Printed in Time Out Beirut March 2011.
I remember when I started writing my first book Man’oushé, I showed my husband the initial text I was scribbling. He looked puzzled and stated, “are you writing a book on the man’oushé or are you writing a biography”. He simply could not understand how my personal story was linked to this Lebanese thyme pie. He was not the only skeptical on the matter. Yet finally, years later, readers still acknowledge the fact that it’s the personal story that made my first book so special and therefore successful. Writing about food is indeed something very personal to me. It’s about how one relates to food—its identity, how it becomes part of who I am, who prepares it, how it becomes part of a larger community, the society we live in.
Writing is a virtual reality for me. I enter into a world where nature prevails, free from man’s superficial commodities and destructive artifacts. With the photographs I take, I paint the perfect picture of how I would like the world to be portrayed. I write the words to emphasize the image to make sure that the message has been conveyed and understood. Food and its preparation are connected to humanity, people—the best part of the specie, the chosen ones. It is linked to those who farm, cook, create, invent, process, and finally feed us. It is they that inspire me again and again to write. It is they that I want to spend time with, far from the ones who live a meaningless and shallow life.
I write to portray the lives of those who would go unnoticed among the clutters of our present heroes, who are only a deceitful fragment of our imagination. In jotting these words, I’d like to leave a small trace which could have a positive influence on the future generation, primarily the one where my children will flourish into adults. It is them who constantly stimulate me to move forward to reach out towards something more substantial and beneficial. Everyone feels they want to change the world. When I write, I feel that I am doing just that. In my own way, I am constantly working on making things better. It has become a therapy, a simple way of life.