There are many roles in which food could play in our social lives. Food has a certain power beyond its physical purposes; not only can it satisfy, but it can inspire, inform and unify people. It evokes creativity and grounds us to our culinary heritage and our land.
He gets up early, 5:30 sharp to be exact. At 6:00 he opens the doors to his sweet shop in Basta el faw’a to get that fresh air from the slow-waking city. For just a little while, time stands still and he starts his preparation for a day of stirring and cooking allowing him to take in this life with a deep inhale and appreciation of this skill he has perfected over he years.
There are places that you remember, not particularly because they have a lavish décor but because there is something quite humane about them.
“Lebanon’s exceptional location and its singular morphology have contributed to making it a hub of botanic biodiversity. It is one of the nuclear centers of genetic species of wheat, barley, lentils and vetch, their cultivation dating back more than 5,000 years. Other agricultural species originating from Lebanon include olives, figs, grapes, pomegranates and carob. Foods made from these plants lie at the basis of the local culinary traditions.
Some products have withstood the test of time because they are simply beautiful products. Molasses, dark, golden brown or velvety red colored, heavily textured is one such ingredient. The way it flows and glides along the spoon into a dish is a vision for food lovers and enthusiasts.
There is something quiet exceptional about ka’ak bi halib, or milk cookies. The mahleb and the anise echo the flavors and fragrances of home. Soft, chewy, buttery, sweet, fragrant, and comforting, they melt in your mouth, leaving behind the after taste of aromatic spices.
“Let thy greens be thy medicine, and they medicine be thy greens”
Being a good host is something of a lost art. Hospitality refers to the relationship between a guest and a host, wherein the host receives the guest with goodwill, including the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
Lebanese pastries are a pure delight. Originally, our ethnic pastries used to be very sweetened. Today, and since a decade or so, they are made with lesser sugar. Lebanese sweets are a landmark in our country’s culinary journey, and are among the best in our region and have landed a world renowned fame for some families who have been in the business for generations.
We watched the wild flowers grow on the mountain and plains of Lebanon. The flowers grew, as did we. As years passed we grew apart. The flowers left to wither, we both planted timid seeds. New soil in different weather, somehow we both found our way back home. As winter passes by, I watch them bloom with power, only to be detached from the earth they grew strong from.