Friday, February 16, 2007

Salone del Gusto - Yak Cheese and Peace

I'm on a Slow Food research kick so bear with me....
Here's an excerpt from the NYTimes about the Slow Food conference called Salone del Gusto by Terra Madre, the international association of Slow Fooders, held yearly in Italy, the country where the movement began.
More than 8,000 people turned the building that held the 2006 Olympic speed skating oval into a kind of culinary United Nations. Chefs and people who like to eat mixed with the people who actually farm, herd, fish or otherwise create the foods that represent what Slow Food is trying to promote.
Basque shepherds mulled over nomadic herding with Mongolian camel tenders. Indian rice growers mingled with Maine potato farmers. Fishermen traded tastes of wild Northwest smoked salmon and Sicilian Favignana bottarga. And everyone partied with the wild Louisiana shrimpers.
Forget the South Beach Wine and Food Fest, I want to go to this! The article also highlights another great thing about the conference - the presence of Israeli and Palestinian chefs working together.
One afternoon, a Jewish chef and a Muslim chef got together to cook for peace. Moshe Basson of the Eucalyptus restaurant in Jerusalem and Nabil Aho of the Restaurant Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center made a menu from traditional Biblical food, including green wheat soup and musakhan chicken with hummus (and let's just say it was the best hummus I ever tasted).
Mr. Aho said the dishes they made in Turin were designed to appeal to rich and poor, Christian, Muslim or Jew. ''We can all gather around this food,'' he said.
The men, part of a small group called Chefs for Peace, believe food is a common language that can help solve the Middle East conflict. ''In most kitchens all over Jerusalem or Tel Aviv there are Palestinian and Israelis cooking together, shoulder to shoulder, with long knives,'' said Mr. Basson. ''They are not killing each other. They are just trying to make a life.''

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