“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
Preserving food and culture the Lebanese way.
The very best memories connecting us to time and place are often stimulated by the tastes and smells of our childhood. Freshly-baked bread, hot from the oven, sweet homemade jam dribbling down our chins, or the burst of flavor in each dried grape- these memories bring a smile to our faces even as they call to mind the people who made them possible.
The reality for many of us is that we no longer enjoy such a strong connection to our culinary roots. As much as we might wish the contrary, the beauty and simplicity of home-preserved pantry items, the mouneh, taken for granted during our childhood, often seems a lifetime away.
In Barbara Abdeni Massaad's book, Mouneh: Preserving Foods for the Lebanese Pantry, we've been thrown a lifeline to a piece of our cultural and culinary identity. Thanks to the author's diligent research, stunning photography, simply presented instructions and delightful stories, we are all able to learn about preserving food the Lebanese way.
And I also learned that pine nuts actually come from pine cones!