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Palestinian Hosting Society: setting forgotten foods at the table

A great vehicle to reclaiming one’s culture is reclaiming one’s cuisine. This is the underlying message behind the popular Palestinian Hosting Society, launched and led by Mirna Bamieh, working to honor and revive disappearing dishes from the territory, through dinner parties in various cities around the globe. 

The Palestine Hosting Society coins itself as “live art project” exploring the traditional food culture of their threatened nation. It devotes special attention to dishes on the verge of disappearing, featuring them through the many forms of dinner parties, talks and walks, and other informative, yet social events. 

 

 

Multimedia artistry

Founded in 2017, the Palestinian filmmaker Mirna Bamieh, sought to extend her work into the dimensions of the culinary world. Through the camera lens she exposed the social concerns and limitations of today’s political dilemmas, weighing in on the conditions that constitute the Palestinian identity.  The young creative recognized that food serves as a pilar to this identity, transcending generations and Palestine’s various communities and most importantly that it is under threat.

 

Since its creation, the three year old initiative garnered a global success, extending the dinner table beyond Palestine, into Amman, Warsaw and even New York. 

 

 

Getting the details right

When thinking of a dinner party, one may not expect the intensive research Bamieh dedicates to each project. Joining efforts with her team, the collective masterfully creates traditional, yet innovative, menus for up to 60 guests. Beyond the dishes, the design and decoration of each venue intricately reflects the chosen theme, interweaving reminders of socio-political realities and suppressed aspects of Palestinian history. 

 

Some of the most memorable meals sparked conversations from the “Menu of Dis/appearance,” the unexpected “Edible Wild Plants of Palestine Table”, or the immersive “Wondering in Flavors: The Old City of Jerusalem, a table, a tour and a map.” 

 

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'سرديات التذوق' العشاء الادائي eng below لاستضافات فلسطين مع المتحف الفلسطيني، شاركنا جمهور الحفل الكريم من ٦٢٠ شخص، في رحلة عبر قائمة 'سرديات التذوق' والذي استكشفنا عبره سويا اطباقا وقصصا عبى حافة النسيان من مدننا وقرانا الفلسطينية. ساشارككم باطباق القائمة وصورها في منشور اخر. اما الان فاود ان اشكر الفريق الرائع الذي جعل عملية التحضير لهذه الحفلة الذي امتد لاكثر من ٣ اشهر من اسلس وامتع التجارب، والذي دفعني للسفر المتكرر من وارسو لعمان للتحضيرات دون كلل او تعب، بل بحب وطاقةًجميلة، اخص بالشكر زينا جردانة رئيسة مجلس ادارة المتحف الفلسطيني، والقائمة الرئيسية على الحفل، ودانا عريقات عصب الحفل التي كانت صنعت المستحيل في جعل تفاصيل الحفل كما يجب ان تكون، هبة من فندق الفوور سيزونز التي كانت دائما موجودة لجعل جميع التفاصيل تمشي بسلاسة، وندين المهتدي مصممة القائمة الطعام الجميلة جدا، كما واود شكر @myeventdesign للتصمصم الجميل للحفلة، وفريق المطابخ الذي تشاركنا بعملية الطبخ ليومين كاملين كانوا مليئين بالتسلية والضحك. شكرا للجميع من ذكرتهم ومن لا يسعني المنشور ذكرهم لكن كلي عرفان لهم. Trails of Taste-telling, a performance gala dinner for the Palestinian Museum @palmuseum , in which i took our 620 guests in a trail in the map on Palestine, through which we explores dishes and stories, on the verge of vanishing from different cities and villages. I will share with you more about the exquisite menu in another post! This success and constant praises of the event wouldnt have been possible without a the dedicated women i was working with specially @zinajardaneh @danaerekat @hebaabusaad d @nadine_muhtadi For the beautiful menu design, and the breathtaking event design of @myeventdesign , thanks you Majda and Siwar for all your creativity! And above all, the @fsamman Kitchen team, that made the 2 full cooking days for such a huge event, a lovely fun one full of good spirits and laughs. It takes a village to create such events, and I was blessed to have my work and food part of this experience. I am deeply grateful. The first beautiful photo, and that of me and Raeda Taha are by @hanansayedworrell @tabletalesme .

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Pinning more locations on the map

Beyond the already ambitious task of feeding 600 guests in one night, the Palestinian Hosting Society transported each attendee through the “Trails of Taste-Telling” during a prestigious gala fundraising dinner at the Palestinian Museum. With each bite of grape leaf wrapped kifta, each tear into a toasty fatoot bread, or each walnut and cinnamon sprinkled semolina layer, an eye-opening cultural explanation was served on the side. 

Mirna stands tall as the guide of her curated culinary journeys, inviting her guests through her ancestors trails, turning proverbial corners into the intersection of the old and the new, always remaining true to the Palestinian identity.