When Food for Thought was 6 months old, after having celebrated several successful dinners, and receiving an abundance of compliments for the food; I had the idea to create a Syrian cookbook together with our talented chefs.
Food is a beautiful expression of Syrian culture, one in which the women take real pride in sharing. I had seen first hand the way in the which the women had opened up over the dinner table, sharing ingredients, cooking techniques and finding common ground with complete strangers over their banquet of home cooked Syrian food.
A cookbook could document this sense of community that we were sharing every time we sat down together. The idea was simple, a joint effort to tell the extraordinary stories of these brave women and to promote the simplistic yet immensely effective concept of breaking bread together.
I bought a leather bound notebook and asked them to document their ingredients and cooking techniques in their own words. The following month they returned the book to me filled with Arabic instructions accompanied by photographs that I could now recognise as my favourite Syrian dishes.
I began to search for an Arabic translator. In English we have several dialects and cultural appropriations attached to words. As someone from Scotland I am well aware that we have multiple words and phrases that take on an entirely different meaning to our English neighbours. It is my understanding that Arabic is no different. I therefore set out to track down a Syrian translator to assure an authentic translation. Through a family friend I was introduced to a Syrian woman working here in Vienna who was able to translate our recipes and ensure their directions and phrasing to be an authentic representation of our ladies work. For privacy reasons she has asked to remain anonymous.
The recipes returned translated into English and the next step was to start making the dishes together with our Food for Thought team. Accompanied by photographs we were able to start publishing.
The purpose of this post was to assure our audience that our posts are not an example of researched Syrian dishes, they are authentic Syrian recipes written and created by the women here at Food for Thought.
Once all of the recipes have been published and our stories, and research is complete the plan is bind it together as our Food for Thought cookbook. We hope you’ve enjoyed our recipes so far and we will continue to publish more delicious dishes !
Photographs by Ewa Podgórska