Stories of coming together over food
Throughout history, food has played a large role in bringing conflicting people together, turning times of crisis into times of peace.
Click on a plate to read an inspiring story from the past, and learn how to make a peace meal yourself so you can come together over food this Peace Day.
- Plum Pudding
- Three Meat Mock Turtle Soup
- Garlic Hummus
Christmas Eve Peace Truce, WWI
In December of 1914, weary soldiers from Germany, Britain, Scotland, and France were gathered in opposing trenches in northern Europe. With over 70 million combatants by the war’s end, and most of Europe involved, trench warfare did not lend itself to holiday celebration. But a change was in the air. Parcels and packages of food were delivered to the soldiers on both sides, Christmas gifts from their governments. The fighting stopped, and the opposing forces sat down together on Christmas Eve. Sharing food like plum pudding, chocolate cake, sausages, and beer, the soldiers exchanged songs and tales of revelry in the desolate “No Man’s Land” between the trenches. And for a little while, there was peace.XIngredients
- 12 plums, discard pits and cut in half
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons tapioca
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose baking mix (like Bisquick® or pancake mix)
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 2/3 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Add plums, 1 cup sugar, water, tapioca and cinnamon to a 2 quart baking dish. Stir together. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Add baking mix, 3 tablespoons sugar, milk, and melted butter or margarine into a medium bowl. Mix together to form a dough. Using a spoon, portion out small amounts of dough and place on top of baked plum mixture. Return to oven, bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, or until crust begins to brown. Allow temperature to cool before serving.
A White House First
In 1901, mere decades after the end of the Civil War, racial tension was at a high. Recognizing this unrest, President Roosevelt made an appointment with Booker T. Washington. At the last minute, he decided this meeting should be over dinner. At the time, to “dine” with another person was indicative of being socially equal to them, and for Roosevelt to invite the first African-American to join a sitting President for a meal in the White House was a big deal. A century later, historians look back at this meal as a key moment in bringing the two races together. The White House menu from the time included: mock turtle soup, boiled veal, fried eggplant and mashed squash, and apple snow crisp cookies.XIngredients
- 1/2 pound oxtail trimmed of excess fat
- 6 ounces chicken meat with bones
- 6 ounces boneless pork roast
- 5 ounces peeled potatoes – diced or cubed
- 1/2 of large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon and 1-3/4 teaspoons butter
- 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon half-and-half
- 1-1/2 cups and 2 tablespoons milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
Place the oxtail, chicken and pork into separate pots with sufficient water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil. Cook until tender. Pour out water from the oxtail and pork pots, but save the chicken stock. Remove meat from bones, cutting into small pieces.
Combine the meat, onion, and chicken stock into a large stockpot. Bring to a boil. Cook until onions are tender, roughly 45 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add bay leaf. If using dried thyme, add now.
Add potatoes and butter to pot. Cook for additional 30 minutes or until the potatoes have begun to soften. Reduce heat to low. Bring soup to simmer. Stir in the half and half and milk, and cook for 15 minutes. If using fresh thyme, add to soup. Let cool slightly. Serve.
Food Fight in the Middle East
The origin of many Middle Eastern foods is up for debate, as more than a few are claimed by both Arabs and Israelis alike. While the region is notorious for its conflicts, one thing it agrees on is that food is a powerful way to come together. For years, Israel and Lebanon have been in playful competition over who could create the world’s largest plate of hummus. Initially, the Israelis held the record with a single batch of hummus weighing nearly 900lbs. After exchanging the crown for several years, the current record is now held by the Lebanese at close to 23,000 lbs.XIngredients
- 2 cups garbanzo beans, canned or soaked overnight. Drain.
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon minced herb (cilantro, basil, or parsley)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pinch paprika
Combine beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt, and garlic in a food processor. Blend until desired texture, then transfer to a serving bowl.
Add olive oil, paprika, and minced herbs over top. Then, serve with pita, crudité, or chips.
- The Perfect Cup
- Marinated Peace Olives
- Amish Friendship Bread
Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
For many, coffee is the only peaceful way to greet the day. For some, it has a deeper significance. One example is the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony. A woman dressed in white roasts the beans in a flat pan to enlighten heighten the senses. Then, after the beans have turned black and the aromatic oils are released, they’re ground and added to a clay pot called a “jebena” to steep in water. After being sieved several times, the coffee is served from oldest to youngest, uniting the generations. As both family and friends come together, they discuss life, politics, and the goings-on of the world. Just don’t forget to drink three cups, as the third brewing is said to bestow a blessing, perhaps one of further peace to come.X
Brew the perfect cup.
Making the perfect cup of coffee is about more than ingredients. It’s knowing how to make the best use of them. To start, make sure your brewing equipment is clean and your coffee is fresh.
To maximize flavor, grind your coffee beans only when you intend to use them. The size of the grind is important. Before grinding, think about how you plan to brew your coffee. Are you using a vacuum chamber? A cone drip filter? Is it a French press? The method of brewing will dictate the size of the grind, as well as your coffee’s taste. If the grind is too fine, your coffee may taste bitter. If it’s too coarse, the coffee may taste flat.
The ratio of coffee to water is also important. Generally, use 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of cold water. The brew time will affect the overall flavor of the coffee, and this will vary based upon your brew method. The strength of the flavor is up to you, but a longer brew time can potentially over-extract the coffee, creating a bitter cup.
Once your brew is ready, drink immediately and enjoy.
The Olive Branch
The olive branch has long been a symbol of peace and prosperity. In the Book of Genesis, the story begins with God’s wrath at mankind and his desire to purge the Earth of the wicked with relentless rain and flood. But his wrath didn’t extend to all, so he told Noah to build an ark. Forty days after God’s deluge, Noah released a dove out into the world to provide proof the waters had receded. When the dove returned empty-handed, all were forlorn. Adrift, Noah waited seven days, then released the dove for a second time. The dove returned, carrying a single olive branch. This symbol told Noah and the other survivors that God was at peace with the world once again.XIngredients
- 1 (5 ounce) jar pitted Kalamata olives,
- 1 (8 ounce) jar pitted green olives,
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Combine ingredients in a medium-sized container, cover, and allow to marinate for several days in the fridge before serving.
Amish Friendship Bread
Originally a tradition passed down from mother to daughter on her wedding day, Amish Friendship Bread is more than just bread because it has the ability to make more. This is because it’s created using a “starter,” made from yeasts that when properly cared for can live for up to ten years. When the Amish would share their bread, they’d also share the starter yeast, so that others could make their own bread as well, and continue to pay it forward in the community. At heart, it’s more than a baked good, it’s a symbolic gesture of coming together in peace and friendship – to make bread, and not war.XIngredients
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 3 cups milk
- 3 cups sifted white sugar
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Note: This is a 10-day process
Day 1. Dissolve yeast in water in a small bowl or container, and let rest for approximately 10 minutes. Combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar into a 2 quart container. Slowly add 1 cup milk while stirring. Stir in dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature.
On days 2 through 4, stir starter with a spoon. It should appear slightly bubbly. On day 5, add 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup sugar. Stir until mixed. Days 6 through 9, stir mixture occasionally.
On day 10, add 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup flour. Stir. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread. Portion out two more cups to share with friends, providing them with the starter recipe and bread recipe. Store the remaining starter in a container in the fridge. To add to it, begin the process at day 2.Ingredients
Amish Friendship Bread
- 1 cup bread starter
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 (9x5 inch) bread pans with butter or cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix the bread starter with remaining ingredients. Mix well, then pour into bread pans.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown.
- 1 (5 ounce) jar pitted Kalamata olives,
- Thanksgiving Wine Pairings
- Morroccan Harira
- Railroad Jerky
A Different Thanksgiving
Today, we come together on Thanksgiving to give thanks for all we have, but during the Civil War, Thanksgiving wasn’t just a feast at a family table, it was a day in which churches in the North delivered sermons advocating for the abolition of slavery. Looking for a peaceful resolution to the escalating conflict in the South, the churches’ sermons brought the Northerners together under one ideology. So when we think about Thanksgiving as a holiday that bring families and cultures together over food, we should also celebrate and recognize it as a day that helped bring peace to a people once enslaved.X
The perfect wine pairing for any Thanksgiving spread.
With a ton of Thanksgiving traditions, a variety of favorite side dishes, and a collection of mixed palettes, choosing the proper selection of Thanksgiving wines is the key to creating harmony on the tongue, and at the table.
We all love a big, bold California Cabernet or French Bordeaux, but resist the temptation! This holiday belongs to the likes of Pinot Noir. When picking wines for your Thanksgiving table, think about balance. With heartier fare, look for more acidic wines to help cut through the decadence of the food. Aromatic whites like Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, and Viognier, plus lighter reds like Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Cabernet Franc make the perfect complements to traditional holiday fare.
The Month of Ramadan
The month of Ramadan is a blessed month for Islam, as Muslims reevaluate themselves and their relationships, and make peace with those who’ve done them wrong. By fasting during daylight hours, Muslims cleanse the soul and strengthen their ties with family, God, and the community. As daylight turns to dusk, they come together in celebration to break their fast. The traditional dish is called Harira, a Moroccan soup. It comes from a communal pot, and is made for all to enjoy together.XIngredients
- 1 pound lamb or beef, shredded or cubed
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 saffron
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 7 cups water
- 1/4 cup barley
- 3/4 cup lentils
- 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
- Juice of one lemon
Into a large soup pot, over a low heat, add lamb or beef, saffron, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, butter, celery, carrot, onion, and cilantro. Lightly stir for 5 minutes. Add canned tomatoes (sans liquid, but save for later) into the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Add tomato juice, 7 cups water, the barley, and lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 2 hours, covered.
Before serving bring heat to medium-high. Add chickpeas and lemon, cooking for 10 minutes. Serve.
The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad is rife with stories of survival. One involves a man, Levi Coffin, who helped escaped slaves as they arrived in Cincinnati. Because the penalties for aiding a slave were so great, Levi was careful when providing food. It was commonplace along the Underground Railroad to hide food in tree stumps for the slaves to find. Levi took it a step further. Since he would feed his pigs in the surrounding pine forests, he had good reason to be out in the woods. What wasn’t common knowledge, however, was that on certain trips, he wasn’t bringing food to his pigs, he was bringing bacon, jerky, and cornbread to the runaway slaves. As the slaves ate hungrily, Levi sat with them. He listened to their hopes and dreams of a better future in the North, knowing that he, and his food, helped set them free.XIngredients
- 1 pound beef eye of round, sliced
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix soy sauce, ground black pepper, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add to sliced beef and allow to marinate in a sealed container for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge.
Place one oven rack on the highest rack setting and another on the lowest setting. Use foil or a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch drippings.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
Insert toothpicks (wood) through the end of each slice of meat, and hang from the top rack in the oven, using the slats to hang the ends of the toothpicks.
Bake at 160 degrees with the oven door slightly propped open, allowing moisture to escape. Bake for 6 to 8 hours depending on thickness of slices, until jerky is pliable, but doesn’t break.
- German Chocolate Bombs
- Apple Compote
Berlin Chocolate Bombs
In the late 1940s, the Soviets blockaded West Berlin. The Allies responded with the Berlin Airlift and more than 2.3 million tons of supplies. An American pilot hitched a ride to Berlin on his day off, where he noticed something unusual. The children didn’t inundate him with requests for candy. Then he realized that many of these kids were born under extreme wartime rationing, and had never tasted candy or gum. With only a single stick of gum in his pocket to offer, he told two nearby kids that if they shared it peacefully, he’d drop some candy from his plane. The kids shared the gum, splitting it right down the middle. The next day, as promised, the pilot flew over and tipped his wings, dropping chocolate bars with handkerchief parachutes. More kids showed up every day, and by the end of the airlifts in 1949, more than three tons of candy had been dropped over Berlin.XIngredients
- 1 14 oz package of caramel
- 1 package German chocolate cake mix
- 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
- 1/3 cup shredded coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use butter or cooking spray to grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch pan.
Melt caramel with 1/3 cup of the sweetened condensed milk.
Combine cake mix with melted butter and the remaining 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk in a separate bowl. Stir until smooth.
Spread 1/2 of the cake mix mixture evenly in the pan. Bake 6-8 minutes.
Remove from oven. Cover with caramel, chocolate chips, and coconut & walnuts (if using). Add remaining cake mix on top. Bake 10 additional minutes.
Leo Burnett and his Famous Apples
In 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, Leo Burnett opened an advertising agency, and greeted his visitors with a bowl of red apples. The press quickly predicted failure for Mr. Burnett, with one Chicago paper declaring, “It won’t be long ‘til Leo Burnett is selling apples on the street corner instead of giving them away.” Well, Burnett’s agency survived the Great Depression, and still thrives today. Perhaps the apples had something to do with it. Through WWII, The Korean War, Vietnam, 9/11, and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the apples welcomed clients, job applicants, and employees. Now a global agency, Leo’s apples welcome people in 132 countries around the world, no matter what.XIngredients
- 8 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into one inch cubes
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 tablespoon Calvados
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch salt
Combine the water, sugar, raisins, Calvados, cinnamon, salt in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil.
Boil gently for about 5 minutes - until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly.
Add the apples and return to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender and the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature before serving. (The mixture will thicken as it cools.)
Serve as an accompaniment to breakfast items, French toast, waffles, pancakes, or as a topping for ice cream or pound cakes.
Vienna Strikes Back
Of the many interesting stories about the origin of the croissant, the most interesting involves the Turkish army, and its plans to overthrow Vienna in the 1600s. After unsuccessfully trying to starve the city for months, the Turks tunneled underneath it, planning a surprise attack. This would have been an easy coup, except for the Viennese bakers busy at work in the kitchens before dawn. Hearing the digging beneath them, the bakers had ample time to sound the alarm, preventing what could have been a violent struggle. In celebration, the pastry chefs re-appropriated the symbol of the Turkish flag, the crescent, into an edible confection for the citizens to enjoy together, both the working class and nobility alike.XIngredients
- 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 3 teaspoons white sugar
- 1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup warm milk
- 2/3 cup chilled unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
Combine water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let rest until yeast appears creamy and foamy.
Dissolve 2 teaspoons sugar and salt in warm milk. In a medium bowl, combine milk mixture with yeast, flour, and oil. Mix well and knead. The dough should be smooth. Cover with plastic. Let dough rise until it triples in size. Gently collapse dough, then let dough mixture rise again until it’s double in size. Collapse dough again and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Knead butter until malleable, but not soft and oily. Pat dough into a 14 x 8 inch rectangle. Rub butter over top two thirds, leaving 1/4 inch space on all sides. Gently fold the unbuttered dough over the middle third, and the remaining buttered dough on top of that. Turn clockwise a quarter turn, so that folds are to the left and right. Roll out into a 14 x 6 inch rectangle. Using the same folding method, fold again. Sprinkle with flour lightly, and place folded dough into a plastic bag. Refrigerate 2 hours. Unwrap, sprinkle with flour, and gently collapse the dough. Again, roll the dough into a 14 x 6 inch rectangle. Using same method, fold again. Turn clockwise a quarter turn, then roll dough into 14 X 6, and fold. Wrap, and refrigerate 2 hours.
Roll dough into a 20 x 5 inch rectangle. Cut in half crosswise, and place one half back in the fridge. Roll the remaining half into a 15 x 5 inch rectangle, then cut into three 5 x 5 inch squares. Diagonally cut each square in half, then roll each triangle to lengthen the point to roughly 7 inches. Grab the remaining 2 points, and stretch them out slightly as you roll the triangle. Place on a baking sheet, then curving the dough slightly. Let the rolled out croissants rise until light and puffy. Create an egg wash by beating the egg and 1 tablespoon of water together in a small bowl. Then lightly brush the dough with egg and water mixture. Repeat process with remaining chilled dough.
Bake at 475 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes.