A recently resettled Syrian baker can’t seem to sell his beloved baklava until he meets a charming, more established Indian ladoo maker.
A passionate Syrian baker spends his first Eid in the US attempting to sell the sweet he has spent his lifetime perfecting: walnut baklava. As he roams the streets of Brooklyn, he bumps into a savvy Indian ladoo maker, who appears to have figured out how to appeal to one of New York's most coveted customers: Health-conscious Brooklynites. Sweet Refuge was initially inspired by a recently resettled 76-year-old Syrian baker I worked with in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 2017, who spoke to his sweets like they were old friends. It was also sparked by my experiences growing up South Asian in the Middle East, two cultures that often live side by side, but not always together. Yet, when I moved to the US for college, I noticed how, where both Arabs and South Asians were often Othered, suddenly there was also space for us to relate. I’m particularly interested in how this translates to food and our shared longing and desire to preserve (and reimagine) the desserts we left behind. - Maryam Mir