Falafel: A recipe for connection
The Food Programme · 29 minutes ·

Falafel: A recipe for connection

Falafels are a widely celebrated and much loved food that have become an everyday part of street food culture in many cities across Europe, the United States and the Middle East. Falafel is known for being cheap, easily available, and accessible - no matter what a person's class, background, religious belief or dietary requirements.

There have long been debates about whether falafel belongs or is authentic to any one nation or culture. Spoiler alert: this programme does not try to answer that question! What Leyla sets out to discover is just how different falafel can be depending on the cultural background of the person cooking it. For example, culturally-definitive recipes for the falafel itself, and specific salads, sauces and breads.

In this programme, we explore how falafel is tied up in a political story of food propaganda, and how it’s been used to create division between different nationalities. But also how the food has followed people to different countries at times of conflict, and still provides a constant reminder of good times and home.

We meet market stall traders in Shepherd's Bush who show the diverse make up of different falafel recipes. We meet the Syrian chef who lost a chain of successful restaurants selling falafel during the conflict in Syria. And a London chef who doesn’t understand why his patrons keep ordering it.

Presented by Leyla Kazim
Produced by Robbie Wojciechowski

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