But there’s cake!

Written by Loch Phillips

“This is why refugees are the best: perspective… The Supreme Court you know, maybe did us harm… but there’s cake!” -Shelly Callahan, June 27, 2017

You can’t anticipate all the costs and benefits of committing yourself to a documentary from the outset without the absolute latest in crystal ball tech and we can’t afford that. It’s all going into the film. Cost case in point, yesterday was election day, and I was in Utica and unable to vote. The trickiest are those situations that include both cost and benefit. Such is the case with the regular celebrations at The Center, the best of which are built around an Azira cake.

It’s become a joke between us. When we see Azira in the halls, or poke a head into her office, we talk about cake. A refugee from Bosnia who is now in charge of citizenship at The Center, Azira makes amazing cakes, probably the most egregious being her coca cola cake. The entire Center comes together at key moments around one of her creations, key moments of bonding helping to take the sting out of a few successive sour years.

She knows us well enough at this point that she has offered to make a cake to celebrate any benchmark in our progress. “Have you finished shooting yet? I could make a chocolate mousse brownie cake.”

“No, but we are close,” I say. I love her cakes and I don’t want her to make one for us. I’m trying to keep my weight under control here! Utica, thanks in good part to the refugee population, has great food. It’s easy to overeat while we’re shooting. Azira’s Bosnian confections are just more icing on the gravy, another vacated hole in the ongoing belt loop battle. Regardless, there will be Azira cake when we finish and I am looking forward to that gathering and that sweet taste. I will probably have seconds.

Originally published at https://www.lastrefugedocumentary.com on November 6, 2019.



Utica: The Last Refuge documentary
Utica: The Last Refuge — Film Blog

This feature documentary follows the Azeins, a Sudanese refugee family, as their story intersects with the ongoing story of Utica, NY.