I was invited by Kamal Mouzawak (the founder of the first farmer’s market in Beirut) to go to Beirut, Lebanon for a very interesting project. First I did a lecture about my eating philosophy of at studio Beirut and found a lot of enthusiastic responses. Because I had never been to the Middle East and I wanted to get an idea of what was in people’s minds I handed out questionnaires for people to fill in. I asked them what their most precious food-memories were and if they were related to their country. I also asked what kind of food made them think of war and why. With this information and also with the multiple encounters we had with so many passionate people during the week, Kamal and I developed a workshop. I found out that the precious memories we have when it comes to food are mostly related to family and childhood. Most of the filled in forms told me that they wanted their mother to cook for them and that a person’s favourite food makes him or her think of their childhood.
I think this is not a typical Lebanese answer but a universal idea. Furthermore I found out that bread is associated with war but is also still the basis of Lebanese everyday food. We decided to make a Green Line of bread bowls (the green line was a line of demarcation in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War from 1975 to 1990. It separated the west from the east like the Berlin Wall). The bowls would be coloured green with parsley juice (there is no Lebanese food without parsley) and we would ask all the participants to write their personal food story or food memory on or in the bowl. In this way the bowl contains a memory. Then on Saturday we would exhibit a 10 meter long green line of bowls in the middle of Souk el Tayeb and serve them with fresh white cheese and Cedar honey inside them. Visitors of the market can eat the bowls with the cheese and honey and share the food but also share the stories that they put into their body”.
Experience, Food, Installation, Workshop