Fresh baked pita, beans simmering, coring vegetables and sipping coffee with mom, while fresh herbs donned the kitchen table. These are the memories of nurture and deliciousness, in a space where food and human connect, where life’s appetites are explored. This communal strength of kitchens is the building block of every family, every community. It’s around the table that we share our most intimate stories, where the sense of belonging is felt, where deep connections of trust are built. But we’ve been building long before we decided to gather around the kitchen table.
What better way to coexist and make peace than gathering around the kitten table? Lebanese cuisine is centered around the communal love of shared mezze, or small plates. Everything from barbecues, to salads, and fried meat and grain balls are centered on the table with arms reaching over each other as folded pita bread scopes up delicious dips with conversation dotting the table.
Harvest – Mouneh
Cultures are defined by their customs, which largely revolves around the food they eat. Historically, communities were brought together around farmable land, and families settled in areas where irrigation was accessible, cattle were safe and able to survive, and the crop was healthy. Over time, as agriculture innovations made food more readily accessible and reliable, cultural attitudes shifted and our communities shifted. While the majority of families still gather around the dinner table, many of those families have lost touch with their land and their food, and the passing on of culinary heritage has been lost along the way. Not so in countries like Lebanon, where the passing of food knowledge has stood the test of time, and the culture around preservation, harvesting, and cooking is still strong.
Home / Maskan مسكن
Lebanon’s location right on the Mediterranean sea makes it the perfect climate for year round farming and harvesting. Village dwellers still harvest and preserve their crops, picking olives to cure and press oil, curdling milk to make home made cheese spreads, and pickling anything that grows in their yard from wild cucumbers to avocados. City dwellers still buy fresh, raw vegetables from the numerous produce stands that outnumber Starbucks coffee shops in Seattle, and grandmothers joyously gather in their kitchens to core vegetables, while the grandkids sit around breaking open fresh almonds from their shell to snack on. The connection between the people and their land is still very real, and nothing is left unused, even thistles, which are washed, cooked, and seasoned in a pan like any other vegetable.