven Achiam and Brendan Killeen. The book has won two first prizes at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2016 and the surplus will be donated to Danish Red Cross Youth. 

 Chantal Arnts & Maaike de Reuver 
 Steven Achiam   Xiao-Er Kong

For the art project ‘LIV RET’ two Danish brothers-in-law asked 25 young refugees about their favorite food. In doing so they paint a picture that starkly contrasts with the usual stories surrounding immigrants and refugees. A picture of hope and remembrance, and infinitely more human.

Lees verder

A photo series depicting refugees’ favorite meals

LIV RET

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