Bread and Salt



27 June 2013

In its endeavors to foster cultural exchange and interaction, UNIFIL’s Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) section initiated Spanish cuisine classes back in 2009, where cooking classes were held in different vocational schools in the south; and here today we are attending the end of the seventh Spanish cuisine course held in Marjeyoun vocational school.

The five-week course, which started on April 6th and ended on May 5th , received students from the towns of Adaysseh, Marjeyoun, Qulaiaa, Deir Mimes, Khiyam, Blat, Shebaa, Hasbaya, Ebel Esaki, Burj al Molouk, Debbin, Kfar Shouba.

During the course, the students learned to prepare about fifteen main traditional Spanish dishes besides a variety of Spanish desserts, while in turn they shared with the Spanish military cooks around thirty different Lebanese specialties.

How can the students benefit from this course?
Since the regular catering program at the vocational schools does not include a specialized course related to Spanish cuisine, this course offered to the students is a rare opportunity in Lebanon.

Who benefited from these courses?
“We took photos of the dishes, jotted down the recipes, and we shared them via our smart phones with our friends and neighbors,” students cheerfully commented.

Is it true that the Spanish and the Lebanese dishes are very different?
“The Spanish cuisine is different from the Lebanese, but still they use same ingredients …If Lebanese add flavor to their dishes, sprinkle spices and lots of the delicious olive oil they produce, Spanish people do the same; they add olive oil, vinegar, dried cloves, rosemary, and saffron to almost every dish and add honey and cinnamon almost to every pastry, explained Captain Fernandez of UNIFIL’s Spanish contingent.

Is it only about learning how to cook?
Not really! Actually the course stepped beyond sharing knowledge of recipes from Spain or from Lebanon. It became a cultural mingle between Gracias and Shukran, between Vamos and Yalla, between Paella and Sayyadieh. Simply, it was a joyful scene of cooperation and interaction between the Lebanese youth and the Spanish peacekeepers.

It is that homely deep feeling revealed when Captain Fernandez with her smile added “usually I cook at home in Spain, and now I’m cooking again here in Lebanon”.

In Lebanon, we have a saying: “we become one family when we share bread and salt”. “Bread & Salt” was definitely shared here today.

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Article: Hiba Monzer
Video Editor: Suzane Badereddine
Video Camera: Mohamad Hamze

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