Middle East

Palestinian chef says the kitchen is a place of healing


Politics and food are always connected, according to Palestinian-American chef Laila el-Haddad who is touring Australia.

Palestinian-American chef, author and activist Laila el-Haddad thinks the kitchen can be a place of healing for women, particularly in conflict-ridden parts of the world.

“It is the ultimate act, of ordinary, everyday, resistance. To be able to scour together the ingredients and continue to prepare the same meals, in the same very regionally-specific way,” Ms el-Haddad told SBS News.

“I'm not a believer in ignoring, separating, divorcing food from politics, I think it all kind of exists in this sort of wonderful jumble and one helps us understand the other."

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Palestinian chef Laila El-Haddad .
Palestinian chef Laila El-Haddad .

Palestinian-Australian Samah Sabawi, who came along to see Ms el-Haddad speak, told SBS News she believed food was an important way to humanise the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Sometimes we look at conflicts in terms of statistics, in terms of maps, and plans and histories and we forget that these conflicts have a profound effect on the daily lives of people,” Ms Sabawi said.

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