Every once in a while, I get a message through my website of a happy customer who writes about reading my books. Sometimes they come from far away lands, sometimes they are local readers. These messages touch me profoundly and make my work all worth while. I was especially touched last week by this particular message and asked the reader / customer if I could post it on my blog. She agreed and added more to her comment. Thanks Rudaina for taking the time to share your thoughts. I think she comes from the USA. Her words are very precious.
This is what she had to say:
"I have just ordered your 2 books and I cannot thank you enough. For many years , I have been interested in how to make our man'oushe and mouneh; but there were no resources and finally your book was a dream come true. I can see the tremendous effort and time it has taken to publish both of your books but it is worth every minute. In our region you rarely find books and resources that talk about the old fashion way of making things. Now and because of you , we have a remarkable book that has helped in preserving this nearly lost art. Your book not only shows Lebanese mouneh but the mouneh of neighboring countries like Syria,Jordan and Palestine since they are very similar in many things. It is also a friendly book that any housewife can understand and apply. You have taken great care for details and the pictures are so beautiful. To be honest,I only find Lebanese people to take the lead in many things and I hope you continue. Since both of your books are a gem I shall order another copy of each book . I only order 2 copies of a book when I see the book rare and hard to find. I look forward to other books you are going to publish. Do you have in mind publishing more books or a continuation of mouneh?"
I wrote her back and this is what she had to add:
"Oh yes you can use my message in any way you please but it won't be enough. Both of your books are fabulous. The Manoushe book I also had been looking for , for so many years. I always wondered how they made some foods that are sold on streets. Although the ingredients are all available in any house but when we –housewives- tried to make them , they had a different taste.You have written books about subjects that are rare and valuable. Not only have you shown us that but you also included beautiful pictures in your books that really capture the essence of the atmosphere and environment of the Lebanese and Middle Eastern culture. Every photo is so vivid and untouched. They are so powerful that they are capable of reflecting the actual lifestyle of the local people and by that it helps the reader feel what it is like to be in Lebanon and the Middle east without actually being there ( I say Lebanon and the Middle east meaning Jordan ,Syria and Palestine and even turkey especially the east part ) because they have lots of similarities in food and lifestyle). I have a friend who lives in Ohio and I am going to send her both of your books as a gift. She is close friend of mine who is interested in cooking and in the cultures of the world. Your books will be like 2 in 1 because they not only have recipes of a nearly lost art which thank to you, is revived again but she will also have a clear picture of our society and way of life in the rural parts of the land. When I do I shall write to you to tell you what she thinks about them. I am sure that I am going to love your next book, no doubt about that. I checked your blog and I saw that you have showed variations of hummus which I found very interesting and refreshing. You not only show the traditional way but other ways too and what is even more important is that they are delicious. I mean why have a variation of something if it is not going to yummy . It clear to everyone who reads your books that you have done lots of investigation, experimentation and documentation therefore it should be in the library of every culinary school and any organization that is interested in Heritage.Happy Cooking!"