26.8.06

Another Time, Another Place, Another Taste

Last year, we spent our holidays in Lebanon. It was the first time for my husband and children and it was after more than 20 years absence for me. Lucky we are, lucky we were !

The picture above was taken by my husband during a tour in our olive orchards. He told me that what he was seeing for the first time did not differ from what he constructed in his imagination when I used to describe the village for him. In some of the orchards, olive trees alternate with fig trees.

During this time of the year, my mother used to prepare jam with the figs gathered from our orchards. First she will dry the figs and then prepare the jam adding to it sesame and almonds. I remember the taste. I remember us in our early teenage, me and my brothers with our Peruvian born cousin, who came back to Lebanon with his parents like many Lebanese migrants around the beginning of the seventies seeking the good life, spending the summer days walking from our house to his house, listening to music, discussing our latest readings and eating my mother's fig jam. My mother was desperate, the jam was for the winter, when fruits will become scarce in the two village stores. She would laugh at our teen's appetite and do more jam until our return to school would put an end to our lazy and gourmet summer days...

Yesterday I made some jam for my family, freshly picked raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. We invited my brothers and their families, two of them live in the same city as us, and my father for a saturday morning breakfast with home made crêpes and red jam. They sat on the terrace, me and my sister in law in the kitchen supplying the crêpes. They discussed Lebanon, Politics and the recent Israeli agression. My older brother is Aounist, my other brother is Haririst (Sanyourist he corrected me) and I am none of these...The debate was intense. At some point, my husband had to moderate the discussion . I was allowed only one intervention or two when I finished preparing the crêpes. I told them to read my blog.

Then I sat with my dog beside me and left them debating again and again and I ate my crêpe with red fruits jam and remembered our summer days in Lebanon and my mother's fig jam. Posted by Picasa

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sophia, that's a picture that also brings back memories and longings for me.

Figs,olives ,pomengrates,walnuts,mulberries and almonds. My grandfather knew how to attach me to our land.

The taste is in my mouth as I write.

Our trip to Lebanon was interrupted by the war and we had to substitute a trip to Germany and France to vsit in -laws.

We hope ,inshallah ,to go to Lebanon at Christmas time and recall "another time, another place another taste".

Issam

RoxieAmerica said...

Sophia,

Thank you for that delightful picture of Lebanon. What a change from the pictures of recent days.

Sophia said...

Issam,
Thanks for the comment. Was your evacuation O.K. I know people who were evacuated to Canada. They lived for the whole duration of the war with the guilt of leaving relatives behind.

Christams in Lebanon, you must be indeed really attached. For us it will be next summer, inshallah !

Sophia said...

Roxie,

I am glad you liked the picture. As soon as I will have some time, I will post a selection of my 2005 summer pictures in Lebanon and delight you with more of them.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, our flight was for July 13 the day they closed the airport. Many of our relatives decided to stay in Lebanon rather than be evacuated which increasedour anxiety.

I talked to Beirut today,they are much more optomistic than last week. They say the city is awash in dollars.

I joked to my cousin that if this war is too profitable for the Lebanese merchants than we will surely suffer another war soon.

This war has had a sobering effect on domestic politics and ,if somehow, shebaa can be freed there will a great shift in Lebanese politics.

Let us hope that we can survive the last two years of this wounded lame duck president, Lebanon's presidential elections , Israel's political turmoil and the Iran stand-off.

If ,somehow, we manage to have peace I would like to invite you and your family to taste some of our figs or fig jam next summer.

issam

Sophia said...

Issam,

I am touched by the offer and have no doubt that my family will be delighted by this invitation !

Thanks,

Sophia

Richard said...

Sophia, you painted much more than a mere picture for me. You actually transported me there. really.

And, how did you know I loved [thick, fruity] jam so much? So much so that I was regularly scolded by my mother for making and eating far too many 'jam-butties' -- as we here call jammed bread.

Happy days, eh?

Sophia said...

Richard,

That's exactly what I like in jam, the taste of childhood !

It's a pity you can't taste my red fruit jam. Well, if you ever come to Canada, or to Lebanon, on better days (and in the summer), please send me an email and I will be happy to have you around for breakfast and for a whole Lebanese meal.

Richard said...

You're too kind, Sophia. Who knows? One of these days I may manage to make it across the Atlantic. Though I'm often much closer to Lebanon, ie; South East Turkey, where my brother and his wife retired to. Don't panic though, I'm unlikely ever to just turn up on your doorstep. :^)

markfromireland said...

Sophia,

I didn't discover Lebanese food until I was an adult ... well a young peacekeeper I'm not sure how "adult" I was, or even if I'm "adult" now, ask my son :-)

The fig jam was a revelation, but my personal favourite was (and is) a clear lemon jam. Time to go and make another sandwich ......

 
Since March 29th 2006