POST: 'Oh My Sweet Land' - there was actual cooking

What it's about.

A Syrian- American cooks Kibbeh while sharing her experience about looking for her friend in present day Syria. 

What I experienced.

We waited in a cafe until it was time for the play to begin. I ate an apple wondering if this meant that there would indeed be someone actually cooking during the performance. As we were walking to the other space, someone said "It would've been crazy if we were part of the performance piece and the cafe was it." It made me sad to think of it that way, especially since I didn't make an effort to engage with anyone. 

They said we could sit anywhere we'd like and, while on other days I'd space myself out, this time I sat directly next to someone. We began talking about how we found out about the show and when she mentioned she was cold, I offered to share my large scarf with her. We shared it for the whole performance.


There was actual cooking! The smell of spices and onions filled the room. She began her story of Kibbeh. She spoke of her grandmother who visited for two weeks and the shame and discomfort she felt when her grandmother from "Syria" visited.  I was mesmerized by her chopping skills and wondered how she could be telling a story and chopping at the same time. Had she sliced her hand once before? 

Honestly, if the onions don't make you cry, the vivid storytelling will. The narrator befriended a Syrian man and she spoke about her search for him in Syria. She spoke to us about people being burned alive, stabbed, shot, wounded. She spoke about the fear and the desire to want to leave Syria, but the fear and desire of finding her friend. She spoke about how quickly someone can get desensitized to the pain happening around and about the smells that surrounded her. 

The cooking added an element of sound and smell that heightened the fear, such as the sound of the Kibbeh frying in the searing oil. 

What I got from this is that we all need to remain active with the world around us. We all need to be active in our communities. Stop being idle. Stop pretending like the world is fine. There are people dying from civil wars, from diseases, from a lack of human justice. Please, be active. The world needs it. 

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