Al Rosanna Dinner
September 23 @ 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Al Rosanna Dinner: A Levantine culinary odyssey
What does Ibsen’s “Terje Vigen” poem have to do with Al Rosanna and the great famine of Lebanon (1915-1918)? How does food history contribute to our grand national narratives? Can recipes, food stories, and memories offer an alternative view to our national imagination? Can we think of the recipes we use and the food we eat as a way to consider how our pasts and futures are connected beyond borders and nation states?
These questions and the stories around them are the backdrop of our dinner.
Join us at Al Rosanna Dinner for a unique culinary journey that transcends time and space. Step into a world of exquisite flavors as we sail in memory from Røst in north Norway all the way to Beirut to experience the rich heritage of the Levant.
Al Rosanna Dinner will serve you history, flavors, aromas and melodies from Norway, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Iraq. Palestinian chef Thurayya Alkury and Norwegian author and cook Andreas Delsett present their own interpretation of the myths of Al Rosanna and Terje Vigen.
Your ticket includes:
- Six-course dinner
- Food weaved with storytelling and music
- Meeting and mingling with Masahat festival guests*
- Entrance to solo concert by Haya Zaatry + club night (DJ Set) by Leila Moon ++ at Blå following the dinner
- Print-out of a medieval recipe, retrieved from one of the earliest cook books in history
- Baghdad: Cheese Boreg – savory pastry with side of bitter orange jam
- Beirut: Yalanji – wrapped grape leaves with fresh herbs
- Røst: Fish and grain snack
- Aleppo: Fattet Makdous – layered eggplant with crisp bread, minced lamb meat, yogourt and pomegranate sauce
- Safad: Walnut Kullaj – sweet pastry served with dried apricot pure
- Back in the times: surprise medieval dish
- Bring your own drink!
The name of the dinner is inspired by Al Rosana, a popular Levantine folk song which has been recorded over and over by some of the greatest Arab artists of the 20th century, each giving it a unique flavor. The origins of the story of the song are conflicting and intertwined.
We were mostly inspired by Nur Turkmani’s article about Al Rosana “A famine, a ship and a folk song that spanned borders“ where she writes how oral narratives allow us to reclaim and rewrite histories once silenced by colonialism, patriarchy and other authoritarian powers.
Some say Al Rosana (or Rozana) is a large ship that carried food from Italy to Lebanon during Lebanon’s great famine 1916-1918. Others say it carried smuggled wheat from Aleppo merchants to Beirut. Another version of the story revolves around a tragic love story that started in Safad, Palestine or Mosul in Iraq and ended up in a song in Aleppo.
Similar to how Turkmani’s versions of Al Rosana offer new perspectives to view our interconnected pasts and futures, so do some new critical readings of Norwegian myths, such as the one of The Norwegian anthropologist Runar Døving who takes a new critical historical reading of the the grand tale of “Terje Vigen”. In this dinner, we also go back further in time to think about the story of the Italian sailing captain, Pietro Querini, who was shipwrecked in Røst in North Norway, and how, as he sailed back to Venice, he took back with him the inspiration to introduce Stockfish into Italian cooking.
Turkmani goes on to cite Rabih Alameddine in his novel “The Hakawati,”—or “the storyteller” as he writes: “What happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens. Events matter little, only stories of events affect us.”
Al Rosana, and the many versions of its origin, are the inspiration for our six-course dinner.
Come on board, and as we indulge in the tapestry of Levantine culinary treasures, let’s re-create and re-tell the stories of our pasts and futures.