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myrtles

Myrtle berries (Hemblass)

These wild bushes get loaded with berries this time of year. Their history goes back thousands of years in the area, and the berries have a reputation for lowering cholesterol and easing digestive issues (among other uses) and are used in herbal medicine in the rural areas, as well as a snack to munch on. My farmer friend, Um Elias,...
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kanoon

Kanoon (Stove)

I recently had the opportunity to take part in an informal class on how to make a kanoon, which is a primitive-type of stove or burner. Our ancestors used them in the rural areas to heat their foods or drinks. I was thrilled to learn that a lady in a Shouf village was still making them and was willing to...
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shawarma sandwich

Shawarma sandwich

I was just alerted to the fact that today is National Sandwich Day. I should keep-up with these…celebrations? announcements? gimmicks? I will add that to my list of 2016 resolutions. What does one look for in a sandwich? Lately, I have decided that a sandwich should have the equivalent of a complete meal, except in sandwich form. The Lebanese shawarma...
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quince

Quince

It is quince season. I’d be totally disingenuous if I typed that I loved quinces. Even though I am fond of all my memories associated with my grandmother, her yearly ritual of making quince jam was not that special to me. It seemed like a lot of trouble for a paltry result. Nevertheless, the sight of the trees in the...
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Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee

It took me a while to find a coffee purveyor in Beirut who would sell decaffeinated coffee. My request was usually met with a puzzled look then a decisive no. One man even said in Arabic the equivalent of “not just no, but hell no!”. When I prodded him as to why he was being so virulent, his answer was...
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labneh

Labneh and zaatar breakfast

Back when I was blogging constantly, I was hearing this recurring background noise “you’ve got to be on Facebook, or Twitter”. I am now posting daily on Facebook and Instagram (several times a day) and have barely time to blog anymore! No more whining. This is an all-traditional Lebanese breakfast and my favorite. It even turns into dinner or lunch...
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