Sitto Naima’s Syrian Stuffing

Published November 16, 2017

Sitto Naima’s Syrian Stuffing, which she called her “Hashweh,” was a tradition every Thanksgiving alongside the bird. Although we celebrated each American holiday, we always included a few #Syrian dishes to the meal. After all, the foods of #Aleppo were a part of my grandmother’s daily cooking. That tradition and style of her cooking were what she had learned as a girl. And of course, she had brought it along to her new country in the foods she cooked and served. Like all immigrants, in time, she taught us to favor our ethnic foods. And so, on a day like this, there was no need for traditional bread stuffing. It was Thanksgiving, Syrian style!

Thinking back over the years, however, my grandmother’s new country introduced her to its own customs and foods and gradually I saw her begin to add them to her table. She would surprise me sometimes and serve something she learned from a friend or neighbor. In fact, our neighbors on the floor below were Italian and she’d sometimes make a purely Italian dish! Our neighborhood was filled with all nationalities and languages, gifting us with the aroma of a multi-cultural America around us every day.

It’s interesting to note that, over the years, the availability of some foods is sometimes lacking. Just as America has its regional cooking, immigrant families seek out their ingredients at local ethnic shops. But along the way, some of it may not be available or gets distilled. Over the years, you may find that the style of cooking or the lack of a spice or even the cook’s particular taste will subtly change a dish. That is yet another reason why I was so determined to document these old recipes and keep that basic cooking style and taste that was unique to Aleppo in these cookbooks. It is our heritage. Although we are blended today, we will never forget from whence we came!

Find this recipe on page 119 of Sitto’s Kitchen II Cookbook.