THE INCREDIBLE MAGIC OF FOOD
House is just a house until you can smell freshly baked bread, spiced rice or delicious pie in the air. It becomes a home in a blink of an eye thanks to care, time and patience you put into the food you make for your loved ones. Food has an incredible power to bring back memories from the deepest corners of your childhood, make you appreciate the moment and at the same time look at your family and think of their future. It brings different people and cultures together. For generations, people laughed, cried, fought and made up over a table full of amazing scents, flavours and colours. Even with the busiest of schedules, families still try to make time to eat together and mark every major holiday with special dishes, ingredients and aromas.
Food is life and, in time, it became my passion. I am fascinated by that power of food that speaks louder and more clearly than words and breaks many a barrier between people throughout cultures and generations.
I grew up in a culture where food is the definition love. My both grandmothers and my mum cooked for our family, friends and guests to express their love and care, and they have always opened their homes and kitchens to others, instead of taking them out, as it is a habit nowadays. For years, I have watched women in my family cook everything from a scratch to make sure we ate the most delicious and the healthiest food possible. My mum made her own cakes, cottage cheese, jams and preserves. My maternal grandmother made the most delicious pierogi I have ever tasted and my parental one made amazing home-made noodles and poppyseed cakes.
Even in the tiniest of kitchens (a painful standard in Polish high-rise architecture) our family-life still centred around the dining table and really great food was made on daily basis. In our first home only two people could sit comfortably at a microscopic table, so my sister and I sat on a window sill or worktops and assisted during the evening cooking with a chat. The kitchen was minuscule, but it continuously pulsated with closeness and love we had for one another. Things look very differently now in many households with busy schedules, take-aways and pre-made food, but I want to go back to the joy of knowing exactly what goes into the food I make for my family and friends, and give them happy moments and delicious dishes I was lucky to experience and at the same time to learn about my husband’s childhood memories and his favourite dishes.
Our kitchen is a little bigger than the one from my youth, but not by much. Just like my mum back then, I too dream of a big kitchen full of light, with a big table, countless cupboards and all the equipment and gadgets permanently out on worktops, but I have decided that neither lack of space nor restricted budget will stop me from enjoying cooking, learning new dishes and exploring how my eastern European culture interlinks with my husband’s Arabic heritage.
I am lucky, I have two mums to teach me all that is best about Polish and Iraqi food. One in Lublin, about 1400 km away from us and the other one even further than this, all the way in Baghdad. But love knows no distance nor boundaries, so using whatever technology we share, we talk and cook together. Three women, three countries, one family. Our Eastern Kitchen.
Read, share, comment and, most of all, try the recipes. Share you own journey with our Facebook page and Facebook community. It is the place to ask about anything regarding food, exchange ideas, cookery books and items. Home-cooking is all about family, passion and community.