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The Art of Food
Letter from the Editor

The Art of Food

‘Call of the Pomegranate,’ by Alonsa Guevara. Courtesy of Tashkeel. We all need to protect and thank all the creatures, like the bees, for keeping us, and the planet thriving and alive.
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‘Call of the Pomegranate,’ by Alonsa Guevara. Courtesy of Tashkeel. We all need to protect and thank all the creatures, like the bees, for keeping us, and the planet thriving and alive.

By Rym Al-Ghazal
July 31st, 2023
“Al tamr masameer al rukba” –
Dates are the nails of the knee.

Food is life, and life is food. This old Arabian saying about the benefits of dates for joints is just one of many we hear about the impact of different food types on our lives.

Food is a whole philosophy on its own, a way of life and the source of life.

When someone asks you, what is your favorite dish? A lot of reflection goes into answering that, from nostalgic memories of certain plates and the cultural connections to the delicious flavors that leave a lasting impression.

Given its universality and its diversity, we pay homage to this theme of food in our 21st edition, titled the ‘Spread’. It’s an artistic, cultural, and philosophical take on the concept of food and flavors.

People gather around a spread, be it on a table or on the floor, to eat, drink, study, read, draw, converse, decorate, personalize, and form connections and memories.

There are many studies that show how food "made with love" at home helps the body to reach an equilibrium, and just sitting at a dining table and smelling the food for a few minutes can help the digestive system to work properly.

So many of us, especially those with demanding jobs, rarely eat food that we've cooked ourselves or even eat at a dining table except on special occasions. We order food as we work at our desks, and when we get home we all eat in front of the TV instead of sitting down around a spread, enjoying a wholesome meal seasoned with conversations and just taking the time to savor every bite.

Numerous studies show that children who are used to eating with their families have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems, and the overall family dynamics are healthier because a lot of issues are resolved around the dining table.

There is no underestimating the importance of food experiences in our life, our creativity, and our well-being.

In this special edition, we meet artists and creatives at various stages of their lives, who explore aspects of food through their creativity and art.

We feature on our cover the intricate artwork by the legendary Maysaloun Faraj, a piece that embodies the warmth and universality of most homes. We all at some point, had a bowl of fruits, often replenished by a loved one at home.

There is something for everyone, whether you want to discover the art of ‘toast’ to the art of crystals, poems about hunger, food legends, and myths, as well as the many ways ancient dishes have remained with us, with some food items, like the potato, holding a special place in people’s memories and hearts.

We also need to pause and thank the smallest, but most important players in keeping us all fed and alive. For centuries bees have benefited people, plants, and the planet. By carrying pollen from one flower to another, bees, as well as butterflies, birds, bats, and other animal pollinators, make food production possible — contributing to global food security and nutrition. As if that wasn’t enough, pollination also has a positive impact on the environment by helping to maintain biodiversity and the vibrant ecosystems upon which all living beings depend.

Beautiful words about coffee were written in a manuscript titled (Summary of Umdat Al-Safwa in Dissolving Coffee) by Madian bin Abd al-Rahman al-Qusouni in 1213:

"I am the dark lover

I remain in cups

The Indian aroma Oud is my perfume

And My name is well known in China…"

So, sit back with a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy consuming this special edition. Whatever your taste in food, be it fast food, fine dining, special diets or a plant-based lifestyle, remember that our lives revolve around elements of food and drinks of all types.

I hope you enjoy our latest ‘makhzan’ storehouse of enriching stories.

Warmest regards,

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