How’s Lebanon you ask? Pretty incredible thus far. I’ve been tapping in and finding a tribe of healers, foodies, and entrepreneurs rather quickly. Everything here is done over food. And folks here take their food quite seriously.
The folks at Souk El-Tayeb, an organization that reclaims and reinvents the rich and diverse food and land traditions of Lebanon, has been incredibly receptive and flexible in providing me access and exposure to their work. From meeting the small regional farmers they partner with, to the opportunity to help their regular and guest chefs prepare meals, to breaking bread with communities offering special insight the narratives around food.
I’ve been learning rather quickly to check my romantic projections of food sustainability and culture here at the door. Assumptions that modern afflictions of food production – for instance use of artificial hormones and antibiotics in raising livestock – don’t exist here. Or notions that the lifestyle here allows more time to eat mindfully. These are issues of modernity- the priority of production over quality of life – that are indeed everywhere.
In fact, the reason the team at Souk el Tayeb are interested in my work in the first place, especially in my Yoga of Food workshops, is because it offers that insight into the practice of mindful, healthy living. An ancestral concept in Western holistic packaging.
In all worthwhile exchanges, the practice of showing up and listening is what creates value.
I still have a full week of immersing in Souk el Tayeb’s work. And I couldn’t be more excited.
More soon… Next up: reflections from today’s cooking lesson with Georgina Al Bayeh, chef at Souk el Tayeb, in her catering kitchen in Kfardlekos, in the Northern region of Zgharta. Still digesting all of the culinary and emotional wisdom from an incredible experience preparing kibbeh with her and her family.