Showing posts from 2021

Four Things My Gastronomic Self Just Can’t Do Without

These days my anxiety is through the roof. I mean, whose isn’t? We’ve got a global pandemic raging, and though we’re starting to witness a drop in the number of cases in areas where vaccination has been launched full-scale, most of the world has yet to be graced with needles of elixir by Pfizer, Moderna, and the likes. In fact, a third wave is upending whole populations in dense countries like India. Couple that with a trifecta of crises in Lebanon – political, economic, and fiscal – and it takes an inordinate amount of self-delusion to stay sane. We’ve literally been living on our own proverbial island, inside the four walls of our flat in the northern suburbs of Beirut. On weekends we escape to family’s chalet for a glimpse of that moderating Mediterranean and some fresh air. And if we really want to go wild, I’ll take the kids to a mall five minutes away where there are more shops than shoppers by a stretch . (Did you know that The Gap ducked out of Le Mall in Dbayeh? Subway, too.

How Aleb Lebanon Has Impacted the Lives of Families in Need

30-year-old Fadia* always wanted a family. A naturally loving and nurturing individual, she never thought motherhood would be so fraught with trials. She and her husband, a member of the Lebanese army, are parents to a four-year-old girl who has thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder, and a two-year-old boy with congenital problems. Fadia, a high school diploma holder, used to work as an esthetician. But the wave of crises that has recently hit Lebanon, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and concomitant closures, has left her without a job. Her modest home is in poor condition. The children’s treatments are not covered by the insurance extended to military personnel and their families. And Fadia’s faith in nothing short of a miracle continues to wane. Since October 2019, Lebanon has been reeling from devaluation of its currency as the lira lost more than 80% of its value against the US dollar. The majority of the population has slumped into poverty in what the World Bank de

Before & After: Price of Local Goods in Lebanon Post-2019

Anyone remember the Golden Age our parents and grandparents so often recounted about pre-civil war Lebanon? Surely we’ve all heard it: the rich presence of arts, music, culture and theater; the unsurpassed hospitality and lavishness of the Lebanese people; the lack of any real consciousness about religious sects and confessions; and above all, the fact that Lebanon served as the financial hub of the Arab world. The expressions “Paris of the Middle East” and “Suissra-el-Charq” illuminate just how cultivated and prosperous Lebanese society was. Fast forward to 2019, a momentous year that will surely enter the annals of history of our little Mediterranean plot of land. By momentous, of course, I mean complete and utter catastrophe on the banking and finance front as well as deep-seated political gridlock, both of which show no promise of letting up. Seriously, how much worse can it get when you have no access to your hard-earned deposits at the bank? When your credit card gets declined

10 Things About Me

The other day, a friend tagged me in a fun Instagram story, spurring me to divulge 10 facts about myself. Why not extrapolate that to the blog, I thought, the perfect medium for writing listicles. It always intrigues me to see the lengths to which ‘grammers go in order to create elaborate stories, only to have them vanish into oblivion a mere 24 hours later. If I have to jump through hoops, rummaging through photos and matching them to intimate details about me – ten times, mind you! – I’d readily prefer the permanency of this web diary. The purpose of this exercise is two-fold. First, if you’re new to the blog, this is a quick glimpse into the gal behind it. And second, pandemic. I need a bit of a release. Nuff said. Get ready to learn more about me!   (1)     I am the second of three children born to Lebanese immigrants who made their home in Southern California, where I was raised and where my parents continue to be based. I grew up in the 90s watching “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air