Prizren, Kosovo


Autostrada Biennale

Preparation of Flija, Cooking Sections with Fejsal Demiraj, Kosovo, 2021.

Flija (also known as fli or flia)—a savoury, layered dish cooked slowly under a hot iron lid (saç) covered with charcoal—is a traditional food prepared in Kosovo and the surrounding mountainous areas of northern Albania. It is also synonymous with Albanian pastoral life. Developed with chef Fejsal Demiraj and his research project, Albanian Gastronomy Expedition, the new dish was used as a medium to research different recipes according to the particularities of the soil in Kosovo, the youngest country in Europe; and to develop new soil relationships for the future.

Informed by anthropologist Arsim Canolli and conversations with local farmers, the creation of the new flija recipe tackles soil exhaustion after monocropping, seeking to reduce the amount of agro-chemicals used in harvesting 'modern' grains. It proposes a flour mix (using only local varieties of grains, beans, and pulses) that enhances polycultural crop rotation over a multiyear period to naturally fix nitrogen to the soil. The recipe, cooked for and served to the public, becomes a call for a cultural and agricultural shift in the way humans relate to the ground.