This morning when I was reading the newspaper, I found myself thinking of an answer that chef Carla Hall gave during her interview for In the Company of Women. When asked what the world needed more of, she said, “The world needs more face to face conversation, perhaps over a meal, so we can really get to know each other without assumptions.” I’ve been thinking about the way food brings people together and can teach us about each other’s cultures and values. In those simple moments of sharing a meal together, we get to connect with each other, learn, and undo assumptions and stereotypes, all while creating new bonds of mutual understanding. So as we head into the weekend, I wanted to share 6 recipes from our archives that celebrate Middle Eastern cultures and refugees that have been at the center of difficult conversations in world news. These places and people are far more than the sound bites being played on television, and these dishes (and the stories behind them) tell an important narrative about their history and the universal values of feeding and comforting the people we love. xo, grace
Image above: This recipe for sweet Somali flatbread, malawah, and spiced milk tea is from Halimo, a former Somali restaurateur in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. This recipe is part of a cookbook project, Between Meals, by the Bay Area organization, Refugee Transitions, whose mission is to assist refugee and immigrant families in becoming self-sufficient in the United States. Created by food stylist Dani Fisher, and writer and educator Lauren Markham, Between Meals shares the expertise and stories of newly-arrived refugee women, from Burma to Liberia to Afghanistan.
Hawa Hassan of the traditional Somali sauce company, Basbaas Sauces, shared her recipe for Sabaayad, or Somali chapati, with us last year. I was moved and inspired by Hawa’s story of living in a UN Refugee camp and the way in which food has been a cultural connector for her.
Bethany Kehdy was born and raised in Lebanon and her recipe for tabouleh quiche puts a whole new spin on a delicious Lebanese classic.
Anissa Helou shared several recipes for mezze dishes with us: Syrian or Lebanese muhammarah (pepper spread), Iranian Borani-e Bâdenjân (onion and eggplant dip), and wholewheat crackers with mastic. Anissa runs Arab supper clubs in her loft and was the first ever chef-in-residence in Leighton House during their Nour Festival in November 2011.
Shakshuka is one of my all-time favorite dishes and has its roots in several Middle Eastern countries, including Yemen and Israel. This recipe that David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl shared (with baked sweet potato chips) is one of my favorites.
Food writer Lucy Malouf and chef Greg Malouf, authors of the cookbook New Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian, shared their recipe for Toasted Quinoa with Coriander, Lime and Crunchy Pumpkin.
This piece on Naomie Harris (if you haven’t seen Moonlight, please run to the theater now!) and the accompanying fashion photography are heavenly. So much pink!
The stripes at L’Hotel Marrakech are pretty much my idea of perfect.
Megan Pflug’s rental bedroom makeover is a polka dot dream.
Speaking of pattern, check out this AMAZING red and white wallpaper. Talk about making a bold statement!
I am madly in love with these fabrics from Australia that celebrate color and prints that depict Gundjabarrk (woven dilly bags). Each piece is printed and made by Aboriginal women.
Artwork: Hélène Delmaire
Before & After: Two Bedrooms Go from Dark to Doused in Color
What’s In Your Toolbox: Rie Elise Larsen