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Posts Tagged ‘Umm Hassane’

Cooking your way through the war gorged Middle East and living to write about it turns out to be not only possible but entertaining.  Now that Annia Ciezadlo has done it, it is not recommended for anyone else..  The book is Day of Honey: A Memoir Of Food, Love, And War.  The author is an American journalist who married an American educated Lebanese journalist, and together they shuffled off to Baghdad in 2003, and spend the next six years either in Baghdad or Beirut, sometimes separated but often together.

She survived by learning the foods of both countries, aggressively reaching out to citizens and members of the press community for friendship, and accommodating her very prickly Lebanese in-laws.  This is not to say she was not abused and deeply stressed by the violent conflicts and sectarian hatred.  Even by her own account she came near a breakdown.

So the book is a surprise.  It is a happy account of learning and enjoying national cuisine, and if you want to continue the pleasure, the book ends with recipes, a food bibliography, and a list of food websites.

If one happens to be compiling a list of books with memorable mothers-in-law, this title must be added.  Umm Hassane takes no prisoners.  Charles Marlin

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