Yeni Raki Global

Slow Food with Barbara Abdeni Massaad

woman preparing food at outdoor market with crowd of people watching

​​​​We've been working with some fantastic chefs to develop stunning recipes to accompany YENİ RAKI in the Raki and Fish book. One of which is chef, author and founder of the Beirut Slow Food movement, Barbara Abdeni Massaad.

After filling the morning and our baskets with the spectacles of Broadway Market, arguably the best place for food production in east London. We took refuge over lunch, turning our attentions to things of a slower pace.

You're a member of the Slow Food Movement, to someone who doesn't know what it's about, how would you sum it up?

It's best summed up by its principles: 'Good', 'clean' and 'fair'. Good, meaning eating good food, something that's not just reserved for the rich but due to everyone. Clean, meaning it has to be free from pesticides and not genetically modified and Fair, meaning farmers and small scale producers are put on a pedestal and given a fair wage.

What is it about the Slow Food movement that's really important to you?

When I went to Terra Madre in Turin, Italy (the birth of the Slow Food movement), it was a revelation for me. I found people from all over the world who felt and thought exactly as I did. Where you can share each other's problems and solutions and talk about food. It's a platform for my happiness.

What has driven your passion for food?

I've been studying the foods of my country for ten years, roaming around, collecting recipes and meeting people. I want to keep our culinary heritage alive, by reviving all of our lost recipes and ingredients.

I've written four books, every single one I write is like an adventure; Man'oushe is about Lebanese bread, Mouneh is a 600-page book about preserving the bounty of the harvest, Mezze, is about the style of eating that's very important in Lebanon and now my latest book is soup recipe book with portraits of Syrian refugees, called Soup for Syria_._ We have an abundance of refugees in Lebanon and I wanted to do something to help these people, so all the proceeds of the book will go buy food for them.

When I write a book, it's not just about the book and it's about sharing what I'm living through.

We'll be posting some of Barbara's recipes very soon, to find more about her books, click here