An Offering From Maia Directors
When the going gets tough, the Middle Easterners get cooking (and eating). As our beloved theatre artists and institutions try to weather this pandemic, here’s a little care package of some of what we’ve been making during quarantine.
Usually, the Maia Blog features spotlights on MENASA artists we think you should know. The last blog was sent out on March 10, a mere 48 hours before all Broadway shows were canceled and our industry plunged into a space of uncertainty, anxiety, and loss that would have been hard to imagine when we pressed “publish.”
We have been thinking a lot about what we value. How do we use this moment to turn towards our values, rather than side-stepping them? As we slowly step back into in-person interactions with our colleagues and our communities, how can Maia Directors be part of encouraging the art and the business of theater to emerge from this moment with a deeper foundation in compassion, generosity, and equity?
We don’t have any answers yet, but if you want to talk with us more about it, drop us a line. In the meantime, we are thinking of all of you -- our fellow artists, our fellow academics, our fellow staffers at regional theaters. One thing we know -- when the going gets tough, the Middle Easterners get cooking (and eating). Here’s a little care package of some of what we’ve been making during quarantine. From our families, our kitchens, and our hearts to yours -- Nush-e-joon! (May it be sweet for your soul, or put more simply, bon appetit!)
Evren, Kareem, Megan, and Pirronne
Labneh (from Megan)
My Armenian grandmother made yogurt every week when my mom was growing up. Quarantine has given me the opportunity to make my own labneh, an addictive yogurt-cheese that can be eaten on everything from soup to bread to eggs.
Egyptian Kofta (from Kareem)
Kofta (think a Middle Eastern meatball) can be a great halal cart treat, or a sit-down dinner with the right side dishes.
I like to serve mine with a homemade lemon tahini dressing, warm pita bread, and a tomato-cucumber salad (feta optional, but recommended).
Salad Shirazi and Kuku Sabzi (from Pirronne)
Growing up, my mom’s salad Shirazi and kuku sabzi were two of my favorite comfort foods. They’re great separately or together, and with a bit of pita bread and feta cheese, make for a perfect brunch.
Poğaça (from Evren)
In Turkish cuisine, you will find savory pastries of all kinds, and these fluffy pockets of cheesy goodness are, by far, my favorite. And they also happen to be quite easy to make.
Poğaça (po-uh-chuh) are eaten mainly for afternoon tea, but I would recommend trying them warm with olives and sliced tomatoes and cucumbers for breakfast with a side of very strong black tea.