Opinion 0 comments on New Year, New Me? Well, no.

New Year, New Me? Well, no.

So here we go! First day back to normal after all the holiday (beautiful) madness and emotional rollercoaster that comes with this time of year.

New year, new us? Well, I don’t really think so. I’m kind of happy with my current me; I don’t really want to be a new me; this must mean I’m doing SOMETHING right, doesn’t it? I’m truly grateful for everything I have and don’t want things to change. Continue Reading “New Year, New Me? Well, no.”

Uncategorized 0 comments on Don’t Pair Cheese with Wine!

Don’t Pair Cheese with Wine!

A while ago, I stumbled across this article on why we shouldn’t pair cheese with wine. It got me thinking about our “food behavior”. In the world of hosting, there are things we stick to – depending on the circumstances and season. Cheese and Wine is one of them. Year after year, come rain, we gather for cheese and wine. We’ve been taught to do it and the winter season can’t possibly go by without these gatherings. It’s funny how sometimes we know deep down some things shouldn’t be the way they are but we still do them because that’s what the culture and lifestyle in the place we live in are like. Continue Reading “Don’t Pair Cheese with Wine!”

Opinion 1 comment on The Perks of Cooking In Group

The Perks of Cooking In Group

In the world of Therapy, cooking and having a positive entourage have always been recommended to boost serotonin levels and increase relaxation and happiness. Over time, I have found that baking cakes have the superpower of calming me down, bringing me to impressive levels of serenity – something I didn’t know I was capable of, being the anxious person I am.

cooking in group | breadonbutter

In the past year, I was lucky to make new friends who love cooking and food as much as I do. Since I’m prone to sharing my recipes and not greedily keep them in a secret notebook, I’ve engaged in a new venture: gathering people around our stove. I find it so much fun and gratifying to have friends over with their favorite ingredients and recipes to cook all together and learn from each other. Laughs are also guaranteed!

cooking in group | breadonbutter

Based on these good times and on the atmosphere of family meals and children wandering around the cook in the kitchen to learn and get a taste of what’s cooking, we had our first cook-off not long ago. Hisham from Cookin5m2, Sarah who owns Dulce n’ Banana, Maya who writes Playing With Fashion, Betty who’s the great photographer behind BetKet Photography, Sleiman who’s the one behind K-frame, and of course my husband and favorite Chef Jean, were all here to lend a hand in a meal we all had together. Hisham made a delicious chicken pot pie, Sarah made a special apple crumble and we all worked to concoct entrees of all flavors and genres.

cooking in group | breadonbutter

Food has a lot of meaning. Whether it’s culturally, ethnically, or religiously, it brings people together. Baking, cooking a meal, shopping for the food and certainly sitting down together and socializing is a pure pleasure of life.

Cook-offs are not only meant to give a chance to meet new people, but also to discover food and ingredients that people might not have come across before. Also, everyone can leave with leftovers and a new recipe.

In the future, I’d love to bring experienced winemakers, brewers, bakers, butchers, etc. to teach others tricks and techniques.

The main focus of cooking in group is on socializing, learning to cook and to cook together, learning about new ingredients and types of food, maybe even how to shop for food before learning how to cook it.

The cook-off affected all of our moods positively. Having this meal gave us greater satisfaction because we cooked it together.

Cooking has therapeutic value physically, cognitively, socially and intrapersonally. Physically, cooking requires good movement in shoulders, fingers, wrists, elbow, neck, as well as good overall balance. Adequate muscle strength is needed in upper limbs for lifting, mixing, cutting and chopping. Furthermore, sensory awareness is important in considering safety while dealing with hot and sharp objects.

This is the therapeutic value noted by the University of Alberta.

Here are more photos of our cook-off if you’d like to see. There will be other cook-offs organized so if you wish to participate, all you have to do is send an email to: breadonbutterblog@gmail.com ! 🙂

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Photos were all taken by the great Betty from BetKet Photography.

Dining table and chairs from Dfouny Technotel  – available for rent

cooking in group | breadonbutter

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Opinion 0 comments on The Psychology of Perception: Perception of Value When It Comes To Food

The Psychology of Perception: Perception of Value When It Comes To Food

Most of the people I know enjoy food more when it’s expensive. But see, life is all about perception. We perceive things and come up with our own truth. This infographic was sent to me a while ago and I thought it would be interesting to share.

It explores the psychology behind our perceptions when it comes to food. For example, you’ll see how lobster went from a prison food to one of the most luxurious and expensive dishes we can now order. You’ll also get an insight into marketing tricks such as how including ‘ancient grains’ can increase the price consumers are willing to pay, and how we gain more pleasure from wine we’re told is more expensive.

Value is in the eye of the beholder. But what influences the beholder in their perceptions? This infographic looks at the psychology behind our perceptions, noting trends, marketing practices and differing generational attitudes.

Since price positively influences perceptions of quality, and inversely influences perceptions of value, how do sellers of mundane products use history, story, exclusivity, and implied scarcity to change our appetites?

Link

perception | breadonbutter

Source: http://www.vouchercloud.com/resources/perception-of-value-infographic?m=0

What do you think about this?

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Opinion, Travel, Uncategorized 4 comments on Lebanon Perceived by International Media – How We Can Change That Image

Lebanon Perceived by International Media – How We Can Change That Image

All Winter, we’ve been running home every night to finally get in bed and start new episodes of The Mentalist. I know the show’s been on for 7 years but we decided to view it all in one shot. A few days ago, we reached the final episodes (very very sad I know). To our surprise, 2 episodes take place in Beirut (not sure if Patrick Jane actually came to Beirut but there were shots of our beloved city in the episodes). Not so surprisingly, it wasn’t the Beirut we know that was shown in The Mentalist. We would’ve expected more from Patrick and I must say we were disappointed. I didn’t make much of this and quickly forgot it, maybe because we became used to this bad portrayal of our country in the media. But then Jean sent me this post and it brought on new thoughts. How can we possibly change the perception of our country in the media?

1- Rely on some of the Lebanese bloggers. The internet is powerful and can convey information faster and more efficiently.

2- Expats, we know the nice job you’re doing at educating the ones who don’t know about us so thank you.

3- We have so much talent that we shouldn’t just showcase it in Lebanon. Mahrou’ Leila are on the way with their occasional international concerts, and Hiba Tawaji is making us proud.

4- Photographers and videographers, use your connections and present your work (including photos of the real Lebanon) outside the country.

5- Spread initiatives like LiveLoveBeirut, LiveLove Lebanon and Positive Lebanon.

We must fight this ugly image and show the positive side of Lebanon. Of course, I am not saying it’s flawless but picturing it like a battle field is the other extreme.

What do you think?

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and don’t forget to tag us if you try out our recipes!

Opinion 6 comments on February Bucket List

February Bucket List

Wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, I always stumble upon things that inspire me. I always jot down my flowing ideas and I end up with notes everywhere – on my phone, on my desk, on my bedside table, in my Moleskine, or even on a supermarket bill in the car. So to channel those plans and thoughts, I decided to put everything in writing, on an organized list every month. Now that list might not be very realistic or achievable, but a life without dreaming is a life without meaning 😉

Breadonbutter February Bucket List

  1. Plan a trip to a place I’ve never visited before
  2. Cook Ramen
  3. Cook healthy dishes
  4. Try a no-flour cake (and make it puff up!)
  5. Eat at 2 new restaurants
  6. Do more yoga at Nok Yoga Shala
  7. Go someplace new in Lebanon – I’ve never been to Ehden and I hear it’s beautiful
  8. Hike and ski more – I’ve become quite sedentary lately and that’s wrong!
  9. Have a fondue night somewhere cold before the hot weather strikes again
  10. Discover new songs and compile a new and fresh playlist (you can check previous playlists here, here and here)
  11. Be more productive
  12. Discover a new ingredient – just like we discovered Sriracha
  13. Discover new neighborhoods in Beirut – you think you know everything but you don’t
  14. Watch The Theory of Everything and The Darjeeling Limited
  15. Read at least 2 chapter of the Baking Basics & Beyond e-book

Anything you can relate to? 🙂

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and don’t forget to tag @breadonbutter if you try our recipes!

Opinion, Travel, Uncategorized 2 comments on Lebanese Wine Vanquishing The World

Lebanese Wine Vanquishing The World

Yesterday, an article about Lebanon came out in the Telegraph online. In it, Victoria Moore writes about how Lebanese wine is booming and calls her readers to try it.

During times when the Lebanese are famous for being porn stars, or when the only news we hear all day are the bad things happening around us, this is good news indeed!

The article basically depicts the Lebanese Wine production scene, mentioning the recently deceased Serge Hochar and nominating “two particular stars” : Domaine des Tourelles and Ixsir.

The last sentence says a lot:

It’s time to recognise the new Lebanon. The king is dead; long live the king.

You can read the article on this link.

I’d love to know your thoughts 🙂

Opinion, Travel, Uncategorized 0 comments on FedEx Shows The World Llewelynn Clarke’s Hot Pepper Sauce

FedEx Shows The World Llewelynn Clarke’s Hot Pepper Sauce

A while ago, I was sent one of the spiciest most delicious sauce I’d ever tasted and was asked to film myself having a spoon of it. It was all part of the new Fedex campaign that came out a few weeks ago, just in time for the end of the year.

The campaign, produced by AMV BBDO London, follows a small chili sauce company, based in the Caribbean, on their journey to becoming world famous, thanks to the help of FedEx.

In the video (below), you have Llewellyn Clarke, a chili sauce maker and charismatic gentleman.  And you have the chili sauce, a red pepper blend with a touch of fresh thyme. You can read a little about his sauce and how great it is (and how great he is) here.

AMV simply sent me a bottle of Chili sauce, and in return asked for a short film clip or photo of me tasting it. The ad is now live in the UK, France, Italy and most of Asia.

You can watch the film here  and all of the selected reaction videos are in place on this campaign page as well, Breadonbutter’s included (search for Lebanon)! Enjoy!

Opinion 0 comments on The Sunday Lunch Conversation and Generation Y

The Sunday Lunch Conversation and Generation Y

In Lebanon, whether you’re 8 or 28, you are ordered to attend the occasional (if not weekly) Sunday lunch. While most of the Generation Y people only show their love for it, we all know that deep down, we have come to dread it. That day that was all about good food and time with family has become this interrogatory nightmare you prepare for during the week before, and spend the week after recovering from. I was at one of those lunches not long ago as a member of Generation Y – also called, the Peter Pan Generation.

Mostly the children of  the “baby-boomer” – whose behavior we can explore some other time, when we have a few hours to kill – Gen Y kids were born just before internet and right at the end of Walkmans, Game Boys and Super Mario Bros on a giant computer screen. Their life is now shaped by technology and they are never quite satisfied with what they have. I’m sure most of you read last year’s Huffington Post article on how Generation Y Yuppies are always unhappy (here).  It mainly shows that everything derives from one simple formula:

Happiness = Reality – Expectations.

Generation Y’s expectations are indeed very much higher than their reality. Simply put, we are delusional because of our parents and grandparents – or should I say thanks to them – as they built us this happy childhood, making us think we can be whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want. But little did we all know that this seemingly perfect cycle has major flaws.

Generation Y | Breadonbutter

It all starts (and ends) in the controversy that derives from our baby-boomer parents’ (God bless them) behavior. They really want the best for us but they project their own unfinished business on us. Off the top of my head, they want us to leave our country, travel, go experience things of this world, but only for a limited time period whereby they expect us to come back and “settle”.

The Sunday lunch is where all this controversy can happen. It is the place where blaming, emotional blackmailing and threats materialize. I can imagine you get the picture. All kinds of proteins (meat, chicken, snails, kafta, etc.) and all kinds of herbs and carbs are set on the table. Everyone is passing everything around. Everyone insists on everyone eating. And that’s where it happens. Your lifestyle is questioned, and then praised. Your decisions are criticized, and then praised. Your health is questioned but then never praised. Girls who haven’t had the time to put on their make-up are considered “dying” (really funny cartoon by Ink on the Side on this link). Boys who have lost weight are considered to be mis-fed. Because God forbid the boys be criticized. In a nutshell, Sunday lunch has become a way for all baby-boomers to let go of their demons and unleash them on us, Generation Y – discontented and uncontrollable Generation Y.

But from time to time, when parents have a little more to drink, you discover they went through the same and made the same decisions when they were younger; and you start looking at them as people, who were young once and who only want what’s best for you.

It’s at the end of Sunday that you can finally let go and stop holding your breath. This blessed day is over and we can all go back to our “normal”, unsatisfied, ambitious, grumpy, rebellious and happy selves!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, listen to their advice, nod along, and then go off and make your own gut-felt choices. AND do your stomach a favor and stick to one meat type. It will help the digestion process and spare you all the bloating 😉

generation Y | Breadonbutter

 

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Opinion 0 comments on MOH Press Conference: 5 Unanswered Questions

MOH Press Conference: 5 Unanswered Questions

Today, I was going to blog about a nice salad recipe we had enjoyed for dinner last night. But then, I saw that something was going on that I couldn’t bypass this time. I had always told myself that this blog was going to be about nice things in life, that I was only going to aim to inspire people and make them forget about their real problems for a while. But, as a foodie and as an addict of good meals, I just have to share my opinion about what happened yesterday on television.

The Minister of Health gave a press conference to talk about the quality of meat and chicken sold and served in our country. The first thing I felt when I sat there watching him talk was doubt, and the first thing I thought was “It’s a scam”. Then I realized this was sad. Even the MINISTER OF HEALTH has lost his credibility, and is thought to be manipulated or to manipulate (note here that I’m unaware of who belongs to which group politically and I’m planning on staying ignorant for the rest of my life). I’m not sure why they would issue this kind of information; I’m not even sure who and what to believe. But what I do know is that the first thing we all did was doubt. We thus have come to only trust our own judgment. Focusing on Roadster Diner’s chicken breast fiasco, the initial reaction of the diner’s loyal customers (including myself) was to go there and order anything that comes with chicken. Hats off to Najib from Blog Baladi, I hope you enjoyed your chicken salad! 🙂

This all leads to some questions that need to be asked:

  •  Is it all true?
  • Why is it all talk and no action? If ground meat is indeed infected, why isn’t the said restaurant or distributor banned from the market?
  • When a restaurant is not conforming to the rules and regulations of health, what happens to it?
  • Some of the restaurants in the list have central kitchens. So how can ingredients be infected in one branch and not in the others?
  • And if it is all true, have we become immune?

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foodie-talks-2

Opinion, Travel 0 comments on The End Of Sushi As We Know It

The End Of Sushi As We Know It

People who know me well know that sushi is a big part of my life. I sometimes even wonder what it is that I truly love about it: the soy sauce, the rice, or what it’s really about – the fish? If the latter’s the case for me and for sushi lovers out there, well I got news! Fish population is changing and a lot is happening to it!

Jiro Ono, star of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“, a documentary portraying the 85 year-old world class sushi chef, and owner of the three-michelin star renowned sushi restaurant, has recently warned people about the changes in sushi ingredients that will be happening in the near future. In fact, not only will there be changes, but some fish species might most likely disappear. Ono, host of the top world celebrities like Obama and Joel Robuchon said in a press conference on Tuesday:

I told my young men three years ago sushi materials will totally change in five years. And now, such a trend is becoming a reality little by little. […]

The traditional spread of fatty tuna, eel and shellfish may soon be forced to give way to the bane of any fishmonger — farmed seafood

Jiro Ono

“Many of the ocean’s fisheries are on the brink of collapse as populations of some of the most well-known fish species plummet. Earlier this year, the body that monitors bluefin tuna in the Pacific Ocean recommended drastic cuts to catch limits as populations plunged to just 8 percent of their original levels. 80 percent of the world’s bluefin is consumed by the Japanese and demand elsewhere is only growing.”

Source: Huffington Post

In some countries, actions are being taken to address the issue of overfishing and there are even plans to create fish sanctuaries to protect the endangered species. This makes you wonder about countries by the sea, like ours. Will the people in charge of this matter, deal with it properly?

What do you think of this? Would you continue having your weekly sushi meal if you knew the fish was raised in a farm?

P.S. Below is the “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” trailer for you to watch!