RURAL TASTE OF LEBANON, FOREWORD OF THE BOOK - French
dimension 21x25 cm - 224 pages - Printed in septembre 2009
Author: Chérine YAZBECK - Photographer: Randa MIRZA - Illustrations:
Design: Chantal YAZBECK COROLLER - Food stylist: Chérine
Published by the author >>Table
story of this book begins in July 2008. There was an unforseen
encounter with women in Hermel. Gathered around a cauldron, they
cast a handful of cereals and vegetables, infusing the air with
tempting odors, those of little-known recipes. Under the same
appellation are a thousand recipes, savors and aromas.
to write a cookbook with authentic recipes collected from rural
people; a book that revolves around the genuine Lebanese taste
in its complexity and diversity; a comprehensive paperback with
daring, unexpected visuals that reveals a hidden Lebanon; a book
that provides different procedures for the same dish - a gastronomic
the eco-conscious farmer to well-kept secrets from our forefathers,
I met numerous individuals that helped me unveil our culinary
traditions. Their recipes draw together cultures, lifestyles,
family secrets and fragments of life. In the course of the journey,
bits of stories from compelling and peculiar lives are woven together.
it necessary to impart at my turn rural cooking techniques. We
cooked in courtyards, in the kitchen, around the tannour or the
saj. I wanted to record our food heritage, the plants, and growing
methods cooked dishes summarizing the history of a country. Lack
of resources stimulates creativity and urges us to cook with what
lies in our immediate surroundings, something that resonates in
me today. Our modern ways of consumption strangle us and damage
our earth. It is time to go back to our roots by embracing earthy
food, simmer a quality dish that tastes in perfect harmony with
nature. Most of the recipes in this book are simple. It is a matter
of feeling and executing the right techniques. Vegetables, cereals,
breads, wine or cheese, I wanted to document and share the wealth
of the Lebanese terroir.
doing so, I delved into the research of information on plants
that should be quite useful, supposing you wanted to add them
to your own dishes according to their nutritional and medicinal
values, in case you wished, let’s say to remedy a cold,
or other ailments in the body. In the crossings of roads, these
recipes cross the cities and villages to reach the coast.
historic research of Lebanese gastronomy has been complicated
by a lack of manuscripts. Because of this, I decided to focus
on our forefathers, towards the mountains where the road opened
beneath our feet. The earth, the terroir, the hand of the man
with delicate balance, the tanned skins that speak of hard labor,
fields, nature, plants and vegetables.
unique was the eye of Randa Mirza, the photographer who accompanied
me on this culinary journey. Her astute observation, sensitive
to the poetry, willfully opened herself to these cooking moments.
She lyrically draws the stages of this adventure rich in feelings.
In 2006, she won the Photography Prize ‘No Limit Award’
at Les Rencontres photographiques d’Arles.
Hoda Adra illustrates with subtlety and sharpness, fragments of
life of real people as well as the different details of rural
the thread of this book will reveal discussions, moments of exchanges
retracing habits and customs, disclosing here and there small
secrets of the vast wealth of the soil, the edible plants, the
bread-making and the conversational style according to regions
and times. We could speak of a rural community continuing to live
according to a certain ancestral inheritance, but it seems better
to speak about a family of spirit, a shared ‘terroir’
in hommage to those who will never sacrifice a papilla of quality
for the glitter of profitability. Whether they live in the hub
of the city or in distant mountains, all these wonderful people
share the love of taste.
to call it: A Communal Emotional Terroir.
YAZBECK - Beirut 2009
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