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Kitchen Arabic: How My Family Came to America and the Recipes We Brought with Us

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by Joseph Geha
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A memoir with recipes by a noted writing teacher who chronicles his family’s journey from Lebanon to the United States.

Launching immediately into a family legend of their departure from Beirut after the end of World War II, Joseph Geha demonstrates in a few short paragraphs his gift for storytelling. His book is arranged around stories of his family’s arrival in the US, and their finding a home and building a life in Toldeo, Ohio.

The world the Geha family left behind lingered with them, sometimes happily, sometimes much less so. The food that Joseph’s mother prepared was often a refuge,  though they would all over time become exposed to the dishes of their diverse American neighbors. A few non-Lebanese recipes appear as tributes to such people, fondly remembered, but by far more common are the likes of

  • Salatet Beitenjain Kizberah, an eggplant and cilantro salad
  • Laban Ommu, a lamb stew with yogurt
  • Kummuniyeh, baked fish with cumin
  • Tefa bu Jallab, rose-flavoured apples

Kitchen Arabic is a charming book of thoughtful observations of family dynamics and a testament to the role of food in everyday life. 


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