This week, I couldn't shake a story, "Searching for the Aleppo Sandwich" from my head because it was poignantly reflected on just that - a sandwich. But, it begged the question - when is a sandwich much more than a sandwich? At what point can food become a symbol of humanity itself and its resilience? That opened the floodgates to me reading all about the history and meaning of other foods and culinary traditions from the Middle East, which what led me to stumble upon the other articles included here. In the spirit of next week's celebration of tradition, family and food, these felt like fitting articles.
Searching For The Aleppo Sandwich Pt. 1, Sporkful
"These days Aleppo is the symbol of the devastation of the Syrian Civil War. But before that, Aleppo was Syria's food capital -- known for its diverse mix of Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and European food cultures."
Why the Art of Hospitality Means the World to the Middle East, Food52
"Hospitality is a bedrock of cultures and countries across the Middle East, and it manifests in ways that would likely take Americans by surprise. While there are many ways people show it (more on that later), perhaps the grandest expression of Middle Eastern hospitality is—surprise!—through food."
Iraqi Shorbat Addas / Borders Are Not Real, Add a Little Lemon
"What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead but a country that is waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor?… What if this is our nation’s great transition?” – Valarie Kaur"
Spice Routes, The New Yorker (This is from 2007, but it is so good and fitting with these other articles)
"The first thing one woman would ask another was: What recipes do you have? They exchanged recipes, and sometimes argued about recipes. Was the kibbeh better in Aleppo or Damascus? Were the pastries better in Alexandria or Cairo? Claudia Roden had no interest in cooking then, but it was clear to her that families like hers, who had left their lives behind in the Middle East, had managed to carry one thing to the West with them—and that was the taste of the food they ate at home."
And we are coming up on Thanksgiving, after all, so...
Four good-for-you foods that are uniquely American, The Washington Post
"Sean Sherman, founder of the Sioux Chef and co-author of the new cookbook The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen [is on a] mission is to educate people about indigenous food — the very essence of local, seasonal and sustainable eating — and to help people see the health benefits, taste and abundance of the food that identifies North America. With that in mind, and with the fall harvest in full swing, I decided to highlight a handful of ingredients that are uniquely American — some of the foods that sustained people on these lands for generations and that are still widely available today."