Savoring Syria is an interactive story-telling initiative dedicated to connecting people to Syria and Syrians through food. Here, you’ll find complex human experiences entwined in a rich culinary, cultural and political history, and the recipes from Syria that sustain them.
Dalia Mortada is an American freelance journalist born to Syrian parents, and has remained connected to her Syrian heritage through language and food. She moved from Virginia to Istanbul in 2011 in hopes of moving onto Damascus a few months later to tell human stories from Syria. But as Syria's political turmoil devolved into the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II, she shifted her focus to reporting on the real-time creation of the Syrian diaspora. In 2015 combined her adoration of food, the memories it triggers and its power to bring people closer together with her trade as a journalist, and Savoring Syria was born.
Savoring Syria offers stories, recipes and dining events to connect more deeply with Syrians through the lens of food. Stories are published on this site directly, as well as in print, online and broadcast media outlets. Recipes are inspired by the people Dalia meets in her reporting, as well as her mom and grandmother whose extraordinary Syrian cooking shaped her childhood. Dining events are a way for Syrians resettled far from home to meet their new neighbors and for local communities to become connected to newcomers.
By using food as a way of understanding the deep impact of war and displacement, the goal of Savoring Syria is to tell humanizing, nuanced stories that center around the universal experiences around food. Few of us can understand the deep wounds of war, but we can all understand the excitement of a favorite dish and the memories it can conjure. The project pushes beyond the 'victim' narrative that often defines Syrians in the media, and celebrates a vibrant Syrian culture that is often eclipsed by Syria's current circumstances. That's why it invites readers to try recipes at home, and attend or organize a dining event. In the end, Savoring Syria wants people to break barriers by breaking bread.