Middle Eastern Feast: A Story In Photos

You guys! I’ve had this post about my dad’s visit to Vermont—and the subsequent Middle Eastern feast—in my drafts since November 3, 2015.

That was 876 days ago.

I started the post and forgot it among the other posts floundering in my drafts folder.I decided to share these photos now because they’re such a lovely representation of how food brings everyone together. And, if I’m being completely honest, I could really go for some stuffed grape leaves and my dad’s grain-free pita bread right now.

You can tell it was a long time ago because my hair wasn’t past my shoulders, and we were in small-town Vermont with our friend Tillie (who has long hair in the pics but now rocks a buzz cut). Dave hadn’t yet completed his master’s program, and our move to Prague was still being planned.

Once Upon a Time…

My dad was attending a baking class at King Arthur Flour. He spent a week studying with the baking masters there, kneading and shaping dough all day. We decided to cook a Middle Eastern feast together and invite a few friends. Dad kicked off the meal with a toast.


After baking in class all day, he came home to our kitchen and made the grain-free pita bread you see in the photos with cassava flour. It puffed up beautifully and had a satisfyingly chewy bite.


Like me, my dad’s favorite photo pose is “mean face.”


On the menu: Turkish Chopped Salad, hummus, slow-cooked lamb, Lebanese Onion & Parsley Salad, and rice.


Oh! I almost forgot: We had stuffed grape leaves, too! Don’t be put off by the onion salad; it magically becomes more than the sum of its parts. Try it!


I am a super-bossy hostess! This is me, explaining all the dishes to our guests. Not everyone grew up in a house where hummus and baba ghanoush were regularly on the menu.


The lamb was super tender and ridiculously easy. You don’t even need a recipe. Plunk lamb shoulder cubes in the slow cooker and sprinkle with salt and pepper; 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper per 1 pound of meat. Cook on low until fall-apart tender, then spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and zap under the broiler for a few minutes until crisp. You get the best of both worlds: tender inside, crunchy bits on the outside.


It was really fun to eat my dad’s pita bread and hummus.


We made this hummus recipe, and it was like eating garlicky clouds.


This pretty much sums up how I felt about the food and the company.

The end.

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