IDI Toronto organized one of its Noah’s Pudding events at the headquarters of Toronto Fire Services (TFS) and Toronto Emergency Services (EMS) on Feb 11, 2011. EMS chief Bruce Farr and deputy chief of TFS Debbie Higgins hosted the event. The staff of headquarters came down to the hall at lunch time to see the presentations about Noah’s Pudding, and enjoy the unique taste of the pudding. Toronto EMS and Fire Services were proud hosts of “Noah’s Pudding” in partnership with Canadian Intercultural Dialogue Centre, Anatolian Heritage Federation, and the Turkish community. Together they shared the centuries old recipe in the spirit of open and inter-cultural dialogue, symbolic of different cultures living together peacefully and preserving original identities. A presentation and poem explaining the historical significance of this offering took place followed by the serving of Noah’s Pudding dessert that was enjoyed by everyone who attended.

Religions unite over serving of ancient dish- The proof is in Noah’s Pudding

By Lisa Queen- article on February 14, 2011

In the Middle East, Muslims and Christians participate in an ancient custom of sharing a special dish known as Noah’s Pudding.

On Friday, Feb. 11, the same gesture of goodwill and harmony was played out in North York at the headquarters of Toronto’s Emergency Medical Services on Dufferin Street, south of Finch Avenue.

The custom dates back to Noah’s Ark.

God had ordered Noah to build an ark to save himself, his family and animals from a worldwide flood that would destroy people who would not follow His teachings.

“The beginning of Noah’s Pudding itself is related to Prophet Noah. According to tradition, for 950 years, Noah was trying to deliver God’s message to his people,” said Azim Shamshiev, assistant director of the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, founded by Canada’s Turkish community to promote cross-cultural awareness.

“As all non-believers were drowning with all their vices, a long and hard journey was awaiting Noah and the believers. As days passed, there was less and less food on the ship. No (single) food was enough to make a good meal. Noah gathered all available food and, mixing them, obtained a delicious meal. Today, we call the meal Noah prepared as Noah’s Pudding.”

Over time, it became customary for Muslims and Christians in the Middle East to share Noah’s Pudding. People send cups of the dish to neighbours regardless of religion or beliefs.

“What is specific about Noah’s Pudding is that it consists of more than 40 ingredients different in nature and taste. Despite this, it has a unique taste preserving the flavour of each and every ingredient,” Shamshiev said.

“Therefore, Noah’s Pudding is a symbol of diversity and of how diversity can be our richness and strength. This is a perfect representation of how people from different backgrounds, cultures and faiths can co-exist together peacefully, forming a harmony and unity and at the same time preserve their own unique identities.”

Resembling a sweet oatmeal, Noah’s Pudding is full of healthy ingredients such as wheat, white beans, chickpeas, raisins, almonds, peanuts, dried apricots, sugar, walnuts and cinnamon.

Coincidentally but significantly, the event in North York came the same day that Egyptian former leader Hosni Mubarak stepped down following a mostly peaceful revolution, which may signal a wider era of change throughout the Middle East.

The presentation at EMS headquarters also included the reading of a poem called We Dream a Ship, which encourages “People of the globe (to) live in harmony with one another. As a cup of Noah’s Pudding, each nation embraces the other.”

There was also a display of ebru, a Turkish water marbling painting technique. Artists draw designs with dye on top of water and then carefully place paper on top to absorb the creation.

Meanwhile, EMS chief Bruce Farr and Toronto Fire Services deputy chief Debbie Higgins praised the benefits of living in Toronto, which embraces multiculturalism and makes the city the envy of the world.