My mother’s favorite dish is Mujedarra!

Published February 28, 2019

One of my mother’s favorite dishes is Mujedarra. She had lots of company, as that famous Lentil Pilaf is loved by millions of Middle Easterners! Sitto was very particular in her Arabic pronunciation of it. She called it Mujedt’iL Riz, as opposed to her calling Mujedarra, which she explained is the traditional Bulgar Wheat and Lentil Pilaf dish. This has caused some confusion for our cookbook fans, as most call the rice-based dish, Mujedarra. So, I want to point out the difference and let people know that both recipes are in each cookbook, listed as Lentil Pilaf and Bulgar Wheat and Lentil Pilaf in Arabic and English.

My Mother’s love of family and tradition were never more evident than in one of her “gifts” to me later in her life. When I created our first family cookbook in 2000, I asked her to write down our family history, as she knew it, so that I could put it into that first simple spiral-bound cookbook. It was just for us and at that time, I had no idea I would actually go on to create these two published cookbooks, Sitto’s Kitchen and Sitto’s Kitchen II.

Mom wrote what she knew and remembered in one simple black and white composition notebook. It’s all in cursive, with no paragraphs…just sentence after sentence of her memories. How precious it is to me now! I refer to it, often, especially when I get messages from fans of my cookbooks asking if we are related. I simply go back to her written history and there are the names and the remembrances. At the end of her writing, she simply wrote: Jan, these are three generations, the rest is up to you. Fill in the 4th.”

What a reminder that we need to journal our important family members and dates now! What better way than through our favorite family meals we enjoy together!