Bucharest TVR Channel – Food as Cultural Diplomacy
Food as Cultural Diplomacy in the Levant
Watch a news report made by the Romanian TV, about the facilitating role that cuisine can play in Cultural Diplomacy. “Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the Levant” (Bucharest, May 23rd-25th, 2013)
This is how the story of the eggplant salad begins. Actually, that’s how it continues because up to this moment the eggplant must be quickly baked and then pealed under the flow of cold water. More important, as all chefs recommend, the eggplant must be left for one entire day to remove all the water. In the past, around 1700 more precisely, the taste of the vegetable was complemented by other delicacies: “The eggplants were filled with sheep’s cheese and telemea (traditional Romanian cheese), with baked nuts and also hazelnuts.”
But how would the modern recipe for eggplant salad look like? The answer comes quickly and it’s an answer adapted by modern methods: it is more elaborated with spices but with a less intense taste of the initial product.
“We took a dry and baked plum; we filled it with eggplant salad, sesame paste, dry ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, coriander and pepper. We’ve also added pine seeds.” And that’s how you obtain a version of the eggplant salad that is more elaborate and ready to be consumed as a “fast food” product, as the occidentals prefer. At the “Levant” Forum, the eggplant salad was used as an alarm for all the dangerous tendencies in the actual gastronomy.
President Emil. Constantinescu: “Food in the Orient is a reason for friends to spend time together, enjoy, and discuss”. The “Levant, Cradle of Cultural Diplomacy: Rediscovering the Mediterranean” Forum took place until today, in Bucharest.