Love, War and Mediterranean Food

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo

Author Annia Ciezadlo

Charlotte Talks’ Valentine’s food show Monday was about food… but also about love.  We focused on the delicious world of Mediterranean cuisine and met the author of a new book called Day of Honey. It’s the true story of the author, Annia Ciezadlo, learning about the native cuisine amidst the war raging in Iraq.

Annia’s story is fascinating. A writer and editor, she was a special correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor in Baghdad and The New Republic in Beirut. She’s also written for The Washington Post, The New York Times and other major publications. Annia wanted a normal marriage with her Lebanese husband. Instead she got six years of violence and fear while living in Iraq and Lebanon. Ciezadlo survived those years by plunging into the world of Mediterranean cuisine. She learned her husband’s family food secrets. She ate with Sunnis, Shiites and Arab Christians and the focus was always how food could unite people instead of dividing them.

Excerpts from Annia’s book Day of Honey:

There’s a saying in Arabic: Fi Khibz wa meleh bainetna– there is bread and salt between us. It means that once we’ve eaten together, sharing bread and salt, the ancient symbols of hospitality, we cannot fight. It’s a lovely idea, that you can counter conflict with cuisine. And I don’t swallow it for a second. Just look at any civil war. Or at our own dinner tables, groaning with evidence to the contrary.

Food connects. In biblical times, people sealed contracts with salt, because it preserves, protects, and heals–an idea that goes back to the ancient Assyrians, who called a friend “a man of my salt.” Like Persephone’s pomegranate seeds, the alchemy of eating binds you to a place and a people. this bond is fragile; people who eat together one day can kill each other the next. All the more reason we should preserve it.

{Republished with permission from Annia Ciezadlo and help from Charlotte Talks Producer Tim Ross.}

Find out more about Annia, read her story and her writings here.

Listen to the interview with Annia and a conversation about Mediterranean food on Charlotte Talks here.

Huge spread from Cedarland Restaurant & Grocery for Charlotte Talks' Mediterranean food show. Photo taken at WFAE's Spirit Square studio.

More photos from the show.

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1 Comment

Filed under Holidays

One response to “Love, War and Mediterranean Food

  1. I loved this program, purchased Day of Honey and have read over 100 pages. Can’t wait to try Cedarland!!!

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