I am Maureen Abood. Yes, I have an Irish first name and a Lebanese last name, but ignore the Irish part. That’s just a fluke and has nothing to do with anything other than that it’s a name my mother liked, so she gave it to me. Mine is a name that can confuse (I’ve received mail addressed to Maureen O’Bood), or delight (my friend Patti’s toddlers laugh uncontrollably when she tells them she’s talking on the phone to MaureenaaahhhBOOOD).
I am a writer—my work has been published here and there. I’m also a cook and a photographer. And a few other things, depending on who you ask. One of my favorite things to cook and write about and, of course, to eat, is the food of my (very large) Lebanese American family.
Recently, after experiencing the sort of life events that give one true pause (death, divorce, rock-bottom moments that leave you nowhere to go but up), I left my job in Chicago and headed west to San Francisco to go to culinary school, simply because I’ve always wanted to. Best thing I ever did. I highly recommend it. Amazing how easy it is to let go of the things that keep you from living your dreams once you … let them go.
Then last year I moved to Northern Michigan, to the place of my childhood summers in Harbor Springs, to write and cook. My mom is here a good bit of the time, so we are lucky enough to be cooking with her. Who says you can’t go home again? The same person who doesn’t want to let go of the things that keep you from living your dreams (I know because I’ve been that person too). So this is where we’ll be when we get together here online, where I’m writing from in a sunny little room with green walls and white trim, perched on Little Traverse Bay. Close enough to Mackinac Island to go there for lunch (even though I never do), but far enough away that the waft of horse and fudge is well-dispersed by lake breezes before it can reach us.
This blog is a place where we’re going to discuss and cook Lebanese cuisine, which in turn is tied, inextricably, to stories…and family…and love. Our food is delicious and beautiful, as beautiful as “Rose Water and Orange Blossoms,” essential flavorings in Lebanese cuisine, suggest.
Some Important People You Should Know
I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t introduce a couple of people in the room:
My mom, Maryalice Abood, is a wonderful Lebanese cook.
Sitto is my grandmother (Sitto is the Arabic for Grandma). She died in 1994. I am working on baking this Lebanese flatbread she used to bake, which hardly anyone makes any more. If I close my eyes and channel the day this picture was taken in her little delicious kitchen, maybe it will taste like hers. It’s so good, with its chewiness and roasted flavor. You’re going to love it.