Cooking is the best peacemaker”: Diaspora Cuisine

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We know: Cooking connects. And we are not the only one. We would like to show you a project, that proves the culinary power – and that warmed our hearts:

Diaspora Cuisine is a network, that collects traditional recipies from middle east and wants to spread them. All in all 30 of them will be presented in the month of ramadan, every day. Rita, the initiator of the project, has cooked with us in our container in Marseille and is cooperating with the syrian exile-radio-station SouiaLi.

Meanwhile she is living in Germany and told us about her experiences, how she established the platform that gathers Syrians through food:

“Two years ago, alone, I arrived to Frankfurt with two suitcases containing my clothes, and a small plastic bag, very well tightened, contains a bunch of seven spices that my mother used to grind manually. My mother does not believe in any ready-made blend of spices and considers hers the perfect base for every successful Syrian dish. I carried them as if they were my mother’s blessing, a soul food, I started to cook to imitate my mother and to challenge her, to defeat the homesickness and the loneliness, to bring Home to my table and peace to my soul, after a long stressful day at work.”

“Then, the idea of Diaspora Cuisine, was born. I  started to publish pictures of my Syrian cooking on my Facebook profile page. Suddenly, my friends who are dispersed all over the world, interacted and began to express their homesick and confirm their identities through the images of their Syrian cooking.”

“Today Diaspora Cuisine’s page on facebook contains more than 3,000 Syrian expatriates, spread in the four points of the world, from Sydney and Bangkok and China to San Francisco. The greater number today is located in Germany. They cook, share recipes and inform each other of the appropriate alternatives for the original ingredients. And most importantly, they started talking to each other again, after a long rupture due to the different political opinions regarding what is happening now in Syria. Cooking is the best peace maker, culture ambassador and an important tool for women empowerment as it represents the most important forms of artistic, emotional and social expression for women in the middle east.”

“The middle east has always been a conflict zone, this fact has also its influence over food, in a way that every country there pretends to have the patent of certain plate, and forgets that it is about the whole region’s cultural heritage, even before borders exist, such as Hummus.”

“Therefore, If I had to choose a plate, that represents Diaspora Cuisine, it would be Tabbouleh, a very middle eastern plate that looks like Mosaic, which is how people over there look. Tabbouleh is a salad that always gathers people, and made in huge quantities in festive events, it is a happy and fine salad.”