TV Chef Antoine Swaps Beef From The Menu For Affordable Vegetables

@lancasteredenbay | James Carrier/MyRecipes

For decades, renowned television Chef Antoine El-Hajj has long helped and inspired cooks across the country.

But lately, he has noticed that many can no longer afford the main ingredients that go into many daily dishes, such as beef, reported the New York Times.

“There used to be a middle class in Lebanon, but now the rich are rich, the middle class has become poor and the poor have become destitute,” he said.

Sadly, the collapse of the economy is such that meat, a main component of a major part of Lebanese cuisine, has become a luxury.

A 60-year-old Lebanese butcher told The Telegraph that “people, who used to buy in kilograms, cannot afford meat anymore, so when they come in they buy in the grams.”

The same British newspaper recently reported that people in Lebanon will die within months from hunger if the situation continues to deteriorate.

Lebanon is in the midst of a terrible economic crisis, which has started to impoverish the middle class and widen the gap between the rich elite, including those who have enriched themselves by draining the economy, and the remaining of the population in Lebanon.

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People are trading personal items online, some quite valuable, for basic goods such as diapers and cooking oil. And bread has become less affordable.

Shocking photographs of empty fridges in Lebanon, show just a small percent of the true poverty that is washing over the citizens.

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Grimly, even a string of suicides related to the financial crisis reflects the despair of a drowning nation whose only left hope is that the Lebanese diaspora could save the country.

TV Chef Antoine isn’t certainly oblivious to that and to the hit most households in Lebanon are enduring. As families are trying to adapt, he also is doing his part in guiding them through their meals’ preparation.

As the NY Times reported, he has removed beef meat from his menus. Instead, he now “fills his segments with tips on how to keep dishes tasty with less oil, fewer eggs, and cheaper vegetables.”

“Beef got expensive so we moved to chicken, and now people are telling me that chicken is expensive, too,” he said.

Very true. With the Lebanese lira so low against the dollar, meat isn’t the only ingredient that’s off the Lebanese families’ menus.

It remains that Lebanese cuisine counts numerous healthy dishes that are vegetarians or have their meatless versions and, as long as our land and nature keep providing us with their blessings, we will make it through.