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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Middle East & North Africa / If It's September This Must Be Lebanon!
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    If It's September This Must Be Lebanon!

    Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next Page >>
    Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:04 am
    Forum Host

    A unique cultural history has helped to make Lebanese food the most popular of all Middle Eastern cuisines.

    For most of its past, Lebanon has been ruled by foreign powers that have influenced the types of food the Lebanese ate. From 1516 to 1918, the Ottoman Turks controlled Lebanon and introduced a variety of foods that have become staples in the Lebanese diet, including olive oil, fresh bread, baklava (a sweet pastry dessert), laban (homemade yogurt), stuffed vegetables, and a variety of nuts. The Ottomans also increased the popularity of lamb.

    After the Ottomans were defeated in World War I (1914–1918), France took control of Lebanon until 1946, when the country won its independence. During this time, the French introduced some of their most widely eaten foods, particularly as flan, a caramel custard dessert dating back to the 1500s, and buttery croissants.

    The Lebanese themselves have also helped to bring foods of other cultures into their diet. Ancient tribes journeyed throughout the Middle East, carrying with them food that would not spoil easily, such as rice and dates.

    These foods slowly became part of the Lebanese diet. As the tribes wandered, they discovered new seasonings, fruits, and vegetables that they could add to their everyday meals. Exotic ingredients from the Far East (east and southeast Asia) and other areas of the world were often discovered by these early tribes.

    Lebanese Food was always one of the country's principal attractions, and it has now largely passed the borders to become extremely popular in the West. Lebanese cuisine as a whole goes under the heading "health food". It is mostly based on cereals, in the shape of bread, bourghoul (crushed wheat) and rice. A large and varied assortment of vegetables and milk products accompany the above, and meat plays a relatively small part.

    Bread was and still is treasured; it is never thrown away. If it has become truly improper for consumption, it is kissed before being disposed of. Stale bread is grilled in the oven or fried so that it becomes dry and crunchy as cracker; such grilled bread is a tasty variant that enters the composition of several dishes.

    Several foreign dishes, like couscous, French fries and spaghetti, have been imported into the cuisine and thoroughly modified to the point of rivaling the original recipes

    On social occasions, speaking English or French is a sign of culture and social class. The only reference to Arabic is in the latest surge of ‘exotic’ Arabic restaurants. In a country where imported goods are preferred to local ones, these restaurants are imported from a classical past that is very detached from the present.

    The similarities between most Middle Eastern cuisines cannot be denied. With the language of the countries surrounding the eastern and southern Mediterranean being predominantly Arabic, many of the dishes carry the same names from region to region, though they may be prepared or seasoned somewhat differently. Because of this, the cuisines of the Middle East are often sadly lumped into one homogenous category, when in truth they can vary greatly. To view the cuisines of the Middle East as one is like proclaiming that all cuisines of Western Europe are alike.

    Lebanese food, for example, combines the sophistication and subtleties of European cuisines with the exotic ingredients of the Middle and Far East. The cuisine of Lebanon is the epitome of the Mediterranean diet. It includes an abundance of starches, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat, and when red meat is eaten it is usually lamb. It also includes copious amounts of garlic and olive oil - nary a meal goes by in Lebanon that does not include these two ingredients. Most often foods are either grilled, baked or sauteed in olive oil; butter or cream is rarely used other than in a few desserts. Vegetables are often eaten raw or pickled as well as cooked.

    While the cuisine of Lebanon doesn't boast an entire repertoire of sauces, it focuses on herbs, spices and the freshness of ingredients; the assortment of dishes and combinations are almost limitless.

    The meals are full of robust, earthy flavors and, like most Mediterranean countries, much of what the Lebanese eat is dictated by the seasons.

    In Lebanon, very rarely are drinks served without being accompanied by food. One of the more healthy and entertaining aspects of Lebanese cuisine is the manner or custom in which their food is often served, it's referred to as mezze. Similar to the tapas of Spain and antipasto of Italy, mezze is an array of small dishes placed before the guests creating an awe-inspiring array of colors, flavors, textures and aromas. This style of serving food is less a part of family life than it is of entertaining and cafes. Mezze may be as simple as pickled vegetables, hummus and bread, or it may become an entire meal consisting of grilled marinated seafood, skewered meats, a variety of cooked and raw salads and an arrangement of desserts.

    Welcome to Lebanon

    Last edited by Annacia on Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:18 pm, edited 2 times in total
    Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:09 am
    Forum Host
    Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:44 pm
    Forum Host


    Sept 1
    icon_biggrin.gif Annacia icon_arrow.gif Salatah El Loobyea (Lebanese Green Bean Salad) #434359 by Cluich
    icon_biggrin.gif Elmotoo icon_arrow.gif Lebanese Eggplants (Messaka'a) #140968 by Engineer in the Kitchen

    Sept 2
    Mia in Germany icon_arrow.gif Lebanese-Style Spiced Meatballs #433681 by Cookgirl

    Sept 5
    icon_biggrin.gif awalde icon_arrow.gif Lebanese Rose Drink (Sharab Ward) #387336 UmmBinat
    icon_biggrin.gif Annacia - Lebanese Tabbouli #158226 by Chef #297710
    Cookgirl - RecipeLebanese Carrot and Orange Salad #428530 by morgainnegeiser

    Sept. 12

    elmotoo - Fattoush (Lebanese Salad) #170739 by LMillerRN
    icon_biggrin.gif elmotoo - Tiss'ye, Lebanon #486503 by Annacia
    icon_biggrin.gif elmotoo - Lebanese Style Tabouli #476294 by Linky
    icon_biggrin.gif elmotoo - 440522">Lebanese 7 Spice Blend #440522 by Sommer Clary
    icon_biggrin.gif elmotoo - Lebanese Bean Stew #195790 by Engineer in the Kitchen
    icon_biggrin.gif elmotoo - Lebanese Bulgar Cabbage Pilaf #337021 by schmme
    elmotoo - Lebanese Chicken and Rice (Djaj Mah Ruz) #171620 by Alan in SW Florida
    icon_biggrin.gif elmotoo - Lebanese Green Beans, Lubie #389877 by cooking kimmy
    elmotoo - Lebanese Laban Bil Bayd (Eggs in Yogurt Garlic Sauce) #18366 by Bergy
    elmotoo - Lebanese Laban Mutboukh (Cooked Yogurt) #18138 by Bergy
    icon_biggrin.gif elmotoo - Lebanese Lentil and Collards Soup #471150 by *Parsley*
    icon_biggrin.gif elmotoo - Lebanese Rose Drink (Sharab Ward) #387336 by UmmBinat

    icon_biggrin.gif Annacia - Lebanese Style Vegetable Ragout #263951 by Dicentra

    Sept. 17

    icon_biggrin.gif elmotoo - Lebanese Cabbage Salad #227525 by GG#3

    Last edited by Elmotoo on Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:54 pm, edited 8 times in total
    Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:25 pm
    Forum Host
    Welcome Home icon_biggrin.gif wave.gif
    Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:26 pm
    Forum Host
    Annacia wrote:
    Welcome Home icon_biggrin.gif wave.gif

    thank you!
    Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:47 am
    Forum Host
    I'd like to start this visit by tagging:

    Salatah El Loobyea (Lebanese Green Bean Salad) #434359 by Cluich

    Just tag any Lebanese that you would like to try. icon_biggrin.gif
    Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:59 pm
    Forum Host
    tagging Lebanese Eggplants (Messaka'a) #140968 by Engineer in the Kitchen. Eggplants were only .99/lb today!
    Mia in Germany
    Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:34 am
    Forum Host
    Tagging Lebanese-Style Spiced Meatballs #433681 by Cookgirl
    Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:28 am
    Forum Host
    Good Morning Elmo and Mia wave.gif

    This should be a fun exploration as all I know about Lebanon is Danny Thomas (anyone else old enough to remember him?) and the horrible war that pretty much destroyed Beirut.
    Mia in Germany
    Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:38 am
    Forum Host
    wave.gif Morning!

    I know about the war but not Danny Thomas. And the mother of a friend of mine used to stay there for some time as an English professor.
    Not really much about a whole country...
    Also I have a booklet with recipes from Lebanon.
    Mia in Germany
    Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:39 am
    Forum Host
    O.K., that's what I got from the search on
    Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:52 am
    Forum Host
    Mia in Germany wrote:
    O.K., that's what I got from the search on

    Thanks hon icon_biggrin.gif
    Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:54 am
    Forum Host
    Last nights dinner included:

    Salatah El Loobyea (Lebanese Green Bean Salad) #434359 by Cluich

    Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:25 pm Groupie
    wave.gif Elmotoo, Mia, Annacia and all are reading here!

    I'm here back after my vacations and ZWT!

    I would like to tag: Lebanese Rose Drink (Sharab Ward) #387336 UmmBinat
    This looks and sounds refreshing!
    Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:13 pm
    Forum Host
    Oooh, love Lebanese food and their people!

    Will be back to tag something!
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