“Farm Week” is a collection of daily posts recapping a summer of Farm Dinners…
In 2009, the word locavore (one who eats foods grown locally) appeared in the Merrimiam-Webster dictionary for the first time (along with a slew of other new words like frenemy). While this addition is a stride for local foods enthusiasts, this addition also demonstrates how much vocabulary surrounds food.
Between pronunciations and definitions, the culinary lexicon can be divisive. If you’re like me, your parents still haven’t made the disconnect from the “g” in vegetable to the “g” in vegan. However, a passion for food often supersedes the need for the words or even the language to describe it.
Mike Solomonov, owner and chef of Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia, was born in G’nei Yehuda, Israel and raised in Pittsburgh. At the age of 19, he returned to Israel with negligible Hebrew skills and took the only job he could get- working at a bakery. Amidst the traditional breads and pastries, he found his passion, and his culinary career was born. Solomonov channeled the flavors for his restaurant as well as for his guest spot as a chef for Cure’s Farm Dinner series.
chanterelles, pine nuts, za’atar
Bulgarian feta, black olives
corn, blueberries and tomato
salt roasted with tahini, dill and mint
spicy tomato and coriander
farro, tahini and fresh harissa
[so good it was gone before I could even snap a proper picture!]
Hangar steak shishlik
[not shown probably because I was competing with very eager table mates and overwhelmed with course after delicious course]
Fried haloumi with peaches and corn
Lamb anad beef kabobs with matbucha
Hangar steak shishlik
White Chocolate Cake
orchid powder, peaches, berries and labaneh
Orchid powder! Whether or not it was the presence of a cherished flower in the ingredient list, this dessert quickly secured itself on my mental list of favorites. When I do find myself at Zahav in the future, I may skip straight to the dessert course for the sake or prioritization.
Though the list of vocabulary surrounding food grows by the year, Mike Solomonov’s dinner on the farm provided an important lesson in linguistics. When it comes to eating, even if you don’t know what za’atar is, all you really need to parse is the “mmmmm” it elicits when eaten in a hummus.