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. The author began realizing that no written recipes were ever created for the culinary treasures she knew so well. Mothers traditionally taught their daughters these kitchen secrets through the generations. The miles separating her from family prompted her to begin recording her grandmother’s recipes in a simple spiral notebook. Her hopes were that someday her own children and grandchildren would have these cherished recipes and remember their ancestry. Over the years, knowing that these time-honored preparations were an important part of preserving her cultural heritage, the author’s notebook led to this cookbook.
Janice’s interest in food preparation and regional cuisine led her to travel across the U.S., the Caribbean, Mexico and abroad. Her family heritage has instilled an appreciation and knowledge of Middle Eastern culture, language and particularly, the renowned cuisine of Aleppo, Syria.
The author’s educational background includes a degree in Interior Design, which she practiced in Chicago, New Jersey and eventually, New York City where she owned her own business.
In the last twenty years, the author has lived and worked in Southern California.
Recently retired, and now a grandmother herself, she enjoys cooking and teaching the preparation of traditional Arab foods for family, friends and community. Janice Jweid Reed relishes the role of keeping her family’s ancestry alive in their cuisine and traditions. Through her cookbook, Sitto’s Kitchen, A Treasury of Syrian Family Recipes, the legacy of these 100-year-old recipes becomes timeless. The author welcomes all who wish that they too had a grandmother or “Sitto” in their kitchen!