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.
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.
A few spices and herbs can turn your mundane dishes into a culinary masterpiece. The beauty of Lebanese food is its wonderful, somehow randomly, measured use of spices and herbs into almost all of its dishes. Almost all dishes are abundant in wonderful flavors of aromatic, spicy, lemony, sweet herbs and spices.
Driving in the city, under the scorching sun, we stop at an assuming little ice cream shop on the ground floor of a rundown building carrying bullets that echo of a past life that reverberates of times where bombs ripped the city’s skies. Echoes that no one hears anymore amongst the city’s cacophony of sounds.
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.
Plump and ready, sun-kissed under the blue Mediterranean Sea, the ripe fig with its dried-up skin sags desiccated on the limb with its sweetest nectar concealed deep inside.
Similar to food, home made drinks are not only a staple in every Lebanese home but also reflect the earth’s bounty. There is something quiet wonderful about the combination of elements that make those typical Lebanese drinks so superb. It starts with their color, as they range in hues from pastel to darker burgundies. Then comes the smell as the drink reaches your lips and the flora of all the ingredients invigorates your spirit. Although they differ in texture, there is something quiet refreshing about them and the combination of those aromas with ice makes them the perfect summer drink.
“Let thy greens be thy medicine, and they medicine be thy greens”