We can’t stop the horrors currently occurring in Syria, but with #Cook For Syria, we can help preserve a significant cuisine .
We’re on the downhill run to Christmas now, with the silly season in full swing. I had intended to make this post a suggestion list of gifts for the food lovers in your life, but I’ve just pre-ordered the cookbook #Cook For Syria and cannot think of anything more appropriate to recommend.
I’m finding the horrors presented to me via news sources each day of the suffering and barbarism inflicted on the people of Syria and, more recently Aleppo, sickening. This is the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II and this wicked brutality leaves me feeling overwhelmed and powerless.
That this is occurring in a country so noted for it’s culinary culture adds a further note of urgency to the whole issue. Food is an especially significant marker of the Syrian national identity. Culinary lore is passed through the generations and displacement, leaving many separated from their families, the poverty of being refugees, living in camps without access to their own kitchens and lack of access to traditional ingredients all contributes to a loss of knowledge of unique Syrian cuisine.
Flowing on from what was initially proposed to be a single UK charity dinner to raise money for refugees, this book contains traditional recipes donated by Syrian families, Syrian-inspired recipes donated by celebrity chefs, including Sami Tamimi, Fergus Henderson and Skye Gyngell, exceptional artwork and photography – all 100% donated. All profits from the book will be donated to charity – in aid of UNICEF’s UK Children of Syria Fund and the organisers hope it will spark a global initiative.
I love Middle Eastern food and Syria was right on top of my bucket-list, so this is my recommended Christmas gift. Buy the book (available for pre-order at your favourite online book dealer), get cooking and get sharing by using the hashtag #cookforsyria and be a part of the movement to help preserve an entire culinary culture.
If you are interested in finding out more about what the Syrian civil war means for Syrian cuisine I’d suggest you have a listen to Food Stories From Syria on the BBC Food Program.