Healthy Loves It is our weekly column where we tell you about the things we cannot live without. See our previous recommendations Here!
Three things got me through this long and terrible quarantine: my cats, which my friends made it dance with me on zoomand get things in the mail. Even though my doorbell makes an awfully loud buzz that makes my skin crawl every time it’s pressed, it comes downstairs to find a mysterious package on my stairs that is actually for me and not my neighbor and my day always improved by at least 50 percent. (And do this 75 percent if there is something edible in the package.)
Imagine my delight when on a cold and drizzly false spring day a heavy box marked “Eat Offbeat” arrived. I tore it open like a much less patient version of Tom Hanks in Castaway and found a treasure chest full of snacks from around the world: addicting Iraqi-style Medjool dates filled with tahini and mashed walnuts; a Venezuelan hot cocoa mixture, flavored with cinnamon and star anise; A hearty Mediterranean Za’atar mixture to mix with warm olive oil and to spoon on toasted flatbread. Even though I had nowhere to go, the box felt like a multi-year journey that came straight to me.
A company built to empower resettled refugee cooks to Eat outside the box has been responsible for the catering and delivery of meals in New York since 2013. Co-founder of sister and brother Manal and Wissam Kahi founded the company when a granny-level craving for hummus (read: hummus as good as your Syrian grandma got it) led them to the NYC refugee communities as a potential source of the flavors they were looking for. In the years since then, the Kahis and their chef have Juan Suarez de Lezo have trained and hired more than 16 chefs from 11 different countries to contribute to Eat Offbeat’s Delivery menu (Carne Mechada! Chicken Fesenjan! Spinach Momos!). your Snack bundle The product was launched in March and is the first product to be shipped nationwide. It contains some of the chefs greatest hits that are long-lasting.
cook Mariama Sow from Senegal, known for their killer jollof, shows off her snacking skills with bags of candied peanuts coated with cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. cook Lebjulet Braganti from Venezuela, a trained engineer and math teacher with a passion for dessert, makes the hot cocoa mix and their famous berry jam, a sweet and sour mix of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. And cook Diaa Alhanoun from Syria, who runs a restaurant called Sakib in Williamsburg, shares its crispy barazek biscuits, filled with pistachio chips, crusted with toasted sesame seeds and perfect for dipping into coffee. Some of the boxes are also equipped with the brand new Eat Offbeat Cookbook, The Kitchen Without Borders Cookbook, a collection of recipes from around the world.
Even if the quarantine looks like it’s going to end … somehow … almost … maybe (???) soon, Eat Offbeat boxes have become my new gift for friends and family members far away, especially for those that are far away that are difficult to buy (such as mothers – your own or the friend who supposedly had a baby 11 months ago that you have never seen). Because whether or not you are trapped in your house receiving a box of snacks is never a cause for celebration.