I grew up in Palestine where we always ate big lunches (instead of big dinners) right after school with my family on the kitchen table. Dishes were always hand washed, ingredients were always seasonal and Zataar was always made by my Tita (grandma). My recipes are influenced by my Palestinian roots and American living, my travels, my mama, my titas, farmers markets, nostalgia, and of course my family and friends from all over.
My food journey takes place around my kitchen in Chicago. I am often surrounded by dishes in the sink, Barbie’s/Legos on the floor and our dog who hangs around the kitchen hoping to catch some crumbs.
Cooking has been my creative outlet and my source of relaxation despite the stacks of dishes. I was inspired by mom and my tita who are both amazing cooks. My grandma had her own garden, she planted everything from tomatoes, garlic, herbs, zucchini, etc... to almonds, olives, lemons, apricots and fig trees that my sido (grandpa) planted almost 100 years ago in our family garden in Jerusalem. My passion developed by watching and cooking with my mom in the kitchen. As a working family, my sister and I had to complete the meals that my mom started at the crack of dawn before going to work. My mom loved to try out new recipes from her work travels, she often brought home new spices, cheeses and pasta. She loved to entertain and cook for family and friends and almost always made cake on the weekends.
Almond and Fig
Almond & Fig, is a memoir told through food. I cook to remember the place I came from (Palestine) and to pass that connection on to my children.
Through Almond & Fig I like to share meals and my family table with you. Share the food that taught me about my identity, love, and family. The kind of food that makes memories.
Sharing a meal with your family and loved ones is an expression of love. I grew up with the idea that to feed people is to extend a piece of your heart to them. Food plays an important role in forming traditions and social interactions. And I want to create healthy, happy food memories and traditions.
Through my cooking and stories, I hope to inspire you to cook food from an often misunderstood part of the world. To tell your own story, preserve your traditions and make new ones.