Lebanese Food and Culinary Traditions

Lebanese Food and Culinary Traditions
Spring time always inspires me...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Syrian Refugees Don't Matter!

Syrian Refugees don't Matter! That is what I am getting lately from peers, colleagues, friends ...

A portrait of Syrian child in the Bekaa
I have started to show the book Soup for Syria and advertise the launching of the book . The whole world is talking about the refugee crisis these days. It leaves me perplexed! This situation is not new, yet it took the photo of one dead boy on a beach to manipulate the media to make it a headline story ... His death will not go in vain, I know it!

I am often criticized by people in Lebanon for helping Syrian refugees. They say to me “Why don’t you help Lebanese children instead?” I totally understand this. Refugees are a burden on a society; they bring hardship, chaos, and often drain a county’s resources. They are are unwanted in host countries. But are these reasons not to help people who have been displaced, lost everything, and have no place to go and no one to help them? In my view “no” because this could happen to us one day as a result of a natural disaster or an unnatural political disaster. Tragedy has no nationality or borders. Today the Syrians are facing a humanitarian crisis of unthinkable proportions and magnitude. I will always do what I can to help people in need, regardless of whether they happen to be Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, Nepalese, Filipino, or Sudanese.

What makes a person more worthy for aid is what I am asking myself... Is it his nationality, his sex, creed, ... Humanity is filled with hatred. We fight wars, kill innocent people in the name of God. Hypocrisy at its best. We have become totally blind!
Remember the song of John Lennon? ... The song you listen to when chilling with your friends over a glass of wine....

I will publish it to refresh your memory. I think Mr. Lennon had the right idea. The moment we brand a person is the moment we start filling our hearts with hatred - we become Godless. We become raw. I am not a philosopher but I can feel what matters (the essential: food, love, shelter, sense of belonging) which sometimes even intellectuals, powerful people, men of nations cannot perceive or acknowledge. They are caught up in their own egocentric bubble - one idea - one path, closed to empathy.
Exerts of the song Imagine...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Lennon, John

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


And finally thank God for the simple things in life!


fade to black

And why do I have a feeling that in Lebanon we are heading towards this bleak black pit too.... Today we are experiencing a suffocating sand storm, isn't that how we all feel today with the garbage crisis, political crisis, economic crisis, refugee crisis, civic crisis .... Nature today is depicting how Lebanese are feeling today living in Lebanon. Will we have a wave of Lebanese refugees soon in Europe and the United States? ... I wouldn't be surprised at all...

Helwa Ya Baladi - Dalida (Cover by Lina Sleibi) حلوة يا بلدي - لينا صليبي

This songs speaks to me... What happened to Lebanon? I don't recognize it anymore. It breaks my heart.

Albert ... Bocusse... Lyon

Bon voyage my boy ... Till we meet again around a table and share memories and stories of food. Fly like an eagle and learn from the best . Make the world your oyster, yet always stay true to your roots. — with Albert Massaad at Taylor's Port Cellars.

Website Soup for Syria

Soup for Syria The website is up and running. It explains it all. Take a few minutes to read it.

Tina and I eating soup for Fitr / filming for Al Hura
photo credit Mustafa Assi

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"soup for syria" cookbook to help syrian refugees in lebanon ".حساء من ...

 This is a report that was made by Alhura TV to introduce our book project Soup for Syria. I invite you to watch it. Cristina and I cooked soup for an Iftar during Ramandan at Aya's family tent.

Meatless Monday

I will be making open faced sandwiches with my homemade bread, spread with goat cheese and toppings that will leave you perplexed... salty / sweet depending on your mood. Come, it's great fun!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I'm Cooking Indian ...

So I'm cooking Indian next week at Motto. 


Because I love Indian food / people / spices / colors... and I feel inspired. And guess, what by coincidence a friend of mine who works as a chef in India (cooks Lebanese) will help.Also, a friend from the USA, cookbook writer Beth Howard who is going on a world tour will be here to share this event.

At the Taj Mahal on my visit
 Lots happening in Beirut these days! All good!

Here is the announcement...

Mótto is moving! Summer garden pop-up.

Mótto is moving from Monday to a summer garden pop-up at Makan, a new cultural space. Makan is 500m away (map below), and has a large, quiet garden where we'll be serving all our usual great food:
Nimal’s Lebanese and Sri Lankan lunch buffet 12-4pm

Dinner among the bamboos from 8pm (M-W Nimal's Sri Lankan, Th-S Barbara's Indian)
Saturday brunch 12-4
Afternoon cakes

While you enjoy great food in our garden, we will renovate the Madrid Street restaurant - which will be closed for the works. We'll be back 'home' in a couple of weeks.

Here's the map:

Here's the menu:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cool Summer Breeze Menu @ Motto

From the 29th to the 1st of July... We are cooking at Mótto at night only... To reserve a table you have to call or SMS them at 70 954 057.

Cool Summer Breeze

• Homemade baked bread with red pepper dip on side
• Cold cucumber, mint and yogurt soup
• Quinoa and beetroot salad
• Filet chipotle sauce with fresh herbs served with organic Ratatouille
• Dessert: Orange dark chocolate with Grand Marnier with Sarah’s homemade cookie 

Barbara Abdeni Massaad is a Lebanese / American cookbook author, photographer, local and international food consultant and TV host. Massaad is currently president of Slow Food Beirut. She is also the author of award-winning books: Man’oushe: Inside the Street Corner Lebanese Bakery, Mouneh: Preserving Foods for the Lebanese Pantry, Mezze: A Labor of Love and will launch in fall 2015 Soup for Syria: Recipes to celebrate our Shared Humanity. All proceeds of the book will go to help refugees in dire needs. She is currently working on other book subjects related to food.

Albert Massaad has just graduated from high school at Notre Dame de Jamhour and is heading to Lyon, France to study at the famous Paul Bocusse Culinary Institution. His passion for food dates back to his early childhood when at the age of two he set the table to eat a chocolate bar with a fork and a knife. He has traveled often to Slow Food’s fairs and has recently been making lots of pizza in street food festivals all around Beirut.