December 30, 2011

Peanut Butter "Wanna Be " Cookies

If you  are craving for something sweet and different than your granola bars or if you are bored from having those Kellogg's  Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars or cereals for breakfast , here is a substitution to break the routine!
Check this quick recipe that doesn't require ANY BAKING :  "Peanut Butter Wanna be Cookies" gives you the taste and energy you need!
The only thing you need is some love for peanut butter! :) 

Time of preparation: 4 mins
Serving amount: 10 " wanna be " peanut butter cookies
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup of Oatmeal ( Quaker or any brand in the supermarket)
  • Sprinkles of Vanilla 
  • Optional: cinnamon, cocoa powder, nuts and raisins.
**No preservatives, No colorants, No artificial ingredients :)

December 27, 2011

Ending a Revolutionary Year for You

" The earth doesnt't belong to us, we belong to earth "

I am writing a post on how this year passed, but  I  know I will never be fair , whether I was talking about it from a personal or a global aspect.
This year was vivid, starting with the Arab spring revolutions that overthrew the dictators, the world economic crisis and the prices of commodities soaring high ,  along with the Japanese Earthquake,  the Lebanese government chaos, and last but not least, the shameful crisis in the horns of Africa...
You can open all the newspapers, websites and blogs  that will discuss endlessly these global revolutions and uprisals, and these natural disasters that hit the world...

*Though I would recommend that you listen to this podcast; very thorough and tackles all global development issues in 2011 and the predictions for 2012 : click here to hear it .

But as this a blog, is  not a news reporting website,  I am gona  talk about my personal aspect for the year 2011. As it was also the year of revolutions for my blog and me as well.

If you had all these , wouldn't you be blessed? 

December 18, 2011

Coffee: My Story? or Theirs? ..The Ultimate Coffee Guide.

My Story

Black as the devil, Hot as hell, Pure as an angel, Sweet as love."~Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

I remember the times when I used to accompany mom around Beirut , in buying grocery from local shops, known in Lebanese as “dekkaneh”. Supermarkets back then weren’t ubiquitous. I used to nag about the fact  that she would take me from shop to another till she finds that secret ingredient for the food that she wants to cook, or that special butchery that offers delicate meat..  But the only favorite part I used to get excited about was entering the Coffee Roaster. Just smelling the aroma of the bean roasting was the only thing that would shut me up.  “Bin maa’ Heil” (. (Or coffee with cardamom) shouts my mom to the vendor over the machine. The picture in my head is pure : I stand below the machine , watch the vendor weighing the beans in a stainless steel bowl.  I hear the beans hitting the stainless steel bowl, then the beans are devoured by the grinder. And here all the heavenly aromas are released.

She was ordering the Levant coffee which is based on the Turkish brewing method, and widely spread in Lebanon and Syria. This Turkish coffee is either roasted with cardamom or stays plain (qahwah sādah) according to the buyer’s taste.
Turkish coffee  served by Mom for her neighbors or visitors was a daily habit. As I a grew older, I was allowed to drink the Turkish coffee, especially if I had exams during my high school years and I needed to overnight.

During the holy month of  Ramadan , and as a Saudi Arabian tradition dictates, mom  prepares the Arabic coffee ( made from green beans) after every fasting. It brings sooth after breaking the fast and eases digestion.Arabic coffeem makes its appearance in our house during more “ethnic” holidays such as Ramadan and Eid..Humans are indeed creatures of habits.
This  Arabic coffee is characterized with the overwhelming aroma and flavor of cardamom, and sometimes other spices like saffron that usually gives it a golden color,  as well as the odors of cloves, and sometimes cinnamon. It is  mostly served with dates for the sugary taste, because sugar can’t be added to the coffee.

Dates & arabic Coffee
Arabic Coffee drank in Najd area mostly

Coffee making is an alchemy by itself ; millions of varieties, different blends, distinct flavors , added ingredients like milk, chocolate,cream…etc  ( Check this interesting  infographic ) and even coffee choice depends on each one's taste (Coffee Matching according to  taste : Coffee Matching)

But that’s not the whole story here. This is just my story. Coffee roasters aren’t wide spread anymore like a decade ago, coffee was replaced by vacuum packaged bags that can be just grabbed from any supermarket. There is no roasting. There is no overwhelming smell. The magic has gone.
And if one would analyze the reason behind this,it is because of the rise of prices of coffee.
The fresh roasted coffee mom bought costed only few dollars per kilogram, whereas  now the kilograms costs atleast 20 dollars!
Blame it on the oil prices, blame it on  global policies. Blame it on the industry. The coffee prices will continue to soar! But are coffee farmers gaining wealth with all this soar?

From now,  I will talk about the story of the coffee beans from the farmers point of view. It is their story...

December 15, 2011

A distinguished nutrition professor from Purdue visits FAFS

"Vitamin D recommendations: General public vs. individual treatment" was the lecture given by Dr. Connie Weaver, a  distinguished Professor and Head Department of Foods and Nutrition at Purdue University, Dr. Connie Weaver.  

Weaver’s accomplishments were in the area of nutrition research and mineral bioavailability. She has published over 165 original research articles and 116 book chapters. The results of her research on calcium metabolism are being used to set recommendations for calcium for populations around the world.  She was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board Panel to develop new recommendations for requirements for calcium and related minerals. .

Weaver , came to the American University of Beirut (AUB)  to give a series of  3 lectures at the Faculty of Food Sciences and Agriculture (FAFS)

December 7, 2011

Was Star Trek too optimistic for a future full of chocolate?

"I never met a chocolate I didn't like " Deanna Troi -  Star Trek ( The Next Generation) .
 That is probably one of the renowned quotes about chocolate . I am not that of a Star Trek fanatic , more of a Star Wars. But Star Wars doesn't mention anything about chocolate!
 Even in another Star Trek Episode   (Deep Space Nine) chocolate was a commodity on DS9 during the Bajor Occupation; Quark offered some to Odo to make up for their "rough start" back in 2363.
Does this  ingenious TV series that depicts life in the future , able to predict correctly that chocolate will still exist in the future? And that Chocolate will still be eaten in "rough times"?

Unfortunately, Cocoa and chocolate will be rare foods in the upcoming 10 years. Well that’s what the International Center for Tropical Agriculture ( more about CIAT)  in Columbia warns. So , perhaps teleportation machines and starships will be more realistic  than humans eating chocolate.

December 6, 2011

Is Lebanon Food Secure?

The Economics of Food Security in Lebanon

What comes to your mind when we say " food secure"? Do we mean that all Lebanese people have access to food? The answer is not quite positive.
Lebanese might eat everyday, but they might not quite eat good, or adequate amounts of the food.
Food security includes not just the availability of food but also entails the safety and nutrition of the food we eat.

Jane Harrigan, a political economist, consultant to the World Bank and FAO, and professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London presented a lecture on November 30, 2011 on "The Economics of Food Security" which was sponsored by the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS) at AUB.

Harrigan stated that Lebanon's heavy dependence on imported food combined with massive hikes in global food prices between 2007 and 2008 have sparked increases in poverty. She added that the the average Lebanese household spends a large 20 to 30 percent of take-home income on food.

"Yes, domestic wheat production has increased significantly over the last 15 years but so has domestic demand due to population growth, income growth, and changing consumption patterns," warned Harrigan.

In 2009, the World Bank rated Lebanon as vulnerable in food security. The global rise in food prices and the fact that Lebanon is heavily dependent on import had some serious macro-economic effects: it led to inflation, a rising agricultural trade deficit, and a major negative social effect.

Between 2007 and 2008, the agriculture trade deficit as well as the cost of imported food increased 50 percent. Trade data suggests that Lebanon has a very strong revealed comparative advantage in the export of fruit and vegetables as well as wine and tobacco, added Harrigan.

From a purely economic perspective, if Lebanon wants to achieve food security by specializing in those areas where it has an international comparative advantage it should be focusing on exporting fruits vegetables and importing cereals that it doesn't have a comparative advantage in.

One Sentence that caught my attention was when Harrigan affirmed that "The global food crisis is one of the many propellers of the Arab Spring".....

Presentation Abstract

This presentation will look at the economic costs to Lebanon of the sharp rise in global food prices in 2007/08 in light of the country’s heavy dependence on food imports. It will assess the policy response to this in the form of renewed emphasis on domestic food production, particularly of cereals, and will ask whether such a policy is an economically efficient use of scarce domestic resources.

About the speaker

Jane Harrigan is Professor of Economics at SOAS. She has worked and published extensively on the political economy of the MENA region as well as on sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently working on a project looking at food sovereignty in the Middle East funded by Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. She is the author of eight books and has acted as a consultant to numerous international organizations, including the World Bank and FAO.

Publication of the lecture:

Youtube Video:

Social Media Changing Lives Conference

Social Media Changing Lives

Check out the rest of the posters!
After the success of “Blogging Lebanon” last December, Online Collaborative at the American University of Beirut proudly announces its annual conference for this year “Social Media Changing Lives”.

There is no doubt that social media is expanding drastically in the world, and especially in the Middle East, yet this change is not only related to technology and the internet. Social Media is revolutionizing every aspect of our lives. The aim of this conference is to discuss how social media is changing fields such as education, culture, business, media and journalism, music and art, NGOs, politics, religion, human rights, science, the environment and the personal lives of everyone who is using them.

This conference will be taking place on December 16, 2011 at 12:00 PM at Issam Fares Hall at the American University of Beirut.
Check the schedule and speakers list below and don't forget to join our event on Facebook.

November 26, 2011

Why I Dont Like Ready Mixes

Homemade cakes are my favorite. I hate those from some bakeries: full of cream, sugar, the sugar coat and the intoxicating fake flavor and color. Even worst: I dont eat wedding cakes. I'd just take a bite perhaps ( for social reasons). They lack the freshness and flavor of a true cake.

The best cakes I like are homemade, fresh from the oven, hot , fluffy, and chocolate flavored.
Don't we all love our mother's or grandmother's cakes? They do their own secret mixes, inspired from the TV show host, some advise from their neighbors, and from they book they read 10 years ago, and Voila the perfect mix to make us happy!

But this exquisite mixes were replaced with  industrial, ready mixes. Mixes made on a large scale to ensure there is no time wasted, no error done, no defect made, no haphazard effect that can occur  when we are in the kitchen baking. 
This is not what I want in my cake. I dont want Betty Crocker. I dont want to use it.
Why do I want to use something that will let me forget the joy of baking ? Let me forget how to err in the recipe? How to ruin my cake? How to make it taste bad or good? Isn't the whole purpose of baking to enjoy it and make something from your own hands (taken from the lebanese , men 2eedaykeh?)

I can only say about Betty or any other mixes: they are like the  botux for baking.; filled artificially with ingredients that make desserts taste more delicious and look more tastier!

To get more proves than why is better to prepare your own mix for baking , I went to the supermarket to compare a ready mix for pancakes and buying the ingredients from scratch.

Here are the points that I compared:

November 16, 2011

The Red Velvet Cake Dilemma

The Red velvet cake has lately been prominent. Everytime I am around my friends , the Red velvet cake should be either mentioned or devoured in their mouths.One can’t deny that its feathery texture, the striking red color, and the overwhelming vanilla taste, that contribute to its fame. It is indeed a magical cake, and just looking at it reminds me of cartoon, and all the Disney movies we all grew up watching.
Picture from the web
However, beauty is not pure. And as everything in life have their pros and cons. The red velvet cake is not an exception to this rule, sadly.

Normally nutritionists scare you off from these high caloric cakes, but as I am a food scientist I’d rather take another angle.  So, this post  is not to scare you away from the calories; rather, it’s the “red” you should worry about.

Let’s take Martha Stewart’s online recipe of the cake. Martha uses around 1/4 to 1/2 cup of a red food coloring to make one cake. She clearly states to put 2 one-ounce bottles liquid red food coloring to achieve the desired shade!Consider a normal diet; you are having one piece of the red velvet cake every month, along with other colorants in food from the halloween candies, to the Eid Mlabbas, to the Christmas colored cookies, to potato chips, fruit loop cereals, the guacamole dip, to the hotdog and the  frozen vegetables…etc The list goes one because everyone is increasingly relying on  processed foods.
 The question is whether all these colorants will cause any health implications.

Let us start why is there color in my food? 
Remarkably, sensory scientists found that color is always associated with flavor. Consumers may refuse to have a green chocolate drink or a brown strawberry juice. Therefore, industries rush in adding colorants to make their product look fresh, nutritious, and thus appealing to consumers. That’s because consumers love everything that resembles nature. ( more on how color affects the sense of tastes of food & drinks by Washington University)

November 4, 2011

China: Through the mouth of the beholder

Perhaps noodles and chopsticks are the hallmarks of the China's cuisine, nevertheless this cuisine is abundant with plenty of  food items. Outstandingly, the cuisine had evolved throughout history due to ethnic, geographical changes and the different dynasties ruling the empire. It had been also shaped by eight distinct gastronomical schools. Therefore what the capitol of China , Beijing,  is bidding nowadays in its food markets, is different than what "china town" or the Lebanese (wanna be) Chinese restaurants are offering.
Let us visit Beijing through the taste buds of  Reina Yammine, who traveled there for her summer internship in a technology company.

Reina, Indulging in her Starfish 

October 26, 2011

Cibophobia: The Fear of New Food

As a child, I used to leave those weird looking vegetables in my plate, or remove those mushrooms from my pizza. I refused to try those shrimps mom prepared, or the Okra stew with rice stew, or even the asparagus soup. I was afraid to eat fruits except apples and bananas. Back then I was a picky eater but as I grew up, I started having the courage to explore most of them.But of course this “pickiness” remains deep inside me every time I want to eat something new.Sensory Scientists named this “pickiness” as Cibophobia or food neophobia, the reluctance and sometimes avoidance to eat novel foods. It is immensely affected by one's culture, gender, age, and educational, social, economical status as well as the place of residence: urban versus rural.

October 24, 2011

Students: Down with Noodles, Cooking is the Way

As much as living alone or away from home during college days is arduous and hectic, as much as a college student can learn so many things , like managing his/her own life, taking full responsibility of what he/ she is doing, learning special techniques, or even developing “super power” skills in accommodating with roommates ..etc. Cooking is one of those special techniques you have to develop. Take it from a person who has been living 6 years away from home.

And there might be a “valid “reason why you need to start cooking. Eating is perhaps one of the most things that make your parents worry about mostly during your first year in University. Simply, they are not used to the fact that you are not dining with them at home, and from their own food.How many times did your mother call you to check up on what did you eat for lunch, or perhaps to remind you to buy food from the grocery? But, with all your courses, clubs’ activities, social life, and sometimes part time work, you actually have no time to plan your eating. And so, you dismiss this question as annoying, maybe intruding, because you can easily manage eating just anything around!

October 16, 2011

Blog Action Day 2011: Stabilizing Food Prices

This year blog action day coincides with World Food Day. That's why bloggers today, and from around the world, will be solely talking about "Food" , for creating awareness, sharing interesting information and facts, or just for discussing the controversies in agriculture, nutrition and food technologies. To follow the discussion: Click here.

Importantly,  I would like to shed the light on the dilemma that is affecting every single individual in this world, which is the increase in food prices!

For that, I will be sharing what FAO is calling for on this day: Food Prices Stabilization.

Because millions of people around the world live in chronic hunger, not to forget the horrible Crisis in theHorn of Africa, which was not just because of the dreadful drought but also due to many economical reasons. 
When food prices fluctuate wildly as they have in recent years, it's the poor who are hit the hardest. World Food Day 2011 calls on the global community to do what's needed to stabilize food prices.

Here  is the videoby FAO : "FOOD PRICES -- FROM CRISIS TO STABILITY"  to shed some light on this trend and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable.

And for this day also ,The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP) are celebrating World Food Day 2011 tomorrow 17 October with a series of speeches by visiting guests and performances by celebrity goodwill ambassadors. More on this story.
Follow : World Food Day on Twitter: #worldfoodday and #wfd2011
And the Ceremony Live

Support campaign to end famine by just clicking

Watch the short video that was  launched with the help of Bono, Colin Farrell, George Clooney, K’naan, Annie Lennox and many other famous faces and that was banned ONLY in the U.K just yesterday.

The F Word: Famine is the Real Obscenity

Previous Posts Regarding this issue: 
1. Crisis in the Horn of Africa.

2. 10 Most Misconceptions about Hunger

More about Blog Action Day:

September 17, 2011

Nothing is more memorable than smell

"Nothing is more memorable than a smell.  One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town.  Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years.  Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once.  A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth."  ~Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses.

For me , entering a restaurant is not just a meal occasion, it's a sensual ritual for exciting all my senses, then my nerve buds, up to my neurons , then encrypting this stimulation into my memory storage area.
And if this ritual didn't happen, then the restaurant failed in making me a memory.
And if it failed in making this memory, this simply means : " the food wasn't great".
 And, although I am a food scientist ,  where one would assume that would be easy  for me talking about a restaurant , its menu and its food. But it is not. Because I tend to talk about almost all the factors that affect eating.  You will notice that as you read below.

The couqley bistro- restaurant  experience for brunch, was one of those vivid memories that had successfully been processed and stored. As you enter, you are overwhelmed with the smell of home  made omlettes and pancakes, and so you  evocatively remember the Sunday mornings where you used to wake up late , smell something delicious and enter the kitchen to see  your mother preparing for you,  your favorite breakfast: Pancakes.  Bringing back  this picture is worth it all. 

September 9, 2011

10 misconceptions about Hunger

Can  Food Aids solve Hunger crises ?  
Or is Free Trade the solution? What  about the green  Revolution ??

Hunger , just like any topic also has its myths, and its controversies.
But these "myths" are leading to social, economical instabilities  problems in the world we live in.  The drought hitting the horn of Africa is not merely  a natural uncontrollable force , it has  lead to famine , man's very own act .
 2.4 million people in five countries across the horn of Africa are affected, and Tens of thousands of people have already died from starvation, half of whom are children – and malnutrition rates in some regions are worse than anything previously recorded.

World Food Program  through its millenium goals aims   to end povertyby 2015. NGO's , local or international, are all collaborating to mitigate this crisis. As well, on the field volutneers , online volunteers, journalists , bloggers are all working worldwide together  too.But more efforts are needed. And to have more efforts,  we need more awareness. This post is nothing but to raise awareness about the general public views  towards hunger, the responsible people behind its cause and  the authorities actively participating in eliminating it.

Based on the book World Hunger: Twelve Myths  and  below  notes is taken from ( summarized) : Food First, Institute for Food and Development Policy. 

Myth 1: Not Enough Food to Go Around
Abundance, not scarcity, best describes the world's food supply. Enough wheat, rice and other grains are produced to provide every human being with 3,200 calories a day. That doesn't even count many other commonly eaten foods - ­vegetables, beans, nuts, root crops, fruits, grass-fed meats, and fish. Enough food is available to provide at least 4.3 pounds of food per person a day worldwide: two and half pounds of grain, beans and nuts, about a pound of fruits and vegetables, and nearly another pound of meat, milk and eggs - ­enough to make most people fat! The problem is that many people are too poor to buy readily available food. Even most "hungry countries" have enough food for all their people right now. Many are net exporters of food and other agricultural products.

September 1, 2011

This is  the section of  "The Baking Power of the Poet"

What does Poetry have to do with a Food blog?

 Let me reply with what Joyce Carol Oates, the noble peace prize winner in Literature, who quotes that
"If food is poetry, is not poetry also food?”! 

So,  Isn't poetry  after all, the food of the soul??  She also adds : "When poets write about food it is usually celebratory. Food as the thing-in-itself, but also the thoughtful preparation of meals, the serving of meals, meals communally shared: a sense of the sacred in the profane.”

What Oates claims is the reason why poetry should me a must for  a food lover like me and thus add this section to my blog!

I hope you will enjoy some of the poems below , either from other poets or written by me ...

August 18, 2011

Humans,what do they taste like ?

 Perhaps this post will cause disgust to many people. Perhaps it might raise interest.

And yes I do agree , it is not   religiously , morally, and ethically, acceptable to actually "eat humans".
But as a food scientist, we needed to learn about the taste of "humans" in our studies. So, the question was " What does Human Flesh taste like?" .
The answere was  not by making us taste the flesh  in class, but rather by reading few research papers from  Food Science Scholars . And how did these scholars describ human flesh taste??
Well , definitely they didn't conduct sensory tests on human samples.
What they did was   interviewing some tribes ( who are cannibals of course, or whose ancestors were)  and asking them about their gustatory experience when they eat it.  Maybe it wont be a precise description ,even biased, but that's what's sensory  is all about ;  a personal experience that differs between one person and another according to his/ her own taste buds, memories, and personalities.

One interesting paper reviewed this topic was done by Gary Allen ( Culinary Institute of America) titled as:
"What is the Flavor of Human Flesh? It was  Presented at the Symposium Cultural and Historical Aspects of Foods . Oregon State university, year 1999.
Here is a script of some parts of the paper: ( if your interested you can read the remainder here )

"   Anthropologist Jeremy MacClancy described the taste of human flesh -- based not upon his own     experience, mind you, but upon the testimony of some of the natives of the New Hebrides islands of the South Pacific:

"From all accounts, human meat is very sweet, in Vanuatu, they say that the flesh of a black man is sweet, whereas the flesh of a white man is really quite salty and stringy, they say it's not so nice."[2]
Derek, a member of the Dani tribe in Irian Jaya reminisced about the taste of human flesh in an article in the Baltimore Morning Sun, in May 1992:
"Deliciouiversity, Corvallis, OR.
.Old ones are tough. Young men and women taste better. And babies taste like fish. The flesh is very soft.["3]<  "

July 28, 2011

Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Stop complaining there is no Air conditioner when electricity  goes out, and stop complaining it is too hot when you walk few miles under the sun. Stop complaining if you missed one of your meals because you had so much work.  Stop complaining because the waiter didnt bring you your diet soda.
Why? Because what you are going through is not even comparable to the wretchedness felt by what the people are suffering everyday in Afirca. Few pictures from MSF , may speak the situation or may not , it is up to your own eyes.
" You may have seen the pictures of starving people in the Horn of Africa on your TV screens.
We are all asking: how can this be happening again? Parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are facing one of the worst droughts for 60 years, and around 10 million people are desperately in need of food, clean water and basic sanitation. 

Join me in calling on world leaders to save millions of lives - today and tomorrow:
Despite the urgency of the situation, most world leaders are responding too slowly. Immediate aid is essential. Yet at the same time we must not let them drop the ball on long term solutions as has too often happened in the past.
Take action right now at:


July 26, 2011

A Letter to The Syndicate of Lebanese Restaurants

The live grill ( See More photos Below)

A  successful  event was  organized by the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Night-Clubs and Pastries in Lebanon . The event , " Feast For Change",   was the first official food & wine event in Lebanon’, and will continue to be annual. 
Remarkably, I liked the fact that for the first time an event as big as this was for  a charity for Monuments, specifically the beautiful old buildings in Beirut that are threatened to be demolished.  Lady Sursock Cochrane donated a percentage of proceeds of this event to her foundation for protecting natural sites and old buildings in Lebanon , APSAD.
According to Beirut Night Life :" The event, which was sponsored by Bank Audi, MasterCard, Vresso and Boecker was attended by Syndicate Board Members, as well as city’s top VIPs, socialites, ministers, media and owners of the following businesses who also generously offered to set up live cooking and beverage stations at the event:
BRGR Co, Couqley, Salmontini, Diwan Al Sultan, BO18, Al Falamanki, Shogun, White Coast, Leila, Mayrig, Cro Magnon, Eric Kaiser, Oslo, Hallab, Platinum Chocloate, Gou, Faqra Catering, Chili’s, Gabriel Bocti, Fattal, Enologia, Vintage, IXSIR, Chateau Ksara, Chateau Musar, Massaya, Diageo and Cin Cin."

As much as this event was greatly organized , we  watch  one week later , an attack on Lebanese Restaurants on Marcel Ghanem's TV  show ( LBCI  group), Kalam el Nas. The reports on this program showed  how horrific and disgusting it is to eat outside our houses in Lebanon.

July 12, 2011

Lebanese Myths about Food Poisoning Busted

After i watched this sad news on TV about the latest victim of food poisoning: a young man  on his day of  graduation , i thought of listing some of the Lebanese Myths or sayings about food , eating out poisoning cases.

A.    I got hit by the  " wind"  ( akhadet saf2et hawa)

You had dinner in a restaurant with your friends and spent the night back at home with nausea, followed by fever, vomiting and oh well, diarrhea.

You blame the AC in the restaurant or in the car or the air coming from the window in your room.

July 11, 2011

Food Online

Ironically, eating  by  itself is not just a biological need but also a " social " habit. This  greatly explains the invasion of food throughout the social media sphere. We tweet about what we ate ,or what restaurant we went to, we upload facebook pictures of birthday cakes, of  family dinners,  of  barbeque  gatherings,

Ofcorse, food shouldnt be our main concern, but food is and will always be a trend .
And that's why business focuses on this domain greatly. Not to forget web- based technologies.

From recipes websites, to food bloggers, to restaurant review applications , to place-based websites , such as FOURSquare but specifically, FOOD SPOTTING that help you find and share food instead of reviewing restaurants. And through this website/app, you are able to recommend your favorite dish and see other's recommendations.

Yet , another interesting website was launched just today CONSMR, which shares opinion on consumer packaged goods ( including food) and lets you rate them!!
ere is the full review on MASHABLE "Consmr Aims To Be the Yelp for Supermarket Goods"

Intersting Websites, dont you think?

July 1, 2011

If you were late in sleep, An arabic Duo !

      I havent featured an arabic song before but this song is just different than all other arabic songs.  "If you were late in sleep",was a special song sent to me almost a year or less ago,  a theatrical song in the Play Zenobia, the Syrian queen of the Palmyrene Empire .
The  play was the production of the famous Lebanese composer,musician, poet and producer  
Mansour Rahbani
 (known as one of the Rahbani brothers) . And this is one great Duo from the play,
between Carole Samaha and Youssef el Khal.  Carol with her feminine yet powerful, assertive voice and Elkhal with his masculine yet warm words.

If you  were late in sleep     



            إذا تأخرت بالنوم فلن تغني لك الحساسين 
ولن يحييك   وجهي لأنني أمشي مع النهار .. لا إلى قرار

أنا تأخرت بالنوم لأحلم أكثر .. بعينيك أكثر
الريح كانت غافية فسقطت عن حائط .. وكسرت جناحها ففي المدى نواحها

اسماؤنا اكبر مما كانت كانت قبل ان كنا
أحبّكِ من دون إسمٍ
أحبكَ من دون مجدٍ
وحتى سقوط آخر تاج
وحتى سقوط الغمامة في النهر
وحتى جفاف الينابيع بين التلال

June 19, 2011

Cedars of Lebanon by U2

"The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon." (Psalm 92:12)

I know it is almost 2 years since U2 announced their latest Album ,"No Line on the Horizon",  including the hits : "Magnificent, I ' ll go crazy if I dont go crazy tonight" ... But there was a song that caught my attention back then in 2009: " Cedars of Lebanon".. I have been procrastinating since then to blog about it. I think it is never too late to blog about it, especially after I heard Lady Gaga's song saying something that even if you are Lebanese its ok  because you are born this way! " 

And,  I am not posting this out of nationalism or fanaticism, about the Cedars of Lebanon, Lebanese heritage or  what Lebanon has offered to the world .
I am just wondering how a song like "Cedars of Lebanon" and Born this way" talk about Lebanon. Gaga mentions a line only in her song, while U2 wrote a whole song about "Lebanon", or atleast of a  “Lebanese experience” by a foreigner.

June 13, 2011

Take That 's Newest Album " Progressed" Vs Lebanese Government "Progressing"

You say "TAKE THAT" and people go saying  that isnt it the "tale of boys meet boys, exploitation and idolisation, dreams fulfilled and crushed, ruined friendships, success as vengeance, glorious pop and the furies of fame"( BBC) .But let's all forget this drama and see what these guys are up to! 
I was pretty excited when Take That announced the release of their album just now!Not just that the band reunited again last year  and Robbie Williams is still to be considered one of the unique singers around the globe, it's just the band have really beat all the odds& obstacles, the drama, the rumors . Besides their  previous album "Progress" sold 2 million copies just last november! 

A great review  was written by Nick Levine on BBC  about their latest album,  whereby he states that : "you can't blame this ten-legged national treasure for trying to remind us that it's more than just the summer's biggest live draw – especially when, for a band playing the album repackage game, Take That are feeling pretty generous. Following a template that Lady Gaga looked to with her Fame Monster reissue, Progressed couples the original 10-track album with a second disc boasting eight brand-new songs."

On side note :   It was on JUNE 13 that Take That Released their Newest Album " Progressed" & the Lebanese Government  Progressed !As Today marks the formation of The Lebanese Government. A bit of progress maybe? Maybe not? 
Let's wait and see! But till now let's hear Take That singing because am sure they already progressed! ;)

June 12, 2011

Coffee Drinks Illustrated-Infographic

The proportion of ingredients for popular coffee drinks and their pronunciation keys.
Taken from the web

June 8, 2011

Barbecued- Love Wings

That's my first try for " VISUAL SARCASM" :P 

The recipe for barbecued wings made from love. Sounds Yummy right?

P.S: Kherd2a is a gun  shot in lebanese

June 1, 2011

Kabir will tell you

"I laugh when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty.
You don't grasp the fact that what is most alive of all is inside your own house;
and so you walk from one holy city to the next with a confused look!
Kabir will tell you the truth: go wherever you like, to Calcutta or Tibet;
if you can't find where your soul is hidden, for you the world will never be real!"
Kabir- a mystic philosopher

I have always found interest in mystic philosophy, such as suffism and yogism.
I have attended several yoga classes and basically learned some basics to practice it. And I have read books for the famous poets, Rumi and Kabir.
But I tell you,  it is your sole responsibility  to explore this path alone. No class can teach you. No teachers can guide to reach such a pure state in your thinking.And no book can lighten it up for you. 
 And definitely I cant say that I have reached this state, nor is my objective in life to reach this state. But  it is very invigorating to try to be on this journey every once and then. 
This journey where you can find your soul, greet it , and talk to it..It's amazing how much things you can discover about yourself, about what you want , and about what you need from this life.
It enables you to focus all your energy on one aim. This aim differs from one person to another. :)
I wont be going further into this subject,  I am not an experienced person, neither am I a preacher.
But :
 Kabir wiill tell you if you are traveling the world trying to find what you need and what makes you happy,and  if you haven't found where your soul first , nothing in this world will make you happy, nothing will quench your urging thirst ! So,  you will keep wandering around the world aimlessly, wasting your energy , because what you need is in you and what you want , you can make it by your own hands.


May 16, 2011

Loreena Mckennit's Magic

This is a post for a special song/poem ,  that I would like to share  for one of my favorite musician,Loreena Mckennit. God bless her . Her songs are an inspiration for me. No words can truely describe her voice and the music she plays.

I am just happy that I was able to see her live when she came to Byblos Festival in Summer 2009 .
That night was magical ; her voice reverberated alone but in the background you could hear  the sound of the waves as they hit  Byblos port .  There was a harmony ;  as if she rehearsed with the sea before she played live. 

Dante's Prayer -Loreena Mckennit  ..

When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and fire

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
Please remember me

The official site for Loreena McKennitt and her private record label, Quinlan Road.

May 15, 2011

Taste Spotting

I found an awesome website for all food lovers and food photographers.  A website that shares photos of food but behind every photo is the story/blog/link to it!
So its like a cool display of the recipes , food experiences  and quick access to what you might need!
Here is the link :)  Taste Spotting.

May 6, 2011

British Madness and Tea

The sound of the liquid pouring and the steam flushing in your face. The overwhelming aroma, that bitter taste,  the soothing feeling in your throat..ahhhh Tea ::):)
Surely , tea doesn't belong to a specific country. You have the indian "Chai". the morrocan/arabic "ash-shay", the chinese green tea, the japanese jasmin Tea ...etc  I am not go list them.We have wikipedia for a reason.

 I am not going to be talking about tea and British habits. Tea is a great part of the British tradition,  if you want to argue with a British person about tea, make sure you really know what you are talking about before entering an argument about it.

It happened once with me. I was in a tour in Unilever, New Jersey for the food scientists in Cornell.After touring the whole company and R&D, we finally entered the  "Lipton" area.
Yes, Lipton the most famous and most consumed brand in the whole world. We met the tea expert there who tours the world to search for the best tea leaves and buy them from farmers ( or perhaps buy the whole farm, I am not going to enter in the debate of Fair trade now, lets keep it for later).

And so he made us taste the tea he had prepared and then he asked us what is your favorite tea. My friends who were Americans, dont usually drink tea ....Noooo , Ice tea actually doesnt count.
And when my turn came to answer I told him "Earl Grey".. And the reply was far more  than I expected.
He looked at me with furious eyes :"Earl Grey!!! Anyone can put lemon with tea. That is simple. There is no intelligence. no taste in that!!" .
 At that moment, I thought because I didnt know about other tea types, he was mad at me. So , I went and listed for him all kinds of tea from cammomille to green tea. He was still mad.
I realized later, he was mad because Earl Grey is a Russion made tea , and he being British felt the urge to hate that type of tea. That is one hypothesis.Maybe it is true, maybe it is not :)
So, beware of British madness when you talk about Tea!
Stereotypes in food are always common....

Some "Tea" Quotes:

1- A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. Eleanor Roosevelt

2- Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.  ~Author Unknown

3-If you are cold, tea will warm you.  If you are too heated, it will cool you.  If you are depressed, it will cheer you.  If you are excited, it will calm you.  ~Gladstone

4-Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.  ~Thich Nat Hahn

English Tea Infographic :

May 5, 2011

The Girl who reads

I have a friend who shared this link on facebook:
"Date the girl who reads" .. SO if you are a girl who reads alooot of books, this one article is for you.
And for every guy who is searching for his girl , you might want to take a notice of girls who read :):)
They can change your world .

Spoiler : I loved the ending when they said:
....better date a girl who  writes ;)

April 23, 2011

Frodo's Wisdom

“ Frodo : How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back. There are some things that time can not mend. Some hurts that go too deep... that have taken hold.JR TOLKIEN .

A great line by the famous writer of the Lord of the Rings Books, JR TOLKIEN. I might have  chosen another line from these books. The script is great, not just random babbling of a writer. Not just a random plot for an  exciting adventure.
 Tolkien's characters are not shallow, they are not  just fighting an evil , they are fighting for the truth, they are fighting for values. They speak eloquently, they speak wisdom. They speak about life, death, patience, trust, and enduring each other for the sake of one aim.

But the main reason I  chose this above quote , because  I have been wondering about this line  for few days. I have been thinking :

 How do we move on? 
How do we forget? 
How does  the book close ?
  Will we ever open it again? Can we? 
Or the book would be burnt already? 
Can time mend everything?
 Can we actually forgive ?

Questions and Questions. No assured answers. 
Time might tell. And time might conceal. 
But I  am sure I will find the answer either in this life, or later....