I had this post scheduled for last Friday, but it suddenly sounded trivial in light of the recent tragic events in Paris, so I sat on it for a little while.
I was going to write about shopping, and the little Scandinavian café near Place de la République where I learned the French word for barley – orge, and thought of this salad.
The thing is, we live this world where deplorable incidents like these, sadly happens too often, except it usually happens to ‘other people‘ in ‘other places‘. The terror becomes more jarring and horrifying when it occurs in familiar places… in cities you love or in the same streets and cafés you were in just a month ago.
What I know is that Paris will recover from this, it always has; the past and the thousands of plaques, monuments and memorials marking the city‘s history tell us that it has survived worst, its motto after all is “Tossed But Not Sunk (Fluctuat nec mergitur)”.
I wish there was a way to figure out this madness, then I remembered a quote from a book I read a long time ago that said, “There’s no way for people to stop hurting each other except to stop”.
If you’ve been hanging out here with me for a while, you’ve probably noticed my deep fondness for Middle Eastern flavours. I’m naturally drawn to the warm heady spices and herbs found in classic Middle Eastern cooking, there’s just something about them that make my palate sing with delight! Harissa, sumac, baharat, cardamom and turmeric are just a few of my go-to spices when cooking.
There’s a little corner store in my neighbourhood that carries all sorts of Middle Eastern (and European) foods; olives, Persian flatbread, preserved lemons, hummus, saffron, etc., it’s a food lovers paradise, a wonderful place to discover and experiment with spices like Aleppo pepper and pilpelchuma; it was here that we discovered ghormeh sabzi, the Persian green stew that has become a household staple.
I had a particularly delicious rice and lentil dish at a friend’s house recently. Our host before we sat down to dinner, apologized because she said she’d been running late and had rushed through preparing the meal.
It was a simple mujadara with about the same ratio of rice to lentils, and tons of crispy fried onions piled atop with specks of sundried tomatoes – maybe it was because I went in without any expectation, but it turned out to be the most spectacular mujadara I’ve ever had!
I told this to our host, who brushed me off, and modestly suggested it was the lentil, “Please… it’s not like you can really screw up lentils!” she said.
My first trip to Paris, the bus (Les Cars) from Roissy dropped us off at the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées stretched before us in all its tree-lined splendour, and I couldn’t think of a more magnificent introduction to the city.
We walked down the grand avenue that morning towards the Obelisk and fountains at the Place de la Concorde, weaving in and out of stores and stopping for crepes on the way.
At the Tuileries, we meandered through meticulously landscaped gardens with ponds and sculptures, struck by their incomparable beauty.
Things have been a little quiet around here; I’ve returned from a wonderful little vacation, where I unfortunately could not keep up with posting on here like I’d intended.
As it is with most vacations these days, we tried to fit too many activities into too few days, but we did manage to have an amazing time being inspired by wonderful discoveries and connecting with friends and family.
I returned home motivated, a little changed in a way only travel can change one, and surprisingly refreshed; also, I must have taken over a thousand photos, which I’m very excited to share with you, but before I do that, let’s make some cookies!