RURAL TASTE OF LEBANON, FOREWORD OF THE BOOK - French
dimension 21x25 cm - 232 pages - Printed in June 2013
Author: Chérine YAZBECK - Photographer: Randa MIRZA - Illustrations:
Design: Chantal YAZBECK COROLLER - Food stylist: Chérine
Literary award by the international academy of gastronomy >>Table
story of this book begins in July 2008 during an unexpected visit
to the rugged northeastern province of Hermel. Gathered around
a cauldron, a community of women cast in handfuls of grains and
vegetables, infusing the air with tempting odors while unearthing
unique recipes, savors, and aromas.
was the scene that inspired me to write this cookbook. A collection
of authentic recipes gathered in rural areas; a guide that explores
the genuine Lebanese taste in all its complexity and diversity;
a comprehensive anthology with daring and unexpected visuals that
reveal a hidden Lebanon; a reference manual that provides myriad
different procedures for the same dish - a gastronomic road-trip.
wanted to unveil hidden secrets from our forefathers, from eco-conscious
farmers to village women, recipes passed down from mothers to
daughters since time immemorial. Along the way, I met beautiful
and inspiring people who helped me to capture our culinary traditions.
Their recipes draw together cultures, lifestyles, family secrets,
and fragments of life. During the course of the journey, I wove
together snippets of stories from the compelling lives of individuals
I encountered, creating a varied and complex textual fabric. Through
these roads, we compiled these recipes in small cities and villages
going all the way down to the coastline.
considered it necessary to pass on their rural cooking techniques.
We cooked in courtyards, in kitchens, around the tannour and the
saj. I wanted to record our food heritage: plants, herbs, spices,
bread, dairy products and growing methods - in many ways, shaping
the history of my country. Limited resources have always stimulated
creativity, encouraging us to cook what grows locally, a concept
that resonates with many of us nowadays. Modern consumption habits
are poisoning us and damaging our earth. It is time to go back
to our roots by embracing earthy foods, allowing quality dishes
to simmer - in perfect harmony with nature. Most of the recipes
in this book are simple. It is simply a matter of feeling and
using the right techniques. Vegetable, cereal, bread, wine or
cheese, I wanted to document and share the wealth of the Lebanese
the process, I immersed myself in research on plants. This should
prove useful to readers who seek to add them to dishes according
to their nutritional and medicinal values.
research on the history of Lebanese gastronomy was complicated
by a shortage of literature. Therefore, I decided to focus on
our forefathers, heading directly to the mountains where the road
opens beneath our feet: to the earth, the terroir, the hands of
the man who achieves that delicate balance; the tanned and toughened
skin which speaks of hard labor, fields, nature, plants and vegetables.
unique was the keen eye of Randa Mirza, the photographer who accompanied
me on this culinary journey. She captured the poetry of the rural
landscapes that opened her to these cooking encounters. Her images
lyrically capture the stages of this adventure so rich in feelings.
Adra illustrated this work with subtlety and sharpness, conveying
fragments of the lives of real people as well as abundant details
of rural life.
the thread of this book, you will share moments that retrace the
habits and customs of our ancestors. You will uncover well-kept
secrets of our food, edible plants, bread-making techniques, and
conversational styles from different regions and times. We could
speak of a rural community living according to a certain ancestral
inheritance, but I’d rather give voice to a family of spirit,
a shared terroir, an homage to those who will never sacrifice
the quality of food for the glitter of profit. Whether they dwell
in the bustling hub of a city or the most remote corner of a mountain,
each of these beautiful people shares a love for taste.
like to call it: A Shared Emotional Terroir.
: comes from the word terre, (land). Some agricultural sites share
similar soil, weather conditions, and farming techniques, all
of which contribute to the unique qualities of a specific region’s
Yazbeck - Beirut - April 2009
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