Are you curious about Syrian Food?

Published December 8, 2017

Are you curious about #Syrian food? These foods are a mystery to some people, many thinking them exotic, needing special ingredients (only in some cases) or time-consuming. As I see these chefs today try this or that Middle Eastern dish, I know that I am truly blessed to have been brought up on this healthy #Syrian cuisine. It’s rich in whole grains, fresh vegetables, homemade yogurt and cheeses, lean meats (far less than other diets) and seemingly elaborate desserts, but never impacting health, like the more processed foods of today. In this, the best of #Aleppo’s cuisine, we enjoyed everything in moderation and our grandparents lived into their late 80’s and 90’s, as a rule.

When I wrote the first cookbook, Sitto’s Kitchen, I carefully followed my grandmother’s methods. But, as I worked on testing the recipes, editing, and testing again, I realized that today’s cooks or would-be cooks wanted to work faster and easier. This led to even more editing, as I included today’s modern methods in the actual recipe or in the Cook’s Notes. So both the first book and the second book, Sitto’s Kitchen II also include updated tips for preparing these dishes. In my grandmother’s day, her brass mortar and pestle, which she called her “Hehwan,” was an integral part of everything she cooked. As she pounded herbs, spices and garlic in this brass mortar, she imparted that unique infusion to her delicious meals. Today with the advent of food processors and blenders, those steps may not always be necessary. I do note, however, that those wonderful pastes are impossible to be improved upon to bring out the best in a dish! And so, I realized it was important to show how my ancestors prepared these dishes.

As you grow older, you appreciate your past even more. You give homage to those before you and the efforts they made to provide good food, love and tradition. After years of preparing these meals, I thought back again to my grandmother, my Sitto, and marveled at how delicious and healthy everything was to us.