To my Beirut

Á mon Beyrouth…

Fake food, real food


As Lebanese-British Chef Anissa Helou sat at the front of the class talking to us about the many dishes she tasted around the world, her love of cooking and her kitchen, I sat listening, while I re-decorated my virtual restaurant on Restaurant City and Cafe World, two of my favorite games on Facebook. I of course, kept a tab open that contained miss Helou’s website, ready to serve as a backup every time my professor passed by.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I wasn’t paying attention, neither does it mean that I wasn’t impressed with Miss Helou’s charming and witty jokes, nor her cool British attitude about everything around her. But, I was simply taken by the irony of imagining Miss Helou spending hours to fix a dish that I was cooking in a matter of seconds. Is this what our world has come to? Cooking fake dishes to serve fake people to gain fake money to buy fake decorations in a fake restaurant? How ironic is that I don’t have enough real money to be able to re-fill my car with gas this week. But in my restaurant where I own two fountains, for arcade games, countless tables and chairs, and no space to fit any more decorations, I also have an 11,000 dollar profit over the last two weeks! And let us not forget the gourmet dishes which only took seconds to cook, seconds to serve, seconds to eat, and seconds to clean…

Psssshhhhh! Back to reality. Miss Helou doesn’t like curry, is not a fan of Egyptian food, although her favorite dishes vary between Japan and Pakistan, and as I also assume, Lebanese, I write in my notes. She discusses how she started off as an adult not knowing anything about cooking, which I think is pretty cool. I think it’s interesting to know that it is quite expensive to buy fruits and veggies in Britain, in other words, healthy food. I think we take them far too granted here in Lebanon. Her most interesting remark though, was how, in the post 9/11 period, she had to avoid referring to any dish as “arab” while writing her cook book. Even food has become a victim of politics.

Interesting visit, though.

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4 comments on “Fake food, real food

  1. @aymanitani
    March 1, 2010

    interesting analogy between the real cooking and actual process of serving food versus the virtual worlds of playfish and cafe world. can you elaborate a bit more about your online experience with these social games ? are there new recipes or types of foods that you are learning that you could not have learned otherwise ? do you think a family member or friend who cooks actually may enjoy playfish / cafe world or would it be the actual opposite ?

  2. liloc88
    March 3, 2010

    I love cafe world i play it too. I really enjoyed Miss Helou’s visit as much as you did 🙂

  3. ivettesaber
    March 3, 2010

    ….interesting!! enjoyed reading it..so true..do contradictory..!!

  4. sarahilal
    March 3, 2010

    Nice title…..i liked how u had this relation between real cooking and fake food….

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This entry was posted on March 1, 2010 by in Class Guests and tagged , , , , , .

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