Say It Like You Eat It ‘Terra Madre’ Barbara

“The Soup For Syria project started when we had an influx of Syrian refugees coming to Lebanon; the weather conditions were very bad and they were living in tents. I was in my apartment in Beirut and feeling cold, so I had the heat on and I was feeling really sad about this. I was watching the news and seeing children sleeping in tents, being very cold, and some of them even died. I was very emotional about this, so I wanted to get closer to the subject, to the refugees, so I decided to go up and see them. I started going every week; sometimes I would get donations of clothes, food, and a friend of mine suggested we make soup at the farmers market in Beirut and Hammana – we have the Earth Market of Slow Food, and that’s what we did.”

“That’s what developed the project of ‘Soup for Syria’, because soup is nourishment for the body, but also for the soul, it’s comfort food; it’s something that reminds you of warmth, and a homey atmosphere. I collected recipes from all over the world; with over 200 people giving me their favourite recipes. I added a page for ‘Soup for Syria’ on Facebook. I had a workshop in my house with 10 volunteers and we made the 200 soup recipes – we tasted, we photographed, and we chose 70. The rest were from famous chefs that became interested to join the project – Ottolenghi, Alice Waters, Anthony Bourdain, amongst others. And I’ve been really lucky with this project because I think people understood the meaning of the project. Luckily it was first published in the United States and now UK, Holland, Italy and Germany, which is amazing.”

“I’ve been part of Slow Food for 10 years now; it’s been part of my life, part of my family, part of everything. Slow Food has always existed, but it just needed to be defined. Once you define it, you can work on it. So, I’ve dedicated my work to preserving the food heritage of my country because we have a very rich culinary culture. Slow Food has helped me a lot through their vision and by coming here [to Terra Madre] every 2 years, meeting people from all over the world and telling each other our stories and sharing, we feed off each other. Food has always been a link because I think it’s a way of communicating. Food is not only about feeding your body, but feeding your culture, yourself, your mind.”

[Barbara, Lebanon, told on September 23, in Turin, Italy]

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