This is a journey through my native country, Lebanon, located in the Middle East. I am always in search of good food and wine and good friends, with the aim of safeguarding our precious culinary heritage.
“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)
My 3rd Book:
"This new book from Barbara Massaad is vital to the culture of her country and utterly inspiring to me. She finds and explores forgotten traditional foods and techniques and then develops recipes that are irresistible and nourishing. They are not only for the Lebanese but for all of us." Alice Waters
My 2nd Book:
Winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award and the International Academy of Gastronomy. “Documenting traditions, recipes and rituals ensures their survival, it is vital work. Barbara Massaad’s beautiful new book Mouneh goes to the heart of Lebanese life. She is a writer and photographer, but above all she is a custodian of a wonderfully rich culture.” Alice Waters
My 1st Book:
Winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award. “Despite the dislocation caused by its civil war and the continuing conflict with its neighbor to the south, Israel, Lebanon has managed to nurture its justly admired culinary traditions. Among these institutions are the city’s bakeries, each unique to its neighborhood and serving deliciously fragrant breads and pastries. Massaad’s book celebrates these bakeries and teaches how to replicate their products in a contemporary American kitchen. Specifically, man’oushé refers to breakfast bread, a disc of flat bread perfumed with sesame and wild thyme. Working from just several basic yeast doughs, Massaad shows how to form and bake a host of Lebanese breads and meat pies. A reasonably adept home baker will find Massaad’s recipes easy to follow, and thanks to the Internet, assembling ingredients is not a burdensome challenge. The book’s full-color photographs bring into focus not just the foods but also the lively characters who constitute a remarkably diverse nation. Especially useful for libraries with significant Middle Eastern immigrant populations.” —Booklist
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the ones less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost
Welcome to my Blog!
I have been meaning to create this blog for a long time. Why? I have been roaming Lebanon for years now and I have come to the conclusion that it is such a shame that I don't document these journeys on the net. What is a culinary journey one may ask? I shall tell you... It's taking the car early morning (after dropping the kids at the bus stop) and going with one's car on an adventure dealing mostly with FOOD, wonderful people, and amazing places. Food glorious food ... not everyone knows what they put in their mouths... not everyone knows the people and places that have to do with the last bite they just had ... So my aim in life... other than being a good wife and mother ... is to write culinary books on the matter. My first book was published in Dec. 2005 entitled Man'oushe: Inside the Street Corner Lebanese Bakery. My second book (which started the day after the launching of Man'oushe) is finally out. I will let you in on a little secret, when one publishes a book, it is like giving birth and sometimes authors experience baby blues. Mouneh was published in Nov. 2010, it deals with traditional food preservation. Yes, I am ready to start my third book now - it will deal with the subject of cheese making. Who knows where this journey will take me? In a nutshell, this is who I am!
Who says we can't grow Zaatar?
Zaatar fields in the Village of Zawtar el Sharkiyah in south Lebanon
Ok, I think I'm getting obsessed with my fruits / vegetables. I just bought a book which I think is really worth it. It is written by an organic farmer in the USA. He has a farm called Angelic Organic and his name is Farmer Johan Peterson. The book is entitled FARMER JOHN'S COOKBOOK. Wonderful, why you may ask? John talks alot about farming. My absolute dream! But he goes further to farming describing each vegetable with recipes to go with each category... Huumm, kind of what I'm working on... but me it's local recipes as his are a mixture of many. The book is unpretentious, yet it so vital. I am in awe reading away and discovering new delicious things to do with my fruits and vegetables. I believe that once you have a load of them, sky is the limit to what you can do in terms of cooking something really special. The important thing is to teach your children that fruits and vegetables are the main and most important factor in feeding oneself and the rest is topping on the cake... well almost, bread is definitely not topping... can't live without it...So I'm sure you are wandering where I found this treasure. Chef Ramzi, my new found friend, has opened a place called the Chef's Corner. It is located under his school, Kafaat on the mainroad heading to Beit Mery. It is a place where you can take cooking lessons (both for adults and children), a place where you can buy all kind of neat chef's utensils, and a place where you can buy BOOKS! Not any kind of books, but the ones that are part of the Gourmand Cookbook Award.... Man'oushe, included, of course! I recently did Sarah's birthday (my youngest daughter) there... The kids had a blast, including ME! They learned to make a rich salad, kebbeh bil saniyeh (Sarah choice!), pizza, and worked on decorating the birthday cake. It was truly magical! There is nothing more exciting than seeing kids start their culinary apprenticeship. I really love being part of that, there's an idea growing inside of me... I'll let you know about it soon. SO, to sum it up, go visit Chef Ramzi's place - I'm sure there's something for each one of you... and remember you heard it here... :)