Sitto’s Kitchen II, the Enhanced Full Color Version with bonus recipes, includes the original recipes, memories and more, which were carried by the author’s grandmother onto the shores of Ellis Island in 1912. These treasures, taught to her grandmother in Aleppo, Syria, comprise over 100 years of traditional Arab cooking. This second cookbook captures many more photos of these delicious Syrian foods, all in full color, along with additional recipes.
Although these treasured Syrian family recipes are traditional and the author carefully describes the techniques used long ago, she has also simplified and updated them. Young cooks or anyone new to Middle Eastern cuisine will find the author’s notes at the end of each recipe a helpful and contemporary touch. Charming stories and anecdotes will give readers a window into the past.
The next generations of young Arab cooks who long for the traditional foods they remember will be drawn into Sitto’s Kitchen. Those exploring new cuisines will find that these Middle Eastern spices and fragrant herbs will carry them to new lands. For thousands of years, the distinctive cuisine of Syria has relied on the freshest of vegetables, fruits and nuts of the region. The accent on these foods and grain-based dishes will appeal to vegetarians as well as those wanting a homespun adventure in Middle Eastern cookery. Sitto’s Kitchen II is Middle Eastern cooking with no mystery, simply prepared and traditionally preserved by generations of cooks who served these humble dishes to their families with love.
Janice Jweid Reed grew up in the vibrant Syrian-Lebanese community of Paterson, New Jersey. Her grandparents, having emigrated from Aleppo, Syria, brought the Middle Eastern traditions, foods and Arabic language that were an integral part of her upbringing. After marrying, and moving to the Midwest, she was intent on keeping her Syrian heritage intact for her own young family.
My great grandmother and grandfather Kayal were shopkeepers in Aleppo, Syria. When great grandfather Nicholas died, great grandmother Amelia sent her two eldest sons, Naim and George, to America in hopes of easing their life. She later sent her eldest daughter, my grandmother Naima, accompanied by our friends, to join her brothers. Great grandmother promised she would soon follow with her remaining two daughters and two sons.
My grandmother Naima, whom I only called Sitto, meaning grandmother in Arabic, sometimes spoke of her trip across the ocean in August of 1912. She was just 14 years old, feeling alone and anxious about her journey and new life. She shuddered as she remembered that month aboard ship and being in the “belly of the ship.” She remembered how sick the ocean had made them and believed they would perish as the ship tossed them about during a bad storm. She’d been on that ship with people speaking many languages, away from her family and the country she knew, wondering what lay ahead as they docked at Ellis Island, New York.