A taste of home
By Reem Al Sagheer
“Home is where you have your Kartoffelsalat”: The theme of an event at the theatre festival of the Landestheater Tübingen (LTT) on Saturday evening, 14th September, was the concept of “home”. The smell of oriental food attracted more than 50 people.
In the theatre hall, there stood a stove along with a few hot plates. Five cooks from Syria, Afghanistan and Switzerland fried fish, chicken, flat bread and sausages. In a pot lentils were cooked for “Mjadara”, a Syrian speciality with bulgur, lentils, onions and olive oil.
The director Twyla Zuschneid took the idea for this event from Marburg. There, the discussions about home and food brought the people together. Twyla found this “impressive and inspiring”. In her opening speech she distinguished between the notions of “home” and “fatherland”: “Home has neither uniform nor flag”.
Fatima, Oula and Feras, all editors of tünews INTERNATIONAL, associate home with food as well. Feras cooked “Saiadia”, a dish from the coastal area in the north. It consists mainly of rice, onions and fish, kneaded in flour with seven spices. The recipe was sent to him by his mother from Syria. Fatima and her mother Kamila from Afghanistan cooked “Sambosa” together. These are dumplings filled with chicken, garlic and onions and served with a special sauce. For the German audience Fatima made the food “just a little hot”.
“My language is my identity,” says Oula from Syria. At home she only speaks Arabic with her children so that they don’t forget their native language. She has prepared Mjadara and Fattoush (salad with grilled and fried flat bread) because both are quick. “Normally”, says Oula, “our dishes take a lot of time”.
Arab and Afghan families like to dine with guests. So did Baba Ghanoush, a Christian patriarch. The dish that Oula cooked was named after him. It consists of grilled eggplant with walnuts, lemon juice, garlic and Tahina (a sesame paste). The patriarch did not want to alone, so he invited his community to share the food with him.
In the end, the cooks and the cook invited the audience to help themselves. Not only in Marburg, but also in Tuebingen, the food made people talk to each other. Not even a grain of rice remained of these specialities.