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Author and activist Ana Sofía Peláez on how to set a table for difficult conversations

Ana Sofía Peláez the author of The Cuban Table cookbook and executive director of the Miami Freedom Project, a progressive voter advocacy group.
Courtesy of Ana Sofía Peláez
Ana Sofía Peláez the author of The Cuban Table cookbook and executive director of the Miami Freedom Project, a progressive voter advocacy group.

When it comes to having difficult conversations, Ana Sofía Peláez knows how to set the table.

Ana Sofía heads the Miami Freedom Project. The organization tries to bring people from different political and cultural backgrounds together to vote on issues that affect South Florida. She wants a Miami that’s more engaged with issues that affect all of us — from climate change to immigration.

It’s not always easy, getting people who might have very different opinions around a table to have difficult conversations that wouldn’t necessarily happen organically.

Her own Cuban table in Miami involved more than lechón and tostones — it included discussions of political upheaval and immigration, scarcity and abundance — all elements that shaped Cuban and Cuban-American cuisine.

Ana Sofía explored this while writing a cookbook, "The Cuban Table." It was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2015. Her book preserved recipes that today mostly only exist in exile — a pointed example of how political decisions influence everything, including food and culture.

Ana Sofía is expanding the size of her table these days. As the executive director of the Miami Freedom Project, she’s taken Miami’s issues to Washington DC.

On the Aug. 24 episode of Sundial, she joined us to talk about her goal: getting South Florida a seat at the table.

On Sundial's previous episode, Giancarlo Rodaz joined us. He is the artistic director of Area Stage Company in Miami and is behind the production of Disney’s "The Little Mermaid" at the Arsht Center, playing through August 27.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Carlos Frías is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.
Helen Acevedo, a freelance producer, is a grad student at Florida International University studying Spanish-language journalism, a bilingual program focused on telling the stories of diverse communities.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.