Food Revolution Day Rocks Beirut!Thu 04 Jul 2013
Story by Caline Chaya Chaoul
Launched only a month before Food Revolution Day, Food Revolution Beirut expanded out all over the city and soon enough, everyone was talking “Real Food”!
A Food Revolution Week in Beirut
In a short period of time, Beirut Ambassador Caline Chaya Chaoul managed to spread the Food Revolution message to Lebanese families, friends, children, restaurants, and schools. With a team of devoted volunteers, Caline organized diverse activities in the city, its suburbs, and villages; carrying out an Food Revolution Day week instead of just one day!
Caline cooked at home, in restaurants, and in elderly homes. Joined by her daughter Youmna, they taught people how to cook Jamie Oliver’s recipes, with their own personal twist. Many local restaurants adopted the Food Revolution Day spirit and celebrated May the 17th by cooking real food, giving out flyers, and talking to their customers about the Food Revolution.
Caline holds high aspirations for the Food Revolution Beirut and and hopes to spread the message to those who lack the means to prepare and enjoy real food. Caline spent her weekend at the elderly homes in Lebanese villages to share the joy of cooking and eating - cooking for the kind women and men who spent their lives serving and cooking for their children, grandchildren, and extended families. In hope of giving back a little of what they have given younger generations, Caline taught them new recipes and learned a few herself! Whilst doing so she discovered the secret of Um Said, an old lady at the elderly home, who told her about an ingredient she has been using since the 1950s whenever she cooks for her husband. This secret has been passed down the women in her family, from her great-grand mother to her daughter.
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” said Um Said in Arabic. The ladies laughed as they ate their meals and the men shook their head in agreement.
Food Education and Awareness
Caline believes that children are in desperate need of food education and awareness, and so for Food Revolution Day she also approached kindergartens and taught children how processed & junk food can impact their bodies. Together with Youmna they raised awareness about the benefits of adapting a healthy lifestyle and the importance of keeping our cooking skills alive.
With the belief that parents and schools should take their children out of their everyday environment to give them the opportunity to explore the world where our food comes from, Caline encourages families to participate in field-trips to their home villages, with a strong belief that children will only learn and believe something once they experience it. Simple things like taking them to the hen house and turning egg-hunting into a fun activity will definitely leave an impact.
Lebanon is a beautiful country, rich in diversity, culture, and nature and Caline aims to spread the message across all its communities: from the homeless, the elderly, the children at schools and their parents, to the neighbor next door and to relatives, the local supermarket, and the restaurant owners.
About the author: A mother of two, and a cook at heart – Caline Chaya Chaoul found a passion in the kitchen many years ago. For her, cooking is not just a hobby, but a lifestyle. Caline cooks for her loved ones at home, the elderly, friends at restaurants, and also participated in internships at Paul Bocuse Institute with her daughter, Youmna. Passing her love for cooking to her daughter, they both enjoy making new recipes and passing on their cooking skills to communities. Through food education and cooking activities to raise awareness, Caline hopes to better the food culture and cooking skills of children and communities in Lebanon at a time when the obesity and diet-related diseases rates are rapidly increasing.
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