Making food not war
12 settembre 2013
Conosci il tuo pasto has its roots in the Mediterranean agriculture and it has been projected with the aim to create a strong linkage between restaurants and local quality productions, enhancing the access to the market for small producers, involving consumers through the guarantee. Soil, food, cooking, conviviality, people. In these "gray days" for the Mediterranean region we would like to endorse the say “Make food not war” of Souk El Tayeb, Lebanese farmers market. The sticker has been for years on my fridge door. And because food means also relation, sharing, soul and stories, I would like to recall people and food of three countries where we have been working for more than 10 years. Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon. Pharaohs diet During the itinerant Mediterranean Study Days upon Identity, Quality and Food Safety 2008-2010 held in Rome, Tirana, Istanbul, Barcelona and Cairo the meals were prepared according to the concept of Conosci il tuo pasto: traditional recipes with local and organic products. For the Cairo Study Day I had the chance to work with Habiba Hassan Wassef, a brilliant Egyptian women, one of the most important Food Habits and Nutrition experts in Egypt. In Cairo and generally in the touristic areas in Egypt it is very difficult to find in a restaurant menu traditional recipes. Egyptian food habits are indeed changing as mainly it occurring in the Mediterranean area despite the UNESCO recognition of the Mediterranean Diet as cultural heritage of humanity. With Habiba we studied together an authentic Egyptian menu for the participants with the aim to recall their food roots. From the traditional beverages made of Karkadeh (Hibiscus), Kharrub (Carob) and the Hommos water (chickpeas) to the traditional Bessara (dried board beans puree with coriander and cumin), the Molokheya soup, theaged Mish cheese and Karish soft buffalo milk cheese, Asswan style grey mullet grilled in bran, Grilled Pigeons, Veal Kamouneya (veal cooked with cumin accompanied by Egyptian rice), Artichokes and Okra. And the sweets Karakeesh Nubi (Nubian), Kahk sa’eedi (Upper Egyptian), Fetir belagwa (Date patties) and the Sadd el Hanak a recipe that comes from the Tiger Nut Sweets of the 18th Pharaoh Dynasty. The true Egyptian taste Pide from the Volcano Traveling through Cappadocia in Turkey, visiting organic farms and farmers, we were invited by the Develi Municipality to visit the region to explore the possibility to cooperate for the local developing of the organic agriculture in the area. Develi is located on “Mount Erciyes” the extinct volcano which dominates the views for miles around Kayseri and Cappadocia and its main activities are agriculture and fine carpets manufacturing. The Develi community is very united in Turkey and the region preserves the secrets of delicious traditional recipes as the the Develi cıvıklısı (flatbread cooked in the oven topped with different ingredients) that has been registered as protected designation by the Turkish Ministry. Welcomed by Devely mayor, farmers, policemen, local television we had a lunch in a municipality room. The lovely dishes were home prepared by the mothers associations of Develi with the best local ingredients. The most delicious, crunchy and fragrant Develi cıvıklısı with local cheese, vegetables and meat , the Pirtim Pit (a soup made with pulses and grapevine leaves, almost unknown somewhere else in Turkey), the sweet Cevizli Pide filled by walnuts and honey and the juicy stuffed wine leaves. Taste of the mountain, a community hug The best tabbouleh in town If you have a Lebanese friend and you are invited for lunch you can be sure you will eat the best Tabbouleh in town! Tabbouleh is in Lebanon not only a dish, but it means mom cooking, family lunch, eating together. The juicy and zesty parsley based salad opens every family lunch or convivial dining with friends. A long eating convivium with an incredible variety of cold and hot mezze (starters), raw and grilled meats helped by a good quantity of arak (grape and aniseed distillate) . If you have the chance to dine on the mountain in a Lebanese friend’s house as it happened to us when we were invited by our colleagues our first time in Lebanon, you will never forget the tabbouleh taste. And the loud music accompanying the words. Soul food, authentic rural conviviality Nothing to do with war.