Palestinian Chef Hanya Salem recently showed some Akron residents how to make hummus, along with sharing other delectable dishes as part of the International Institute of Akron’s Culturally Conscious Cuisine series.
Salem led the first installment of this monthly meal for culturally curious Akronites, and she described her background in Palestinian culture and talked about her transition to America.
Following a cooking demonstration, and a competition for the best hummus, participants shared a meal of previously prepared dishes by Salem, including: makloobah, Arabic salad and dessert.
Salem, who moved to the U.S. 21 years ago from Palestine to marry her husband, also taught participants some Palestinian culture, like the fact that she hand makes dresses for herself and her daughters.
She says, “We people of the Middle East like food in general. I like to cook Italian, Indian, Mexican, American, and Arabic food of course. My kids love pizza night and wings, Thanksgiving dinners and pastas as well. Our Arabic food is time-consuming, it takes longer time to cook. Some of the main dishes that we have are: mosakhan, makloobah, mansaf, stuffed grape leaves, and shoshbarak.”
Salem, who has an associate’s degree from Stark State, started working as a medical/legal interpreter two years ago when she saw an increasing need as more refugees/students moved to Akron. “I love helping people of all ages and love seeing the happiness,” says Salem, who now has five children with her husband.
The International Institute of Akron is piloting this program as a way to bring Akronites together to prepare and eat an ethnic meal, while learning more about the immigrant community in Akron and the International Institute of Akron.
For more info, visit www.iiakron.org.