The Ruby Jewel of Lebanon

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The pomegranate originated in the region of modern-day Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region and northern India. In Lebanon it is typically in season from September to February. Its name derives from Medieval Latin pōmum “apple” and grānātum “seeded”. While the apple usually takes the blame for humanity’s fall from grace, some biblical scholars have suggested that the forbidden fruit of the Bible wasn’t an apple, but this red beauty.

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The Breakfast

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Sunday breakfast is that moment of the week where time passes unhurriedly. The slow rhythm of the city outside and the yearning to spend some quality time at home in our pajamas make for the ideal setting, to what I call the feast. While the boys are busy doing boys stuff, I head to the kitchen. I love breakfast, especially on Sundays. Sitting all together for a meal and talking, while enjoying a good Lebanese breakfast as the smell of fresh brewed coffee fills the house with its aroma, is one of my little pleasures in life.

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The Wish of Health

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The literal meanings of common phrases of courtesy in Arabic are so much more elaborate than the rest of the world. They are beautifully rhymed and phrased short little sentences that reflect so much about our culture. Respect and proper greetings are pillars in our social fiber. We smile, say hello, and ask about the other’s person’s day all in a cordial manner. Yet the most beautiful of expressions, I find, is “ya’tik el a’fye, a shortened version of Allah ya’tik el a’fye (may God give you health and vigor). Most people translate a’fye as only health, but I believe it has more depth to it. Soha in Arabic means health, and a’fye means health and vitality, vigor, strength, or energy.

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The National Dish

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I always laugh when the mother in law in My Big Fat Greek Wedding is flabbergasted that her son in law doesn’t eat meat. A Lebanese version of that would be: “You don’t eat no Kibbeh? Kiff ya3neh? Ba3milak kibbet batata? Tayeb kibbet la2’tin? Shou? El borghol bya3milak nafkha! Ma a3m bifham!” (What do you mean? Shall I make you a potato kibbeh? How about a pumkin kibbe then? What? You feel bloated after eating bulgur? I don’t get it!)

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