At the crossroads of Hidden Kitchens and The Hidden World of Girls, we have Day of Honey: A memoir of Food, Love and War by Anna Ciezadlo.
The New York Times writes “Her book is among the least political, and most intimate and valuable, to have come out of the Iraq war.”
Ciezadlo reported for The Christian Science Monitor and The New Republic on the wars in Lebanon and Iraq. She also spent her time in these regions gathering recipes and the stories behind them. Day of Honey tells the story of war through food; while in wartime, the everyday life of the civilian is limited, yet eating remains essential. Ciezadlo writes:
But no matter what else you can’t do, you still have to eat. During wartime, people’s lives begin to revolve around food: first to stay alive, but also to stay human. Food restores a sense of familiarity. It allows us to reach out to others, because cooking and eating are often communal activities. Food can cut across social barriers, spanning class and sectarian lines (though it can also, of course, reinforce them). Making and sharing food are essential to maintaining the rhythms of everyday life.
The title of her book, Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love and War, refers to an Arabic phrase, youm aasl, youm basl, meaning “day of onion, day of honey.”
“In Arabic, it rhymes,” she tells Liane Hansen on Weekend Edition Sunday. “It means some days will be good, and some days will be bad on the most simple level.” People use it to comfort each other, or in a more subtle way to say that even though someone may be on top of it all now, their day may soon come.
Listen to Ciezadlo interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition: