Clay pots are ideal vessels for preparing yogurt. Since clay has relatively low thermal conductivity, it helps keep the milk warm during the fermentation process and keeps the yogurt cool once it’s chilled. Clay also has the added benefit of being porous, which helps absorb some of the residual whey from the fermentation process and produces a naturally thick and creamy yogurt. Before there was electricity or electric yogurt makers, people used clay pots for preparing this delicious, tangy treat.
Organized a screening of Soufra at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore. Soufra follows the unlikely and wildly inspirational story of intrepid social entrepreneur, Mariam Shaar – a generational refugee who has spent her entire life in the Burj El Barajneh refugee camp just south of Beirut, Lebanon.
At TEDx MidAtlantic, I spoke about communal food practices in Aleppo. For thousands of years, the act of preparing a meal in Syria (and across many cultures around the world) was often a collaborative experience. Harvesting olives, rolling grape leaves, baking bread— these tasks were as much social as they were practical.
Teta Thursdays was a limited web series focused on the intersection of food, culture, and identity. Teta is the Arabic word for grandmother, often the matriarchs and keepers of many cherished culinary traditions. The idea for Teta Thursday was conceived at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to cultivate community during a time of social distancing and self-isolation. The project was a series of conversations with food writers, chefs, and researchers who focus on culinary traditions from around the Arab world.
Before computers, home cooks used to clip, jot down, and share their favorite recipes on paper. Cookbooks were essentially a collection of these recipes. This project recreates that analog approach to cooking by printing beautifully illustrated recipe cards that people can cook from, take notes on, and share with their friends. This project is a collaboration with my friend and artist Saba Hamidi (@madebysaba).
Habibi Dinners are pop-up style events that showcase Aleppo's rich food culture.
Light City is a festival of light, music and innovation. It reimagines Baltimore's waterfront into a premier cultural destination and hosts a series of talks and panel discussions on a variety of topics.
Fundraiser for the Lebanese Red Cross in 2007.
Community-wide blogging contests to recreate iconic dishes and flavors from the Mediterranean.