Breaking the Bread Review: Peace Meals

“Break the Bread” opens with a quote from Anthony Bourdain, which noted that “food may not be the answer to world peace, but it is a s...


“Break the Bread” opens with a quote from Anthony Bourdain, which noted that “food may not be the answer to world peace, but it is a start”. The premise underlying this documentary, directed by Beth Elise Hawk, is that all cultures can unite in front of the spectacle of appetizing food on camera.

The film follows the preparations for the 2017 A-Sham festival in Haifa, Israel, an event that celebrates the cuisine of a region where geopolitical borders are more defined than culinary. At the start of the film, festival founder Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel identifies as Muslim, Arab, Israeli, Palestinian, female, scientist and cook (she won the Israeli version of ” MasterChef” a few years ago). She says in the film that borders “mean nothing to hummus”.

Candidates live in Israel but come from diverse backgrounds. At the festival, they are usually paired with someone whose background differs from their own to create an assigned dish. For example, Ali Khattib, from an Alawite village in the Golan Heights, and Shlomi Meir, who runs an Eastern European restaurant in Haifa, work together to prepare a traditionally Syrian soup made from bulgur dipped in yogurt. .

Many of the observations in “Breaking Bread” — the repeated notions that food is a common language or that politics has no place in the kitchen — seem banal and perhaps overly optimistic. Ideally, the film would be accompanied by a tasting menu.

Break the bread
Unclassified. Duration: 1h25. In theaters.

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