episode 48 :: giving thanks

I’ve never understood why we only choose the fourth Thursday of every November to gather with our families, make food the center focus of the day, and give thanks for the wonderful things in our lives.  Why can’t every day be Thanksgiving?  Isn’t it time we take time out of every day to focus on enjoying our family, sharing a great meal, and talking to one another?

In this week’s episode, we visit the home of my good friend Afaf, who was born and raised in Syria.  As you’ll hear in our conversation, a day that resembles our Thanksgiving happens every day in Syria. At around 2:00 PM, the city shuts down, everyone returns home, and the family enjoys a big meal.  They spend two hours eating, talking, laughing, singing, praying, whatever.  The bottom line is, they stop everything to enjoy the things in their lives that matter to them the most. The only thing missing is watching the Lions get their asses handed to them in front of a national audience.  But who’d miss that?

Listen to episode 48 now

Afaf shares her history in Syrian cooking, how she was brought up to cook the smaller dishes as her mother focused on the main meal.  And as she settled into living in America, she began to miss the food of her home country. This prompted her to explore the idea of obtaining fresh ingredients, spending the countless hours (and sometimes days) it takes to make some of these intricate dishes.

More than anything, Afaf shares the ideologies behind Syrian culture, and why food is so important to them.

Later, we enter Afaf’s kitchen, where she shows me how to make Kebbeh, both baked and fried.  Believe me, it sounds easy and even looks easy, but that’s the magic of Afaf’s abilities in the kitchen.  It’s an involved process, and the results are beyond delicious.

Check out Afaf’s pictures on making Kebbeh here. If you’d like to try making Kebbeh at home, get the recipe and illustrated directions on Afaf’s web site.

Thanks for listening, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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