Lebanese Food and Culinary Traditions

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

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.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lebanon: a day in the life

What happens when a Lebanese man who has never lived in Lebanon returns to his roots?


Proud to have a shot of my family baking flat breads during the Beirut Street Food Festival in this short preview of Cedars in the Air. Watch it, it's really filmed well.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Soup for Syria Cover

It's finally done!

Good news is that my US publisher found a UK publisher too to help publishing Soup for Syria. Presently the book is being printed in China! Ouf...I am planning a launch in Beirut in September. In the US there will be launch/benefit concert on September 20th in MA.Will keep you posted on developments.Thank you to all who made this book possible! Everyone worked for FREE. All proceeds will go to a fund to help Syrian refugees It feels good to have been part of this amazing experience. Hope people will understand the core message behind the book.

You can pre-order the book on Amazon or directly on the Interlink page.

Soup for Syria may be the most compelling cookbook ever created. Through her photographs and collected recipes, Barbara Massaad directly connects us with a people in dire need of our help.  Just holding this book is nourishment for the soul.”
—Jim Clancy, former CNN Correspondent and Anchor, awarded A.H. Boerma medal for coverage of food and hunger issues by F.A.O. (U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization)


The world has failed Syria's refugees and some of the world's wealthiest countries have turned their backs on this humanitarian disaster. Syria's neighbors-Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq-have together absorbed more that 3.8 million refugees. The need for food relief is great and growing.

Acclaimed chefs and cookbook authors the world over have come together to help food relief efforts to alleviate the suffering of Syrian refugees. Each has contributed a recipe to this beautifully illustrated cookbook of delicious soups from around the world. Contributors include: Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi, Anthony Bourdain, Mark Bittman, Alice Waters, Paula Wolfert, Ana Sortiun, Sally Butcher, Claudia Roden, Greg Malouf, Alexis Coquelet, Chris Borunda,  Alexandra Stratou, Necibe Dogru, Aglaia Kremenzi, and many others.

• Celebrity chefs contribute favorite recipes to help feed Syrian refugees
• Fabulous soups from around the world-from hearty winter warmers to chilled summer soups
• Easy-to-follow instructions with stunning color photos throughout
• Recipes made with no-fuss ingredients found in your local supermarket

All profits from the sales of the cookbook will be donated to help fund food relief efforts through various nonprofit organizations. Most Syrians hope that one day they will be able to return to their country and rebuild their lives. For now, though, what we can do is listen to their pleas. Be part of this vital work of saving lives and help us deliver essential food items to the displaced refugees.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


This means a lot to me. You will never understand but it's OK because I don't want you to. Sometimes things are better left unsaid.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Baking Pizza "en Famille" at the Beirut Street Food Festival

Caramelized onion and fresh mozzarella made in Lebanon
"Mourou, this is my happiness. How can people not see it?"

"Mami, it's OK, if everyone knew it, there would me too many of us." — Albert, my son at the first Beirut Street Food Festival on the day of his 18th birthday, May 17 2015, while baking flat breads (pizza).

This was such a special evening for us as a family. It reminded me of the "restaurant" years with my own family in Florida.

I'd like to thank the organizers of this event  for doing such a great job namely Zeina Halawi and Youmna Mteiny. The only problem they had was that the festival was so in demand to so many that food stalls could not deliver so much food to such a crowd. Lesson learned .... next time will be even better. You have my full support.

It all started with Lea and the balloons
And then it suddenly filled up like mad
And we had hundreds of people waiting to EAT
And we we were very hard at work
Lea and Sarah becameperplexed on the crowd's demands
Mia finally showed off her talent
Albert baked like mad

A moment of tenderness with my youngest daughter Sarah
We watching in awe the crowd and giving thanks. This will be a memory someday.
Miou and me
Papi (dough, cut cheese, bring cheese) ... Our constant support

It was a memorable day.... 18 years ago today, I had given birth to my first child. It had been one of the happiest days of my life... Today, the happiness continues. I am lucky to have such a supportive family at my side. It's definitely my strength.May we always cook, eat and share our food together and with those who want to share it with us...Can't wait till the next one...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Beirut Street Food Festival - Some Thoughts

To the ones who cook, cheers!
Beirut is having an awakening and it has to do with food! I'm so glad and have dreamed of this moment for a long time. It takes people who have traveled the world to come back and make a difference. So I am grateful to all those who are contributing to this amazing initiative, those who are cooking and to those who will come and taste the food. It does not matter if we make money or not. All that matters is that we live together this experience which in turn will bring many more alike. I have a feeling...

And this is what we are doing!
This Sunday is an important date for me too personally because it is my son's 18th birthday. What a coincidence that he will be cooking at this festival on his birthday, especially that he is going off to Lyon next fall to study culinary arts. Things happen for a reason in life and we just have to accept the good and sometimes the painful to finally become better people. This is an amazing experience for me... to be cooking with my son on his birthday with all of Beirut. It's really amazing. Beirut I love you!

The future...

About Art

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Maktoob - Destiny

olives cracked one by one with a stone
Serendipity "is the effect by which one accidentally stumbles upon something fortunate, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated." You may say it is written “maktoob”, it is destiny. This is my story, the one I fell upon, the one I am still writing, the one I am struggling each day to produce, to invent, to fabricate, and most of all create. My life should have a sense. I always felt this from the very beginning. I should leave a trace — One that is significant to me, to my family, to my community, to this place we call "earth". This trace should make some kind of difference. Someone or something must be better because of my doing — of my continuous efforts. It should be like a faraway scent that produces a memory — a memory of the past, a memory of better days, a memory of the senses, a memory of man's fading goodness.

It began in my father's restaurant at the age of fifteen. Those were difficult years, but the base of my culinary education. Times passed since those days — I married, had three children and still in the back of my mind, the recurring dreams of food related journeys and adventures. A woman's role in a family is maternal. What better way to show your innermost maternal instinct than by feeding your children. Isn't it the first instinct that a child initiates when he suckles on his mother's breast? Feeding your children with your knowledge and wisdom of life's experiences is essential, but also feeding them with real wholesome food made with the most important ingredient: LOVE is imperative and sets THE example.
It was written that I would leave the USA and go searching for my roots in Lebanon, my country of origin. It was destiny, some call her fate that knocked on my door and showed me the way. It was she that led me to visit all corners of the country in search of food related subjects and matters. It was she that gave me the chance to understand this diversified group of people who have all welcomed me as one of their own. It was she that gave me the perseverance to learn a new trade to capture these moments through the use of my camera. It is she that gives me the strength to carry on to fulfill my assignment — to preserve my country's culinary traditions, to defend its authenticity, to ensure its survival.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Prophet - The Movie

I don't know if you all have noticed that all my books include a saying of Khalil Gibran somewhere. He has been an inspiration to so many of us Lebanese and non-Lebanese alike all over the world.

His words are sacred and really do make a lot of sense.

Many are asking me what I thought of the film:

The film The Prophet is wonderful. I simply loved it. It's not for everyone though. Everyone should study the book and watch the movie later. It's better like that. It might confuse those who have never read the book. The interpretation of the book is really simple and yet the different artistic styles used in different segments is really creative. Artists, who know what it takes to draw and paint, will really appreciate the work.  The music is AMAZING adding a lot to the different elements portrayed throughout the film. The story is less exciting and in my opinion could have been more elaborately developed  but again it is perfect for an all age audience. The "actors" are well chosen, although I would have preferred that Mustafa especially be of Middle-Eastern origins. The mixing of Mexican, American, Irish accents is weird to me...But I guess nowadays you need big names to get people to come and see the movie.

I will watch it again and again, for it is very inspiring and true.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Beirut Street Food Festival

Barbara (that's me) and Albert Massaad @foodyoulike  (my son) will be participating at the Street Food Festival this year representing Slow Food Beirut. We will be making flat breads with all kind of toppings: call them pizza, call them man'oushe, call them bread cooked with love. This will be a special occasion for mother and son, before Albert goes off to university at Lyon to study at Paul Bocusse to be a chef / restaurateur. Not only that but this will be a special day for Albert as he celebrates his18th birthday! Also on the agenda, the newly formed Slow Food Youth Network Lebanon will be cooking soup with vegetables which would have been dumped otherwise. Keep posted.

#beirutstreetfoodfest on Instagram
Beirut Street Food Festival on Facebook