Iranian hot tea, falafel featured at food fair in South Congaree – Pine Ridge

Friends of the Library.

The South Congaree Pine Ridge Library hosted its first Middle Eastern food fair Tuesday evening and offered an opportunity to expand the palette with a variety of new dishes.

The event was free and those who came were treated to a sit-down meal of small-portion courses.

The library’s Youth Services Programmer Amanda Danielson cooked the food, frying the main dish in front of the crowd.

Appetizers of baba ganoush, hummus, and tabouli on flat bread, were given to start.

Then Danielson fried falafel for the main dish, that was served with tzatziki sauce, pickled cabbage and pita bread. The meal was accompanied by an Iranian hot tea. Falafel is a deep-fried ball, doughnut or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both, according to Wikipedia.

According to Danielson, the library hosts different adult programs monthly for entertainment and educational purposes. The staff thought the Middle Eastern food night would be a unique experience.

We thought it would be interesting to show this community a different culture,” she said. Some of the recipes Danielson was familiar with, but some she was not. The falafel was something she had to look up.

I didn’t know what spices went in it, so I looked at several recipes for it,” Danielson said. “I saw a lot of them had mint in it, so I tried that in mine.”

The library’s programs like the food fair are sponsored by the Friends of the Library organization. It’s a non-profit that hosts fundraisers to provide the funds for special events.  Six members of the organization attended the program on Tuesday the were joined by some visitors.

Member Diana Baker was excited to see some new faces attending the program, including international fraternity students from USC.

It was just wonderful to have these kids here, because they get to learn about us, and they’ll remember that this library had a fun program they went to,” said Baker.

The South Congaree Pine Ridge Library is just one of ten Lexington County libraries. Organization members noted that all of the libraries host various events every month, and they are sponsored by different Friends of the Library groups for each location.