Best of the WebFood & Drinkrecipes

Comforting Recipes Honoring Cultures in Difficult Times + Best of the Web

by Grace Bonney


This morning when I was reading the newspaper, I found myself thinking of an answer that chef  gave during her interview for . When asked what the world needed more of, she said, “The world needs more face to face conversation, perhaps over a meal, so we can really get to know each other without assumptions.” I’ve been thinking about the way food brings people together and can teach us about each other’s cultures and values. In those simple moments of sharing a meal together, we get to connect with each other, learn, and undo assumptions and stereotypes, all while creating new bonds of mutual understanding. So as we head into the weekend, I wanted to share 6 recipes from our archives that celebrate Middle Eastern cultures and refugees that have been at the center of difficult conversations in world news. These places and people are far more than the sound bites being played on television, and these dishes (and the stories behind them) tell an important narrative about their history and the universal values of feeding and comforting the people we love. xo, grace

Image above: This recipe for sweet Somali flatbread, malawah, and spiced milk tea is from Halimo, a former Somali restaurateur in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. This recipe is part of a cookbook project, Between Meals, by the Bay Area organization, , whose mission is to assist refugee and immigrant families in becoming self-sufficient in the United States. Created by food stylist Dani Fisher, and writer and educator Lauren Markham, Between Meals shares the expertise and stories of newly-arrived refugee women, from Burma to Liberia to Afghanistan.


Hawa Hassan of the traditional Somali sauce company, , shared her recipe for Sabaayad, or Somali chapati, with us last year. I was moved and inspired by Hawa’s story of living in a UN Refugee camp and the way in which food has been a cultural connector for her. 

Sarka Babicka

Bethany Kehdy was born and raised in Lebanon and her recipe for tabouleh quiche puts a whole new spin on a delicious Lebanese classic.


 shared several recipes for mezze dishes with us: Syrian or Lebanese muhammarah (pepper spread), Iranian Borani-e Bâdenjân (onion and eggplant dip), and wholewheat crackers with mastic. Anissa runs in her loft and was the first ever chef-in-residence in Leighton House during their Nour Festival in November 2011.

Shakshuka is one of my all-time favorite dishes and has its roots in several Middle Eastern countries, including Yemen and Israel. This recipe that David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl shared (with baked sweet potato chips) is one of my favorites.

Food writer Lucy Malouf and chef Greg Malouf, authors of the cookbook New Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian, shared their recipe for Toasted Quinoa with Coriander, Lime and Crunchy Pumpkin.


(if you haven’t seen Moonlight, please run to the theater now!) and the accompanying fashion photography are heavenly. So much pink!


 are pretty much my idea of perfect.

is a polka dot dream.

Speaking of pattern, check out this . Talk about making a bold statement!

I am madly in love with these that celebrate color and prints that depict Gundjabarrk (woven dilly bags). Each piece is printed and made by Aboriginal women.

Black History Month Spotlight: Amina Mucciolo and Betye Saar

Artwork: Hélène Delmaire

Interiors: Step Inside Candis Cayne’s Los Angeles Dream Home, A Modern-Day Neighbor in Old Rothesay, A Home for Pattern and Play in Indianapolis, IN

Decorating: 12 Wallpapers That Celebrate Nature, 10 Great Kitchen Islands, Color Stories We Love: Pink & Red, 10 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Mantel

Before & After: Two Bedrooms Go from Dark to Doused in Color

DIY: Patch Pocket Heart + 2 Valentine’s Day Inspired DIYs

What’s In Your Toolbox: Rie Elise Larsen

Suggested For You


Leave a Reply

Design*Droits-Humains reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.