• Manuel Kanah

When we can't visit our most-loved restaurants, how do we feed happiness at home?

Manuel is our tech lead here at Yumpingo - but he is also one of Italy's popular food bloggers, with a particular focus on Kosher and Jewish recipes.

Check out labna.it

We asked Manuel how he manages to keep #feedinghappiness from home, while Milan continues their lockdown.

​​Food: Four letters you can't live without...

This is an odd moment in history, every type of food has been easy to find until recently, and nobody asked themselves how the food we find on the plate got there and how it can be so good. When all the security that our world has so far provided us falters, the food - a thrice daily need - is the first of the concerns.

Now that COVID-19 has invaded the world we knew and fear is one of the dishes we all now consume on a daily basis, food is our anchor because it not only fills our stomach, but satisfies our cravings, gives us emotions and reminds us where we come from and who we are.

Until recently, restaurants were our primary way of creating communities, meeting friends and taking a cultural journey with the simple action of sitting at a restaurant table. We love to talk about what we have eaten, what we loved, what we would change, what fed our happiness. Today food is the comfort of a flavour, the pleasure of cooking for our loved ones to make them feel at home, and a way to escape the idleness of the sofa.

More and more people are rediscovering themselves in the kitchen and finding their roots lost in time. Every day I receive messages from friends asking me how to cook a particular dish, how to make homemade pasta, how to make bread or make it better.

Bread is the keeper of one of the oldest preparations, in fact, since the Egyptians it has been said that the bread fermentation (sourdough) was in place to obtain a soft bread. Bread is probably the main food of poor areas of the world. Bread is the rescue food during wars. Bread is blessed for the Jewish Shabbat (Saturday). Bread is the symbol of the sacrifice of Jesus in the Christianity.

Easter and Pesach (Passover) are approaching and everyone is worried about not respecting the family and faith traditions that have united families until this year.

Jewish tradition imposes many rules on food during the Passover period. You cannot eat leavened or fermented foods in memory of the haste of leaving Egypt. Since we could not spend the celebrations with the family, it will be important to eat according to the traditions to feel the party and understand its true meaning.

I've always cooked a lot, and nothing like cooking is giving life to a day waiting for the daily bad news bulletins.

Cooking is a cuddle that you share with your family and with the people you love, food tells them that they are important and that you share the love you have with them. The house is filled with smells, the kitchen is filled with color and the house comes to life. The table becomes a social moment even if we have been together all day.

To make being together at the table a bit sweeter, my wife and I have decided to be more forgiving and at the end of each meal we share with our children either a square of chocolate or a slice of cake or a bit of ice cream, each one with its own spoon, we tap into the ice cream jar together passing it around from hand to hand in a sweet social sharing.

When you eat you don’t just feed your body, but you aim to satisfy your brain needs, what why we often talk about comfort food. Comfort food actually feeds happiness into you. As all the restaurants are lock down we are pushing harder on dishes quality to replicate that restaurant experience. We are much more creative and we try to have (depending on ingredients availability) something special at least every other day. It can be a mexican dinner, hamburgers (homemade burger buns with marinated meat and caramelized onion and fried sweet peppers), pad thai, pizza, etc etc. We do not want to survive this quarantine, we want to enjoy the chance to treat ourselves and stay together as a family around a table.

As a family we cook together and we always try to involve our kids during the preparation. They perfectly know how to make hummus, they know how to knead a dough and they can recognize the different spices we have in the kitchen, they smell them and tell the name and we always ask what spice they like the most. The 'customer feedback' from them is important!

Cooking is also a good activity because it keeps you busy and gives you the chance to walk a bit more during the day.

Dear reader, during the quarantine do not lose the pleasure to treat yourself and feed yourself with all the possible happiness you can squeeze out from the food.

Manuel

For more of Manuel's recipes, visit www.labna.it/en

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