I’m very excited to share with you all my new blog series, ‘Illustrated Middle Eastern Recipes: Food Stories by a Multi-Cultural Couple,’ which will bring you mouth-watering dishes from the different cultures and culinary roots that my husband and I hail from.
I’ve already posted a recipe back in April for Turkish Pizza with a Lebanese Twist, where I shared with you all my husband’s yummy and homemade signature recipe. I also wrote that this savoury pastry dish is popular in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Armenia, and Turkey, and that there are so many versions for this boat-shaped pizza.
Which got me thinking – most Middle Eastern dishes come with localized versions, and essentially, recipes do vary from household to household!
My husband, being an excellent Italian home chef with Middle Eastern roots, has his own way of cooking dishes that I have slightly different recipes for. We’re always mixing and matching his version of a certain dish with the version I have, based on recipes and notes I have collected from my late grandmother. The results are always exciting and unexpected.
So I thought why not write about homemade Middle Eastern dishes that have more than one version, with focus on the most delicious varieties that we like to cook at home?
I also thought that this would be a nice idea for an illustrated blog series, which will also give me plenty of opportunities to expand my food illustrations portfolio, with focus on the kind of food my husband and I love to cook!
Multi-Cultural Middle Eastern Food
Although generally speaking people don’t usually deem North Africa as part of the Middle East, but I do have Moroccan roots that I have been reconnecting with for the past few months through my illustrations. This deep-rooted connection has been basically the inspiration behind the Tajine pot that I have included in my illustration (above) as I went on to create a logo-style badge for this new blog series.
As some of you may know, Moroccan food is completely different from Jordanian, Syrian, or Lebanese food. It follows a completely different rationale, and a different way of mixing the ingredients. Whereas the concept of sweet-and-sour is a staple flavour in the Moroccan cuisine, flavours that originate in the Levant are more polarized, often leaning towards saltiness or sweetness, and seldom the two together.
But what East and West of the Mediterranean have in common is the dominating language, which is Arabic. And again, Moroccan Arabic is completely different than Lebanese Arabic. It’s not only the dialect, but also the choice of words, and the structure of sentences, which I found to be quite interesting when I had the chance to visit Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
I want to reflect this multi-culturalism in this new blog series’ recipes, which I am really very excited about. I hope that in the coming weeks I will have the chance to put together a post or two from the Middle Eastern cuisine!
Until then, take care and I look forward to seeing you in my next post!