Memoir describes food memories and battle scenes

Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:07am EDT
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By Edith Honan

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - As a journalist writing about the war in Iraq and sectarian fighting in Lebanon since 2003, Annia Ciezadlo preserved her sanity preparing meals -- much like the women in the places she covered.

Her book, "Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love and War" is a food memoir with battle scenes. It also chronicles her cross-cultural marriage to a Lebanese-born journalist, whom she followed from New York to the Middle East after the September 11 attacks in the United States.

Ciezadlo spoke to Reuters about her childhood, food and the inspiration for the book.

Q: The stereotype is that war is for men and women own the kitchen. How did this book come to be?

A: "There is an old, old feminist slogan that the personal is political, and really that was a huge inspiration for the book -- to say, 'Hey, wait a minute, what we eat is extremely political and all of these things that we think of as being quintessentially political are actually tied to issues like what we eat.' Wars have to do with commodities, with food, with everyday life and everyday issues. I wanted to take down this gender barrier and write a book that was almost half-way between the very feminized genre of culinary memoir and the very masculinized genre of war memoir."

Q: What is your own background?

A: "I'm a very typical kind of Chicago mixture of Greek, Polish and Scotch Irish. The last name is from the Polish side of the family,"

Q: People like to say that, unlike Lebanon, Iraq has no real cuisine. But you take issue with that.   Continued...