A Favourite Recipe and Family History
My dad is first generation Lebanese and as unfortunate as it is that the language didn’t get passed down a generation, at least the foods did. A while back, I was making M’jedera (lentils & rice) for dinner and thinking I’d like to take a trip to the middle east to see where my family is from.
“I know Sitti (grandmother) came from Lebanon, but what village?” I asked. My dad, 87, child #12 of 13, doesn’t know and suggests I email Mary, child #13.
“When I was a child, my oldest brother used to tell me we were from Chraim”, my aunt writes. So, I looked it up (thank you Google) and find it in Syria.
“Wait a minute!”, I write back. “Chraim is in Syria. We’re Syrian?!?” It feels like the earth just shifted beneath my feet.
“What?!? I don’t think so. Let me ask Shakeeb (a cousin)”, she says.
“He says the town was called Khaim, near Marjaayoun, in Lebanon. He also mentions that when Sitti was born, 1896, Lebanon was a Syrian state under the Ottoman Empire. It wasn’t until WWII that Lebanon became a country of its own.”
Mystery solved. Cool fact. We are Lebanese after all. Terra firma.
~Kim Alexander (nee Kelly – not an Arabic name – a story for another time.)