Category Archives for Mushrooms

Britain is having a courgette crisis and people are losing it

LONDON Just as Britain retrieves from its national biscuit crisis, the nation has been hit with yet another cruel blow.

Britain is currently in the throes of a courgette crisis and it’s all down to cold weather in Italy and Spain and the increasing demand for spiralised courgetti, the Guardian reports.

So bad is the apparent courgette crisis, that clean-eating Brits are find it nigh-on impossible to get hold of courgettes, also known as zucchini, and packs of courgetti.

“There has been severe weather in Southern Europe but we are working with our suppliers to preserve supplying for our customers, ” a spokesperson for supermarket Sainsbury’s said in a statement.

Brits are tweeting photos of tragic-looking empty shelves in supermarkets across the country, which are dashing their clean-living aspirations.

Some people are so desperate for courgettes, they’ve gone to multiple supermarkets, to no avail.

For others, the courgette crisis is a bridge too far after Brexit.

Some are discovering the view of empty shelves too much to bear.

Others have suggested seasonal alternatives to the hard-to-reach vegetable.

Stay strong, Britain!

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Frozen Mushrooms Market Overview, Demand, Size, Growth & Forecast 2025- Global Analysis – Digital Journal

Frozen Mushrooms Market Overview, Demand, Size, Growth & Forecast 2025- Global Analysis
Digital Journal
Garner Insights published a new industry research that bull's eye on Frozen Mushrooms market and delivers in-depth market analysis and future prospects of Frozen Mushrooms market. The study covers compelling data which makes the research document a

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Jay Rayner: thou shalt eat veg!

In an excerpt from his new volume The Ten( Food) Commandments, the restaurant critic and corroborated carnivore explains how he learned to love vegetables

A weekday lunchtime and I am standing by my stave doing something appalling. I have done bad things with food before, of course. I once feed two Pot Noodles for dinner, and didnt even feel guilty. I am a man of appetites and sometimes those cravings make me do things. You cannot have one part of me without the other.

What I am doing now is not in character. It runs against everything in which I believe. But still I am doing it because, if Im going to make a convincing argument about what non-meat cookery should and shouldnt definitely sounds like, I first have to stand in another persons shoes. And so: I am cooking with Quorn. I am cooking with a meat substitute, built employing a fungal growth called mycoprotein, which is meant to have a meaty texture that recalls the muscle mass of something which once had a pulse.

I am doing this properly. By vehicle manufacturers own admission Quorn doesnt savour of much unless introduced to other flavors, so first I am making a tomato sauce: chopped onions and garlic cooked down in glugs of olive oil with a tin of good tomatoes, and generous amounts of salt and cracked black pepper. In another pan I fry off some cubes of Quorn Meat Free Chicken Pieces. I saut these eager-to-please little squares until theyve started to colour, and wonder whether this might be an approximation of the Maillard reaction, the caramelisation of meat which dedicates it that savouriness carnivores like me crave so desperately. I try a piece. It isnt. It is just slightly crunchy over-used mattress filling.

Eventually, despite my willing it otherwise, the cook is done. The food is necessary tasted. I introduce the Quorn to the sauce and stand by the stave, forking it away. I close my lips and press the pieces of mock chicken against the roof of my mouth and stare sadly at the pan.

I could now lurch into hyperbole. I could rant on about this piece of cookery being where both hope and calories go to die; I could say I would prefer to have my tongue lacerated by a threshing machine, or expend nine hours in a lift with Donald Trump. But I wont, because these Quorn dishes are so much worse than that.

Palomars
The Palomar Cookbook: Cauliflower Steak with lemon butter, labneh& almonds Photo: Helen Cathcart

They are dull. They are nothing, a tiny belch of mediocrity. These fragments of tortured fungus do have a texture. They bounce and vibrate beneath the teeth, and I suppose if you were sufficiently with the project, and your hormone levels were set to optimum, you might recognise a similarity to meat.

What induced me most mad about all this, however, wasnt only the dreary eating experience. It was the damage it did. Because this plateful of tiresome, boring sludge simply devoted ammunition to those militant carnivores who would spit and laugh in the face of non-meat cookery. It actually was lousy PR for the cause of the veggie. And, as we edge ever deeper into the 21 st century, that is something we simply cannot afford.

I have watched animals die. I havestoodat the head of the kill line in an abattoir and seemed on as the electric shocks were administered to the head, followed by a blade to the throat. When I went to the abattoir a few years ago I interrogated my motives. I was writing a chapter about the environmental impact of meat intake for a new book, and felt that describing the process by which animals succumb to feed us would be the most striking way into the subject.

But there was something else too. Some people have a problem with the killing of sentient animals for food. I have always said that I do not. As far as I can see, these animals merely exist in the first place because we brought them into the world to be eaten. This would only be problematical if you viewed animals in some way as our equals and, while some people do hold this view, again, I do not. As long as the animal has had both a good life and a good death all is fine.

But I wanted to test my glib stances in the face of brutal realities. In truth I had wanted to go further. I had investigated the possibility of setting up doing the killing myself but getting the permissions to do so is, rightly, complicated. Watching close up, again and again and again, was very much the next best thing. By which I mean, the very worst.

And the result? It didnt change my views one bit.

I left the abattoir holding the same opinions as I did when I arrived, albeit in need of a stiff drink. I have argued piously that all meat eaters ought to be prepared to go inside a slaughterhouse. If you want to eat animals you should be willing to know what that entails. Perhaps you could only acquire a carnivores licence once you had spent a day in an abattoir. That said, I suspect the vast majority of people would come out with their views little changed. Or even if they swear off meat for a while, the vast majority would eventually floats back, likely seduced by the smell of a bacon sandwich, properly stimulated. The eating of meat is simply that ingrained.

Die-hard carnivores like to argue this is because humen have a physiological need for meat. Its true, as surveys have found, that we will proclaim ourselves sated as a result of eating fewer calories of meat, than say veggies. It is an exceptionally efficient source of nutrition. There is also much evidence that eating meat many thousands of years ago enabled our ancestors to develop the various kinds of intellectual capability that eventually built us human; indeed human enough for some of us to choose veganism. Foraged leaves, nuts and berries took too much energy to digest for the brain of prehistoric man to get what it needed. Meat simply allowed us to obtain the volume of protein needed for the human brain to become itself.

That said, the anthropologist Richard Wrangham has argued convincingly in his volume Catching Fire: How Cooking Induced us Human that the really important development was not the eating of meat alone, but the use of flame to cook foods generally( including veggies ), attaining them all easier to digest and so releasing more nutrition.

So no, meat eating, however efficient a furnish of protein it might be for us, may not be an imperative. But it is certainly a deep-seated culture selection, which says a lot about our position of power in the world. The more powerful we become the more we tend to eat it. Numerous surveys have shown that the higher up the income ladder we rise the more meat we feed, and not simply because its costly stuff( for it becomes affordable at quite a low point on that income ladder ).

If ever there were a emblem of that, it is the existence of that Quorn I cooked with so reluctantly. Why would we have desperate meat replaces were it not for the cultural primacy of the meat they are trying to replace? It is based on the assumption that if a vegetable-led menu is going to succeed it has to ape flesh. And thats exactly why meat replaces fail so spectacularly. For non-meat cookery to be successful it has to do so according to its own agenda , not according to one to be prepared by that which it is replacing.

Nopi:
Nopi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi Butternut squash wiht ginger tomatoes and lime yoghurt Photo: Jonathan Lovekin

Happily, things are changing, albeit by necessity. There is finally an understanding of the environmental impact of raising livestock for intake, especially “where theyre” fed on crops that could be fed immediately to humans rather more efficiently. There are differing figures depending on species, with cattles requiring the most and chicken the least, but on average it takes 5 kilos of grain to make 1 kilo of meat. With the global population rising, from just north of seven billion now towards 10 billion or even more by the end of the century, we cannot afford to be stuffing all those harvests down the esophagus of animals. And then theres the carbon footprint. One examine by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation attributed 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions to the livestock industry. This figure has been disputed. Simon Fairlie, writer of Meat: a Benign Extravagance , points out that it attributes literally all deforestation globally to the meat business. And yet significant amounts are down to logging and land development.

He puts the proportion of greenhouse gas emissions at closer to 10%, though he accepts that this is still too much. While some diehard adversaries of the meat business argue that all of it is an unnecessary use of land upon which harvests could be grown for human consumption, Fairlie notes that ruminants can eat a lot of biomass that cannot be consumed by humans but which would otherwise be wasted, and can be grazed on upland fields which could not be used for harvests. Once he does all his sums, Fairlie concludes that our meat consumption needs to fall to about half of what it is now. Which it almost certainly will do anyway, because with growing demand from the emerging middle classes in Asia, global meat prices will rise.

Which means one thing. The future of non-meat cookery “re not in the” hands of those who have sworn off feeing animals wholly. Its in the hands of those of us who are cutting down. And thank God for that. The abominations that are meat-free sausages and burgers werent created by meat eaters, looking for something that wasnt meat but nearly looked like it. They were created by vegetarians who believed this is just the only route to advance their cause, and in any case who dont especially like the real thing and so dont actually care that its horrid. The same people responsible for vegetarian moussakas and cottage pies, dishes which are an apology for themselves.

These are dishes which are trying( and failing) to be good in spite of the fact they dont include meat. A moussaka involves the carnage of a lamb to be moussaka. A bungalow pie necessitates ground beef. A sausage exists as a route to use up every inch of the pig, including its bowels. Something formed out of oats and soya and desperation is not a sausage. Its a lack of imagination on a plate.

Non-meat cookery needs to be good because of that fact. The best non-meat cookery does not have a meaty twin. Its not an echo of the real thing, the recipe contrived by substitutes and arch compromise and sadnes. It is itself. There is, for example , nothing with a pulse which will improve a perfectly induced wild mushroom risotto: rice, wine, stock, mushrooms, cheese and the job is done. The altogether meat-free curries of the Gujarat would not be better if only somebody could be fagged to kill a chicken.

Ambitious restaurants in Britain and elsewhere have, in recent years, started filling their menu with these non-meat-based dishes, and for the most portion the movement has been led by meat-eating multi-starred chefs; the likes of Simon Rogan at LEnclume and Brett Graham at the Ledbury. The latter has a entirely meat-free savouring menu. Its a good thing that its meat-eating chefs who have led this rather than the vegetarian hardcore, Yotam Ottolenghi says. Theres been a reversal of the ingredient hierarchy and weve helped to normalise it. A humble veggie like the cauliflower which spent the totality of the 1970 s in Britain being tortured in boiling water until it had surrendered both its nutritional value and dignity, has become a centrepiece.

At Berber& Q, a charcoal grill house in Londons Hackney, it is roasted whole and served with tahini and pomegranate seeds, and holds its own on a menu alongside dishes of slow-roasted beef short rib and lamb shawarma. At the Palomar, the London outpost of an Israeli restaurant group, it is flamed on the Josper grill with lemon butter, and served with their own labneh strained yogurt and toasted almonds. At Ottolenghis restaurant Nopi, it comes roasted with saffron, sultanas and crispy capers.

The Middle Eastern influence is obvious, but the movement is far broader than that. Chef Robin Gill expended his early years working for Marco Pierre White, when he was in his multi-Michelin-starred, French classical pomp at the Oak Room restaurant of Le Mridien Hotel on Londons Piccadilly. There, it was completely protein-led, he says. It was all about foie gras, fillet steak and truffles. Gills approach was changed by a stint in southern Italy, where the beef was terrible but the vegetables were brilliant. That was followed by period at Raymond Blancs Le Manoir in Oxfordshire which, for all its commitment to French classicism, has a vast kitchen garden on site.

Later, Gill opened his own eatery, the Dairy, in south London, followed by the nearby Manor and then Paradise Garage in east London. At all three, the menu walkings the two sides of the line. Sure, it serves meat. But its also about dishes of carrots with roasted barley and sorrel, or salsify with smoked curd and pickled walnuts; its about beetroot with fermented apple and pine, or charred leeks with caramelised comte cheese and wild garlic. These are dish descriptions which make their own suit. My mindset has simply changed, Gill says. I dont feel the need for a glob of beef in the middle of the plate.

And vegetarian sausages? I dont get them at all. Theyre pointless. Its the various kinds of stuff that really vexes me. Its food created by people who cant cook.

Its a rude thing to say. Its also likely a little unfair. But sod it, Im not going to argue.

Extracted from The Ten( Food) Commandments by Jay Rayner( Penguin, 6 ). Click here to order a copy for 4.80.

Jay will present a live event based on the book at RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD on Friday 24 June, 7pm8. 40 pm. Click here for details and tickets

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31 Days of Happiness Countdown: This cooking show in space is just so delicious.( Day 17)

Thanks for stopping by for Day 17 of Upworthy’s 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! If this is your first visit, here’s the gist: Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we’re sharing narratives we hope will bring elation, smiles, and laugh into our lives and yours. It’s been a challenging year for a lot of us, so why not end it on a high note with a bit of happiness? Check back tomorrow( or click the links at the bottom) for another installment !

I’m pretty sure the one thing that kept me from being an astronaut is the face-melting liftoff … well that, and the decades of advanced math and science. But mostly the liftoff. I get nauseous on carnival rides, so investigating the final frontier just wasn’t in the cards for me.

However, I am various kinds of obsessed with the cosmonauts who live and work in space. You know, the folks living in the space station, speaking to school children on Skype while their hair stands on end, and doing somersaults and experiments all the time. That’s the kind of anti-gravitational fun I live for.

So when I procured European Space Agency( ESA) cosmonaut Samantha Cristoforetti’s videos, my mind basically explosion.

While living on board the International Space Station, Cristoforetti constructed cooking videos. Yes, cooking videos! THIS IS TASTY IN SPACE, Y’ALL!

Generally, the meals in the final frontier are pretty criterion, but every astronaut gets “bonus food” that reminds them of the flavors of home. In this video, Cristoforetti takes us lowly Earth-dwellers through the process of attaining turmeric chicken and whole red rice with mushrooms and peas. Forget outer space, Cristoforetti is living in flavor country.

I don’t wishes to spoil the whole thing, but here are some highlightings.

First, Cristoforetti doesn’t use plates because that would be pointless. Instead, she plates her meal on a tortilla. This is a tip I will incorporate into my own life.

To get the food to stick to the tortilla, she employs smashed pea cream as an adhesive. This is a tip I will not incorporate into my own life.

Also as she cooks, her dinner simply maintains floating away which is hilarious the first time, and even better as she adds more food to the tortilla. #spaceprobz

You can( and totally should) watch Cristoforetti make a entail dinner below. It’s got everything: space travel, mushrooms, floating tortillas. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT, PEOPLE?

( Plus, it’s likely the most delightful dinner you’ll find all day, unless you know an otter feeing Christmas cookies .)

Oh, and if you’re as hungry as I am, here’s a walk-thru on how to build Cristoforetti’s exact snack — weightlessness on the side. Bon appetit , space nerds!


More days of happiness here : DAY 1/ DAY 2/ DAY 3/ DAY 4/ DAY 5/ DAY 6/ DAY 7/ DAY 8/ DAY 9/ DAY 10/ DAY 11/ DAY 12/ DAY 13/ DAY 14/ DAY 15/ DAY 16/ [ DAY 17 ]/ DAY 18/ DAY 19/ DAY 20/ DAY 21/ DAY 22/ DAY 23/ DAY 24/ DAY 25/ DAY 26/ DAY 27/ DAY 28/ DAY 29/ DAY 30/ DAY 31

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So THAT’S Why You Should Be Eating Quinoa

Quinoa boomed into popularity a few years back, so by now most of us have at least tried it and kind of know how to pronounce it( it’s keen-wa ). This South American grain took our grocery stores by blizzard because it’s been heralded as a superfood, but do you know why? It’s pretty simple, really — there are four main reasons.

1. When it comes to quinoa, it’s all about the protein. For some of us, getting our fill of protein in a way that doesn’t involve fatty red meats can be a challenge. And that’s why quinoa is so great. Unlike the other grains we eat, a serving of quinoa( about 100 grams) actually provides us with 8 grams of complete protein. A complete protein contains all nine essential amino acids your body needs, and it’s tough to find in vegetarian form. But quinoa fits the bill.

2. Protein aside, quinoa is also full of fiber. It has almost twice as much fiber as most other grains we feed. Fiber’s important because it can help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

3. Quinoa is high in minerals, too. The ones that most people don’t get enough of, like iron and magnesium to name a couple. Iron is essential because it helps keep our red blood cell healthy. And magnesium is good because it promotes healthy blood sugar control.

4. It’s naturally gluten free. This is a huge benefit to anyone with Celiac disease or those who are simply gluten intolerant.

There are many other great benefits to eating quinoa, but above are the four main pillars. Now that you know, don’t you merely want to eat a bowl? Here are the recipes you need to induce that happen in the most delicious route possible.

1 Greek Quinoa Dinner Omelets With Feta And Tzatziki

Half Baked Harvest

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2 Crunchy Quinoa And Dark Chocolate Brown Butter Granola

How Sweet It Is

Get the Crunchy Quinoa, Toasted Almond And Dark Chocolate Brown Butter Granola recipe from How Sweet It Is

3 Whole Wheat Banana Quinoa Pancakes

Ambitious Kitchen

Get the Whole Wheat Banana Quinoa Pancakes recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

4 Crispy Black Bean Quinoa Burritos

Two Peas and their Pod

Get the Crispy Black Bean Quinoa Burritos recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

5 Baked Quinoa Falafel

A Beautiful Mess

Get the Baked Quinoa Falafel recipe from A Beautiful Mess

6 Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls

How Sweet It Is

Get the Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls recipe from How Sweet It Is

7 Quinoa-Stuffed Eggplant With A Roasted Garlic Raita

Adventures In Cooking

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8 Greek Goddess Chickpea And Quinoa Nachos With Pita Chips

Half Baked Harvest

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9 Quinoa Hash Browns

A Beautiful Mess

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10 Quinoa Tortillas

The Gracious Pantry

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11 Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowl

How Sweet It Is

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12 Kidney Bean And Quinoa Soft Tacos

Bev Cooks

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13 Quinoa Salad With Mango, Snap Peas, Ginger And Lime

Alexandra Cooks

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14 Quinoa Pizza With Meyer Lemon, Goat Cheese And Basil

Cafe Johnsonia

Get the Quinoa Pizza with Meyer Lemon, Goat Cheese and Basil recipe from Cafe Johnsonia

15 Quinoa And Avocado Chimichurri Salad

Foodie Crush

Get the Quinoa and Avocado Chimichurri Salad recipe from Foodie Crush

16 Quinoa Breakfast Skillet

How Sweet It Is

Get the Quinoa Breakfast Skillet recipe from How Sweet It Is

17 Enchilada Chicken& Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ambitious Kitchen

Get the Enchilada Chicken& Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

18 One Pot Kale And Quinoa Pilaf

Food2 5

Get the One Pot Kale And Quinoa Pilaf recipe from deensiebat from Food5 2

19 Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes With Blackberry Salsa

How Sweet It Is

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20 Quinoa Tabbouleh With Chickpeas

FoodieCrush

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21 Sweet Potato, Quinoa And Dark Chocolate Coconut Crumble Crunch Muffins

Half Baked Harvest

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22 Crispy Buffalo Style Quinoa Sliders With Sweet Corn

How Sweet It Is

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23 Basil Parmesan Quinoa Cakes

Cate’s World Kitchen

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24 Quinoa Salad With Charred Sweet Corn& Avocado

Two Peas and their Pod

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25 Quinoa And Mango Salad With Lemony-Ginger Dressing

Food5 2

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26 Quinoa Crusted Baked Three-Cheese Zucchini And Eggplant Parmesan

Half Baked Harvest

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27 Coconut Breakfast Quinoa

A Beautiful Mess

Get the Coconut Breakfast Quinoa recipefrom A Beautiful Mess

28 Yuzu Poppy Seed Quinoa Pancakes

Tartine and Apron Strings

Get the Yuzu Poppy Seed Quinoa Pancakes recipe from Tartine and Apron Strings

29 Chicken-Quinoa Burgers

Bev Cooks

Get the Chicken-Quinoa Burgers recipe from Bev Cooks

30 Black Bean And Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Two Peas And Their Pod

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31 Caprese Quinoa Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms With Balsamic Glaze

Half Baked Harvest

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32 Quinoa Crunch

Make It Naked

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33 Quinoa Pilaf With Chipotle, Queso Fresco And Lime

Get the Quinoa Pilaf With Chipotle, Queso Fresco And Lime recipe from Annie’s Eats

34 Quinoa Cakes With Poached Egg And Parsley

Get the Quinoa Cakes With Poached Egg And Parsley recipe from Verses From My Kitchen

35 Vanilla Bean Coconut Quinoa Pudding With Honey Drizzled Raspberries

Half Baked Harvest

Get the Vanilla Bean Coconut Quinoa Pudding with Honey Drizzled Raspberries recipe from Half Baked Harvest

36 Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili

The Girl Who Ate Everything

Get the Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything

37 Curried Quinoa And Asparagus Salad

The Clever Carrot

Get the Curried Quinoa And Asparagus Salad recipe from The Clever Carrot

38 Italian Quinoa Risotto Lasagna Casserole With Truffle Oil

Half Baked Harvest

Get the Italian Quinoa Risotto Lasagna Casserole with Truffle Oil recipefrom Half Baked Harvest

39 Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Quinoa, Cranberries And Miso

The Clever Carrot

Get the Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Quinoa, Cranberries And Miso recipe from The Clever Carrot

40 Strawberry And Quinoa Parfait

FoodieCrush

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41 Quinoa And Burrata Caprese Salad

FoodieCrush

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42 Quinoa And Farro Salad With Pickled Fennel

Food5 2

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43 Maple Quinoa Granola

Food5 2

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44 Chipotle Quinoa Sweet Potato Tacos With Roasted Cranberry Pomegranate Salsa

Half Baked Harvest

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45 Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Fried Plantain And Coconut Fried Quinoa With Macadamia Nuts

Half Baked Harvest

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46 Quinoa Crusted Chicken Strips With BBQ Honey Mustard

Half Baked Harvest

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47 Coconut Crusted Brie Stuffed Quinoa Bites With Sweet Cranberries

Half Baked Harvest

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48 Quinoa And Cauliflower Chowder

Foodie Crush

Get the Quinoa and Cauliflower Chowder recipe from Foodie Crush

49 Pretzel Bread Quinoa Stuffing With Garlic Butter Mushrooms

How Sweet It Is

Get the Pretzel Bread Quinoa Stuffing With Garlic Butter Mushrooms recipe from How Sweet It Is

50 Asian Quinoa Salad

Two Peas And Their Pod

Get tge Asian Quinoa Salad recipe from Two Peas And Their Pod

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Fool’s Gold Preserved World’s Oldest Mushroom

Mushrooms are not known for their suitability for fossilizing, so we have little evidence about their early evolution. However, an extraordinary series of events turned one humble 113 – to 120 -million-year-old fungus to stone, pushing the record for mycelium back 16 million years.

Back when dinosaurs wandered the Earth, and South America and Africa were still one continent, a mushroom fell into a river in what is now north-eastern Brazil. It floated to a lagoon too salty for the microbes that would normally degrade such a tasty morsel, sank to the bottom, and became contained within sediments. There it mineralized with iron pyrites, usually known as fool’s gold, replacing its tissues. Over day the ex-mushroom turned to goethite, a sort of mineral, which became embedded in a sandstone Lagersttte, the name given to deposits that preserve fossils of soft tissues that usually disintegrate without being preserved.

“Most mushrooms grow and are run within a few days, ” said finder Dr Sam Heads of the University of Illinois. “The fact that this mushroom was preserved at all is just astonishing. When you think about it, the chances of this thing being here the obstacles it had to overcome to get from where it was growing into the lagoon, be mineralized and preserved for 115 million years have to be minuscule.

The previous record holder for oldest mushroom was not something left at the bottom of a sharehouse fridge, but one trapped in Burmese amber. The same technique preserved the other nine known fossil mushrooms. Although amber has been an outstanding preservative of many ancient lifeforms, it usually only captures small objects. Heads’ discovery, which he named Gondwanagaricites magnificus , was 5centimeters( 2 inches) high, with a 1-centimeter-wide( 0.4 -inch-wide) cap.

The preservation is sufficient to reveal spore-releasing gills under its cap, specific features shared with some, but far away from all, modern mushrooms. Unfortunately , no actual spores can be seen, preventing its placement within one of the major mushroom families.

Besides being often delicious, fungi were essential to the development of life on land, forming symbiotic relations that allowed plants to move onto the land. More lately, mushrooms formed the basis of the diet of Neanderthals, and quite likely our own ancestors, in Spain. They could be important to our future as well, whether easing depression or being was transformed into longer-lasting anodes for lithium-ion batteries, opening the path to inexpensive storage of renewable energy.

Gondwanagaricites magnificus , which Heads announced in PLOS One, is far from the original ancestral mushroom, from which all these descended. That lived at least 500 million years go. This discovery, however, may be the closest we get for quite a long time.

content-1496845012-142299-web.jpg
The location wherethe mushroom was found. Gondwana had separated, but Africa and South America were still one continent.Danielle Ruffatto

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What Happens When This Pup Gets Excited Is Honestly Too Cute For Words

It’s likely safe to say that we all have a pretty good grasp on what induces our four-legged friends happy.

And that’s because they induce no secret of their exuberance when it’s time to eat or go for a long walking on a sunny day! The language obstacle poses a problem, though. I entail, how much do we really know about what thrills our pets? That’s where the folks at Nikon come in.

By strapping a Coolpix L31 camera to a precious puppy by the name of Grizzler, they created a little window into the canine soul. This technology responds to elevations in heart rate and snaps photos whenever Grizzler starts getting excited, allowing us to get a taste of the little wonders that stimulate his day.

Called “Heartography, ” this process captures photos from a dog’s-eye view whenever Grizzler gets pumped. Here’s a little sampling of what he loves! Beautiful scenery? I feel you, man.

Who doesn’t love finding treasure?

Making friends is always a detonation!

And it’s so much better when those newfound friendships are altogether unexpected.

Mushrooms? I entail, whatever floats your boat, Grizz.

If you want to follow this adorable guy around for the day, check out more of his adventures below!

That’s so cool. What would your dog’s photos definitely sounds like if you turned them into a photographer for the day? I’m pretty sure my pup’s collecting would be very food-centric.

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13 Women Describe What Their BoyfriendaEUR( tm) s Semen Savours Like

1. Fresh oysters

I gawked a little the first time I tried it. It reminded me about the savor and feeling of raw oysters, merely a bit more watery. Theres also the permeating savor of salt, which I genuinely am not fond of. I dont know why its so important to guys that you swallow, but every single one of them seems to enjoy it when you do. I guess it turns them on. Kathryn, 26

2. Old pennies

Every man seems to savor different. Sometimes very bitter, others are sweeter savouring. But the majority of cases there is always this persisting aftertaste of pennies in my mouth. Like really old pennies with an acidic taste to it. But you kinda get are applied to it. Amanda, 20

3. Creamy chlorine cleanser

My men semen smells like cleaning products used for bleaching. Id say it savor like a creamy chlorine soap with a bleachy flavor. And it always leaves this really awkward taste at the back of my throat. No wonder why most women dont like it. Semen is something that is not worth tasting, unless you really love the guy. Cassandra, 31

4. Black truffle

Actually, I dont mind the savor of it. Its not that I love it, but I can live with it. Its just like a thick liquid with a salty taste to it. It somehow savours like Black truffle. Kirstie, 39

5. Balloons

Do you remember that savour you had when you chewed on a balloon as a kid? Thats exactly how my boyfriends semen savours like, only a lot saltier. I guess its not that bad at all. It might not be for everyone, but youll never know until you try. Sophia, 20

6. Salty mushrooms

My boyfriends cum has an acidic and bitter savour the majority of cases. I always get the impression I have some salty and very thick liquid in my mouth that has a distinct flavour of mushrooms. Its nothing like Ive ever savoured before, and the texture is also very unique. Marsha, 22

7. Salty seawater

During my time in college Ive given a lot of head, so I know firsthand that flavors somewhat differ. Its not only that each mans semen savours different, but also that the savor of one man can differ heavily. It depends on what they eat or drink. But if I had to pin it down to one common denominator, Id say it always savor like salty seawater. Sometimes its truly viscous and burns a little in the back of my throat. Other periods its a little sweet and not at all thick, but truly watery. Helena, 27

8. Soap

Well, I wouldnt say semen tastes delicious or anything, but its okay-ish. Sometimes it makes me feel icky, because it has this soapy off-taste to it. At the same time, its not entirely repulsive either. Most guys loved it when a girl swallows, so I simply do it and get on. And who says that the favor isnt returned ?” Sandra, 21

9. Slimy pool water

Its like slimy pond water. The savour of semen can be really salty, with a slight flavor of chlorine mixed with sour apple. I guess its because of the taste of chlorine that it builds me believe I have slimy pond water in my mouth. Some say its not bad for you, but I prefer to spit it out. Eve, 25

10. Tasteless jibber

Usually, theres no taste at all. I mean its a little salty, a little bitter and sometimes a little sweet, but theres not much of a distinct flavor. Just like tasteless jibber. If a girl doesnt enjoy swallowing, she can merely have her human pull out and come all over her. Another good idea is to get your boyfriend a swallow of his own if he is really preoccupied with the idea of you swallowing. Tasha, 22

11. Salty goo

Im convinced there are some chemicals in my husbands semen that get me truly aroused. Its like an aphrodisiac to me. I simply love every aspect of it, the warmth, the unique savor, genuinely everything, even the smell. I even enjoy swallowing his cum. Some men have a really thick seminal fluid, others are more watery. Some of them genuinely seemed to explosion when they came, others merely dribbled. Victoria, 43

12. Bad sour cream

My hubbys cum savours really awful. Like sour cream that has gone bad. It also has this really awkward odor to it. The guys before him had an acceptable taste, sadly my man hasnt. I wish I could convince him to change his nutrition. But I dont think this will ever happen, so I just go without oral sex. Jennifer, 37

13. Shampoo

Personally, I really dont like the whole feeling to it. It somehow tastes like salty shampoo, unlike anything Ive ever savor. Its texture is so awkward and slimy that I genuinely try to avoid it as much as I can. My boyfriend has no problem with using a condom for a jolt job. Lucky me, I guess. Kathleen, 20

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Recollection of tastes past: Syria’s vanishing food culture | Wendell Steavenson

The Long Read: For Syrians in exile, food is more than a the ways and means of sustenance. It is a reminder of the rich and diverse culture being destroyed by civil war

In February 2013, Ebtisam Masto fled Syria with her six children. They intersected the border to Lebanon and headed for the capital, Beirut, where Mastos husband, Mohammed, had been working to support his family since before the civil war began.

When they arrived, Masto registered the family with the UN refugee agency in the city. There she heard about a cook program for women that was run by the Catholic charity Caritas. Masto, who was scared, insecure and on the verge of clinical depression, signed up. I wanted to do something with my life, she told me.

On the first day, Masto procured herself with more than 30 females crowded into an unprepossessing room with a single stove and a sink. They looked each other up and down. Almost all, except got a couple of Lebanese females, were Syrian refugees: sophisticates from Damascus and Aleppo, Kurds from the north, homemakers from tiny villages in the northwest. Some were Christian and some were Muslim, some were veiled and some not, some were pro-regime and others had lost sons opposing it. An atmosphere of wariness pervaded the room.

Designed with the help of Kamal Mouzawak, a suave entrepreneur who has done much to promote traditional Lebanese food over the past decade, the course aimed to teach females how to use their home-cooking skills which they took for granted as a domestic chore to find jobs in catering. More importantly, Mouzawak told me, the course was a chance to get the women together, to give them a place to share their narratives and recipes, to empower them.

The first task was to attain kibbeh, parcels of bulgur wheat filled with minced lamb. Kibbeh is a dish received throughout the Middle East and regional permutations, as well as numerous transliterations kibbeh, kubba, kubi abound. The outer shell can be made with semolina or ground rice, the filling can be bulked out with pumpkin or potato, or flavoured with lemon, garlic, cinnamon, allspice, dried mint, parsley, sumac, cumin, chilli. Kibbeh can be fried or roasted or stewed, layered into sloppy casseroles or cooked into big meatloaves. In Lebanese eateries, they are small and pinched into an American football shape. In Iraq, a kubba is a giant hubcap of dough encasing a sprinkling of meat. In Israel, kubba is a Sephardic dish of dumplings in soup.

Everyone on the course had a different way of making kibbeh and everyone wanted theirs to be the best. Among the classmates were two Assyrian Christians, Marlene and Nahren. They made their kibbeh into a large flattened disc stuffed with lamb. It was soft instead of crunchy and no one had ever seen kibbeh that was boiled like this before.

I was so curious to know how they were doing it, Masto told me earlier this year. But they kept it a secret. They would prepare their dough at home and bring it in ready-made. This constructed me even more curious.

One morning in class, when the women were talking over coffee, Masto tried to engage Marlene in dialogue. I tried in my own way to be polite and kind and to counter their wariness and their fear of Muslims. Of course, my real motive was to discover the secret ingredient in their kibbeh dough. But there was this roadblock between us, between Christian and Muslim, so I tried to remove the barrier. I tried to show them the peaceful message of Islam and explain that Mohammed was a peacemaker, just as Jesus was. This brought us together a little bit and we began to develop a friendship.

Still, closer relations between classmates occasionally became strained. One day, Samira, a widow with grown-up children, asked Marlene if she could help her prepare kibbeh. Marlene rebuffed her, telling Samira not to interfere. Samira took umbrage and screamed back at her. The kitchen became tense and Mouzawak, who was helping oversee the class that day, had to intervene, telling the women that they were all there to learn together, and that they should each teach the other a dish they could cook together.

Samira and Marlene concurred, but Marlene was not happy about it. I am obliged to agree, she told Masto, but I am only going to give the real recipe to you. You are the only one who is a good enough cook and trustworthy, and I know you will make it in the correct way.


For Syrians, food is an especially important part of national identity. Syrian cuisine has evolved over thousands of years of conquerings, trading and migrations, shaped and blended by dozens of peoples: Arab, Kurdish, Druze, Armenian, Circassian, Assyrian, Alawite, Turkish, Turkmen, Palestinian, Ismaili, Greek, Jewish, Yazidi. The Syrian table can express a multicultural country and a way of living together that is being destroyed by civil war.

Six million Syrians have fled their homeland since 2011. Lebanon has more than a million registered Syrian refugees, although most people agree that the total number is significantly higher. Even in exile, many Syrians talk about food with the same pride, fervour and obsession with terroir as the French do. Quite often, when I was talking to Syrians in Lebanon, they would grumble about the inferiority of Lebanese vegetables, the blandness of the imported Australian lamb and the lack of variety of the restaurant food.

The fat the fat of Syrian lamb! recalled Magdy Sharshafji, an Assyrian industrialist who left Aleppo after the war began. I gratified him one night in Loris, the fancy eatery he had opened in Beirut. He ordered a dish of the famous Aleppan cherry kebab for me to try. I can tell you the difference where the sheep has lived, whether it is from Aleppo or Hama, only by the smell of the fat! He grinned, remembering, and then hold back his empty palms as a gesture of nostalgia and sadness for a world, a life, a culture that may be lost to him for ever.

In Sharshafjis hometown of Aleppo, the cuisine is known for its pepperiness because it was an old Spice Road hub: a crossroads where elaborate Ottoman dishes mixed with sweet and sour recipes brought by Chinese caravans, and the combined effects of meat and fruit beloved by the Persians. A famous Aleppan dish is kibbeh attained with quince, cooked with fresh pomegranate juice.

In Lebanon we have maybe six or eight different kinds of kibbeh. In Syria they have endless differences, Anissa Helou, a Lebanese food writer, told me. She laid out the regional various forms of Syrian food: In Damascus, the dishes are heartier, more straightforward; street food. And, of course, Damascus is the kingdom of baklava. On the coast you have fish, and close to Jordan, in the desert you have mansaf[ a traditional Bedouin dish of meat cooked in fermented dried yoghurt ].

Kibbe
Kibbeh comes in many assortments in countries throughout the Countries of the middle east. Photo: Karam Miri/ Getty Images/ Hemera

Dima Chaar, a young Syrian cook, bright and pretty with a pixie haircut, told me that when she grew up in Damascus, cooking was a hour for talking and rumor. As we sat on a restaurant terrace late one evening after her change, Chaar described a dish her grandmother used to build: lamb cutlets seasoned with a whole head of garlic and dried mint, cooked in lemon juice and water. She are applied to set ghee[ clarified butter] in is as well, to make it richer we used to cook it on Fridays when everyone would gather.

Chaar still travels back and forth between Beirut and Damascus. She visits her grandmother and writes down her old recipes. Nowadays, she said, girls are no longer cooking the complicated stuff. There arent big families to feed any more. Their sons are killed or have left, they no longer celebrate.

Chaar described profoundly on a pull of apple-flavoured shisha. I think the majority of members of us feel that we are lost. I wanted to stay in Lebanon rather than follow their own families to Montreal. Yes, I believe I hoped to go back to Syria. But after five years, frankly , now I am merely living day by day.


When Ebtisam Masto graduated as one of the starsof the Caritas programme, Kamal Mouzawak asked her to set up a kibbeh stalling at the Souk El Tayeb, his farmers market in Beirut. This is where I first fulfilled her in April earlier this year, and I marvelled at her showing of kibbeh, which were multicoloured and came in different shapes. I bought a lumpy potato one stuffed with spicy walnut muhammara, a semicircular assortment with meat and mushrooms, a rolled kibbeh with spinach and pistachios and the other stimulated with lamb and quince.

In Syria, we would always set meat in them, Masto told me, but here in Lebanon they opt lighter and vegetarian. Two eyebrows rose beneath her neatly pleated headscarf as if to signal amusement at the flighty sophistication of Beiruti ladies.

Everything about Mastos outward appearance was neat and correct. She wore her long outer coat carefully buttoned up, her face was pale and clean of makeup. Her demeanor, however, was warm and voluble. She was wary of journalists the last one she spoke to had portrayed her as an opponent of the Assad regime, in order to craft a heartwarming story about two Syrian women on either side of the war, who were nonetheless great friends, cooks and colleagues.

This had infuriated Masto, who had always maintained a careful position of neutrality. She lived in an area in Beirut that was mainly inhabited by pro-Assad Syrians, and after the article “re coming out”, Masto cares about possible recriminations. Worse, being perceived as anti-Assad meant it would be very difficult for her family turning now to Syria, even if the fighting minimized. In distress, she complained to the UN refugee agency and it asked if she would consider leaving Lebanon. Masto and Mohammed agreed that it was time to go.

When I fulfilled her, the familys asylum applications had been approved. They had been told they would be resettled in America. At first this news had caused consternation. Germany or Canada, they knew, were good countries for refugees. But, as Muslims, we assumed we would not be accepted in America, she said.

As she quizzed me on what kind of article I intended to write, Masto made it clear that she did not want to be quoted about politics in case it caused problemswith her asylum application. But she was willing to let me come to her home to learn how she makes kibbeh.


Masto lived with her familyoutside the centre of Beirut, high up on mountain slopes, in a wooded area that was lush with foliage and strewn with garbage. The day after she agreed to show me how to construct kibbeh, she greeted us into her home, a windowless cube, off a small courtyard of tiny, one-storey concrete structures more a shanty of interconnected rooms than a cluster of homes. The room glowed green under a single fluorescent bulb. It had a rough concrete floor, two or three thin pallets arranged around the edges, a small television, a large refrigerator, a scuffed sofa and two plastic chairs. It was ruthlessly scrubbed and spotlessly clean.

Mastos husband Mohammed came forward to greet us. He had a handsome square face, framed with grey hair that was brushed into a side parting. He declined to shake my hand and touched his palm to his chest instead.

Welcome! Masto repeated.

Kibbeh! I said, anticipating, clapping my hands together.

Yes, but coffee first. Khaled, Mastos 17 -year-old son, brought us two beakers of Nescaf, while his sister Sidra followed with a bowl of sugar.

Masto sat cross-legged next to me on a thin foam pallet. Once Khaled had lugged out a big, shiny, sausage-grinding machine and plugged it into a loop of extension cord, Masto carefully pulled on a pair of white plastic gloves. A bowl of bulgur wheat was placed next to a plastic jug of water. Masto was ready to induce kibbeh.

Ebtisam Masto was born in 1980 in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. She left school when she was 12. When she was 15, she wedded her cousin Mohammed. She was considered one of the best cooks! said her husband proudly. They would all cook together, building kibbeh. There were always lots of daughters, friends, sisters, because in the village women were at home.

My sister had a garden with rows of veggies, and we would have barbecues there and just pick the veggies and eat them just like that, recalled Masto.

Jisr al-Shughour is a Sunni township with a tradition of opposition to the regime of Bashar al-Assad and his father before him, Hafez al-Assad. In 2011, when Syria began its Arab Spring demonstrations, the person or persons of Jisr al-Shughour were among of the first to take to the streets. That summertime there was fighting one of a very early battles of the civil war and in the embarrassment and gunfire large numbers of the towns population fled. Masto and her children went to Lebanon to stay with Mohammed, but the children were not attending school there. After a couple of months, Mastos parents told her that government forces-out had re-established calm in the town, so she decided to take the family home.

At first it was quiet, but soon the fighting started up again. My children were traumatised listening to the voices of war all the time, said Masto. Pickup trucks piled with corpses drove past. The water was cut. There was no energy. They scavenged firewood. Furnishes could not get into the town from the countryside and food was scarce. Eventually, it got to the point where I couldnt find even flour to attain the bread or got anything to burn as fuel, she said.

In early 2013, they began to kidnap daughters. Who were they? I asked. Masto pursed her lips. Who knows who. They kidnapped the girls as a business and demanded enormous sums of fund. Mohammed had not been able to visit them for more than a year. When Masto called him in Lebanon, she told him she was frightened for their daughters. It is very clear they had to get out. They left Jisr al-Shughour at six in the morning, and after close calls at government checkpoints, they arrived in Damascus at 10 pm. From there, they took a bus to the Lebanese perimeter where Mohammed fulfilled them.

Safe in Beirut, I watched Masto sprinkle the grains of bulgur with water and knead them together. Then she fed clods of the crumbly mixture into the electric grinder. The grinder pushed the dough out as coils. She assembled these up, kneaded them together and then fed them into the grinder again. With each grind, the bulgur absorbed a bit more of the water and the dough became a little softer and drier until it was aspliable as Play-Doh. Masto likes to add a little fine corn meal to her kibbeh. This is her special touch.

Masto was fastidious. She kneaded the dough as she talked. Nothing spilled , no grain was wasted. You need to be delicate in the way you build the dough, she said as she worked it. You have to make it with love so that people will love it. If you do it without love, you cannot touch people.


The World Food Programme, the emergency food assistance branch of the UN, currently supports more than 700,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Since spring 2016 the programme has dispensed a monthly allowance of $27 per head to the two-thirds of refugee families it assesses as the most vulnerable. The fund is credited to an electronic card given to each family. They can then expend their allowance on food at 490 grocery stores registered with the strategy across Lebanon. Since 2012, $770 m has been transferred through this system. One day in early May, I visited a family in the Bekaa Valley who rely on this scheme.

Abadi al-Eid had arrived in Lebanon with his wife, Khawla, and their three children, more than two years earlier, having escaped the Syrian city of Raqqa, which has been controlled under Isis since January 2014. They have since had another little boy. They live in one of the many small refugee camps that have jumped up on fields throughout the fertile plateau between Beirut and the Syrian border.

I ran with Abadi and Khawla as they did their monthly shop at a small grocery store on the Damascus-Beirut road. They brought with them their eight-year-old son Ibrahim, who had an undiagnosed neurological condition and whose growth was stunted. Everyone called him Hajji, an ironic name more commonly used to refer to an elder who has built the hajj pilgrimage.

The
The Al-Eid family feeing lunch in their tent. Photo: Wendell Steavenson for the Guardian

Hajji grinned and stuck out his arms to shake my hand. He giggled, swaggered and marched, he became suddenly aggressive and then teetered on the edge of a tantrum. He wanted sweets, he wanted biscuits. His mother dedicated him a packet of cookies and he hugged his them to his chest and shovelled one after another into his mouth.

He wants to eat everything! Khawla told me, sighing. He feed all the time, she said, but still he was skinny and scabbed. The household had taken him to the UN clinic, but there was no fund for a blood exam. Before the war, he was not like this. They said he cannot go to the school because he is disruptive. We have had to move camps 5 times because other people do not accept him.

As Abadi pushed the trolley around the little store, Hajji stamped and called, hot tears wet on his cheek. He wanted chocolate cereal. Khawla set an expensive box of chocolate cereal into the trolley.

At the checkout, the Al-Eids bought the following 😛 TAGEND

Two rounds of white cheese

A bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice

A bag of zataar, dried thyme

Popping corn

Three big boxes of dried molokhia, a kind of green foliage vegetable

A big pot of yoghurt

Several kilos of various types of lentils, beans and bulgur wheat

A 16 -litre tin of cooking oil

A 4-litre tin of olive oil

Two large cans of fresh peas

Two cans of meat

Four tins of sardines

A 2.5 kg kilo tin of tomato paste.

Chocolate cereal

They did not buy any eggs or vegetables or fresh meat, which are expensive. There is a joke about a Syrian dish called batata ou farouj potatoes and chicken cooked with lemon. These days it is very rare to have chicken, so the refugees construct the dish without any meat and call it flying chicken because the chicken has flown away.

The Al-Eids live in a tent large enough to stand up in. The frame is made of wood, while the walls are a patchwork of corrugated iron, slats of thin plywood and tarpaulin stamped with the UN refugee agency logo. The roof is covered with old waterproof ad flags and weighted with automobile tyres.

Abadi did not work. He was friendly and smoked cigarettes and when I asked him about the future, he opened his palms to the sky, resigned to Gods will.

Khawla squatted next to a blue gas canister on top of which was perched a pot of yellow lentil soup. Back in Syria, Khawla told me, she used to cook whatever she liked. Kibbeh, and stuffed veggies, these things that I used to attain, I dont make any more. I am stressed and worried all the time. Sometimes I cant even remember things. I have a bad memory because I cant suppose properly. I am only living day to day. I miss my family, we would all gather together to eat.


After Masto had made and shaped the dough, she showed me how to make the filling. She chopped an onion without looking at it, in quick, even, long slicings. The onion was placed in one bowl, violated walnuts in another, finely chopped parsley in another.

In the kitchen, on a little stave balanced on a table, she stirred the walnut pieces in a hot pan, then poured in pomegranate molasses so that it bubbled. She stirred in the onions, careful not to let them burn. After a few minutes, she tip-off the concoction onto a clean plate and sprinkled it with parsley.

As a child, Masto learned to cook kibbeh from her mom, who came from Aleppo. This means that she tends attains her dishes spicy. The subtle flame of Aleppo red pepper detects its route into almost every local dish, either powdered, like a paprika, or cooked, pulped and dried in the open air into a brick-red paste.

From her father, who had been a plumber, Masto learned her love of the Quran and her love of singing. When they were very little, she and her siblings would assemble at their parents knees while he sang suras. If they were curious he would show them the words in the Quran and spell them out and explain their meaning. Masto became a little emotional when she talked about her father. He died last year, in exile, in Lebanon.

She put down her kibbeh parcels for a moment and asked: Would you like me to sing the sura for you?

Ebtisam
Ebtisam Masto and her signature kibbeh. Photo: Wendell Steavensom for the Guardian

She closed her eyes and concentrated all her attempt into the words, the cadence and the beauty of the poems. She had a glorious voice, strong and pure and faithful. In that grim cement room it struck me that everything Masto did, she did with her whole self. Nothing was given less attention than her very best. There were tears in my eyes. Without a word, Sidra, Mastos 11 -year-old daughter, handed me a tissue.

Not long after she had finished singing, Masto returned to her kibbeh. She spooned the fill into the prepared cases and pinched the leading edge shut so that they made a double-ended teardrop shape a classic kibbeh. Then she deep-fried them in oil.

Mastos signature kibbeh is called kibbeh al rayeg , which means kibbeh of the monk. The recipe comes from a crossroads outside Jisr al-Shughour where a hermit lived. According to local legend, the monk made this kibbeh and dedicated it out to people on Sundays. In the cook workshop, Mastos monks kibbeh was voted the best.

She glowed with pride as she told me this, while mixing the deep red muhammara paste with pomegranate molasses and cumin, then loosening it with olive oil to make a sauce. Then she placed the kibbeh on a small plate. I ate them with my fingers. Salt and sour, the soft disintegrate of bulgur and nuts crunched together, bittersweet.


Once, when talking to refugeesin one of the camps in the Bekaa Valley, I asked a group of women if they built pickles and jams. The young cook Dima Chaar had told me that preparing mouneh ( pickles) was a communal activity, part of the social structure of Syria. My mother used to get together with her neighbours in Damascus, she said. In artichoke season for example, my father would go to the market and buy kilos of artichokes and then all the women would assemble and clean them and cook them and prepare them, building conserves or freezing. Mounie is the tradition of preserving.

My favourite mouneh recipe is for lemon baladi preserved lemons. I would go with my mum to the market to buy the lemons, the big ones. They had to have quite thick skin. Then you scoop the flesh out and leave them out at room temperature for three or four days until the skin blooms with a little white mould. Then you rub this off with a damp cloth and stuff the lemons with walnuts, red chilli paste and smashed garlic mixed with a little olive oil. Then you set them in a jar and fill the jar with olive oil. I used to keep the petroleum and use it to dress salads.

Twenty or more refugee women in the Bekaa Valley sat around me in a big circle. Almost every one of them had a baby or a small child on their lap. Many of them had been living in tents for five years, since the beginning of the war. Mouneh ? They shrugged. No , not really. Building pickles is a statement of settlement, it personifies the idea of a future of planning and looking forward: in six months, we will be here, in the same place. We just live day to day, one of the women said. We buy what we need and we eat it.

A
A Syrian household feed a meal outside their tent at a Syrian refugee camp in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon. Photograph: Bilal Hussein/ AP

I set the same question to a young Syrian cook from Damascus named Sam, who had been living in Beirut for two years.( He did not want me to use his surname he has siblings still living in the Syrian port city of Latakia .) Sam was a tubby, jolly fellow, but he became reflective as he thought of the past. In Damascus when I was younger, I lived with a friend who had a coffee shop in the old city. We used to go the market and buy all the veggies and construct pickles together. I love to cook, he loved to cook.

We would gather together six or seven of us, after the coffee shop shut, and eat what we had made that day. We would drink arak and listen to music one of my friends played the oud Sam stopped. His chest heaved. His smile went to a flat line, his lips compressed with the effort of recollecting. I have been here two years and I havent bought a single piece of furniture. I tell myself this is only temporary. I have not made pickles. Its a thing that you do at home, and here its not home.


When I find them in Beirut in late spring, Masto and Mohammed did not know where in America they would be settled. They were nervous. Masto told me, she wished to take a special kind of milled hard-grained wheat with her soes that she would be able to induce the Assyrian kibbeh she had learned from Marlene and Nahren.

Its not just for Assyrians to preserve their tradition, she told me. Food is a style to conserve history and culture, to pass traditions on to the next generation so that they can understand their origins and identity. In books and in schools, children learn about history and different cultures and wreckings and the remains of different civilisations, but they dont learn about the food which is also a part of its own history and cultural activities. If we dont preserve it and teach it to them, it will disappear. It is our duty to keep it running. Kibbeh is everywhere, kibbeh holds the culture and region it comes from, it holds its identity inside.

When I left Beirut I kept in touch with Masto on Facebook. In the summer she posted where she and her family would be settled: Cincinnati, Ohio.

At first, she acknowledged, when we talked this autumn via Skype, that it had been difficult. For the first three weeks the family had to live in a house infested with raccoons, but then the latter are settled in a good house in a good neighborhood. Every morning she and her daughter Amal go to English class. The International Catholic Migration Commission that sponsored their asylum application under the auspices of the UN refugee agency, was helping Mohammed to train as a forklift truck driver. The children were in school and happy. People were very friendly, very helpful. I am even complimented on my hijab, said Masto, pleased with the warmth and respect of the Midwestern reception.( Although at the beginning of December, Masto was more circumspect: since the election of Donald Trump, she wrote to me that their own families were scared and did not know, as Muslims, what the future would bring .)

Not long after Masto arrived in Cincinnati, I had asked her what she thought of American food. She admitted she had not yet tried any because she was worried it would be not be halal, but added that some friends from the local Syrian community had taken their own families to a Chinese eatery and that she had liked the sesame chicken.

The first time she had attained her signature monks kibbeh, she told me, had been a disaster. The red pepper paste she had bought at a local Arab food shop was bitter and the whole thing was ruined. But she had heard of a wholesale place where she could buy a large quantity of red pepper and was going to induce some herself.

The climate of Cincinnati is too damp and rainy to dry it outside like it is supposed to be, she told me, but I can do it in the oven.

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