According to the traditions of Lebanese cuisine: sitting at the table together and eating from each other’s hands

Costas Kazenas video frame

Tasting the local cuisine is a great way to get to know and experience the features of a foreign culture. Abu Adamas Dekh, a Lebanese who has lived in Lithuania for three decades, says that Lebanese cuisine is rich and varied due to the different cultures that have settled here since ancient times. Lithuania has long been known as a multicultural country, so today we are happy not only to taste, but also to cook dishes that we love in Lebanon.

Abu Adam Dekh, a Lebanese living in Lithuania, already familiar to readers, invites you to cook together this time the main dish of Lebanese cuisine – tabbouleh salad. As the guest of the program says, this is the most important dish on the table, which reveals the diligence of the hostess and the quality of vegetables from her garden. Tabbouleh can be said to be a symbol of the highest quality in Lebanese cuisine.

Although Abu Adam Dayekh has lived longer in Lithuania than in Lebanon, living here would be at least boring without the national dishes of his homeland. He says: “The variety of food in Lebanon is rich, there are lots of vegetables and fruits. The kitchen is very rich, because you can find recipes from many countries around the world. Since the time of the Phoenicians, Lebanon has been the center of the world, where different cultures came and met.”

This is what led to the variety of dishes, says the guest. “You can also notice the differences in the food prevailing in the country: South Lebanon cooks one way, North Lebanon cooks another way. Even the name of the same recipe is different depending on the place,” Abu Adam Dayekh said, talking about the regional differences. And joked that they could have different meals for dinner. And during the year they are different every day, and the same dish can be repeated only after a year.

Costas Kazenas video frame
Costas Kazenas video frame
Costas Kazenas video frame

Remembering his native Lebanon, Abu Adam Dayekh is serious. When he recently returned to Tyre, one of the world’s oldest cities, where he came from, for the first time two years after the pandemic, he noted that much had changed in the country.

“The explosion, the problem of Syrian refugees, economic difficulties, almost half a century of unrest, wars – the whole world knows about it. Therefore, the Lebanese are a strong nation, people are patient, they help each other, they do not leave their neighbors without food or shelter,” visitors say to Lebanon. Many foreigners who come to visit cry when they leave because they see a piece of heaven in a land where people are struggling and poor.”

Abu Adam Dayekh calls Lithuania his second homeland: “I love it very much. My children were born here, I myself lived here longer and grew up more than in Lebanon. I saw how Lithuania has changed since the end of the Soviet Union until now. Lithuania is changing for the better. Other countries in a hundred years. I have repeatedly said that this country has achieved unachieved achievements in thirty years.

Recalling their arrival in Lithuania, the Lebanese say that the Lithuanian people are friendly and receive them very warmly. “I am not interested in what other countries of the world say about Lithuania, because I see the reality in which I live and it is only interesting to me,” says the guest about Lithuania.

Created not only a Lebanese family but also several businesses in Lithuania. Although the cafe has been sold, food production is still an integral part of everyday life. Today, Abu Adam advises to listen to the music of Fairuz, who has become a Lebanese icon and symbol, while cooking and not to forget love, because no one comes to eat food without love.

And this time, the tabbouleh salad is on the plate. The first appearance of this recipe is a simple salad with a few common ingredients: parsley, onion leaves, lettuce, tomatoes, lemons, and bulgur (cracked puffed wheat). Although the ingredients are reduced, Abu Adam assures that the recipe cannot be changed, otherwise it will no longer be a traditional table.

While preparing tabula, the most important thing is to prepare all the ingredients well and properly. As Abu Adam says, the hostess’s love for the dish is expressed by the quality of the food – freshness, taste, texture, proportions: how everything is picked, washed, cut. There are two main flavors in this dish – squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Visitors are reminded that the oldest olive tree in the world grows in Lebanon, so olive oil is the king of the table in Lebanon. And it’s no secret – this salad is a luxurious, festive table dish, perfect for summer and spring.

Recalling the traditions of Lebanese cuisine, Abu Adam says that the main housewife is usually the mother. But everyone helps in the cooking, even the children who run to pick vegetables from the garden. Before the guests arrive, the whole house turns into a beehive, because everyone prepares, cooks together and sits at the table together. The mother is the last to sit at the table – no one starts eating until the hostess is at the table. And after sitting down, it is customary to hand feed each other. Abu Adam says the gesture means a lot in Lebanon.

tables (Tabbouleh) salad

Parsley

Green onion

Tomatoes

Dried or fresh mint

Lemons

Olive oil

salt

The project is partially financed by the Department of National Minorities.

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