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Mud, rocks on menu in Beirut for Sharjah cultural event

One of the major contemporary art experiences in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates' Sharjah festival, held events in Beirut, Istanbul, Ramallah and Dakar.

The large tasting table, placed at the center of the Station Beirut cultural space, contained an eclectic assortment of rocks marinated in sauces, seawater with smoked salt, and filtered and boiled mud. The more-edible items among the 87 samplers featured were berries and fruit, but observers were also told they could taste or lick the rocks. The culinary "performance" was called "Tasting the Future," and the conversation accompanying the meal was about the history of food and people's connection to it.

Ian Kerr is a member of Spurse, the creative design consultancy responsible for the performance. During the tasting, he talked about how people relate to food — addressing an audience reluctant to taste stones. Food is a major medium of dialogue, Kerr told Al-Monitor, as people know about their local cuisine and are eager to share it.

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