A third-generation Lebanese American, Mary Ann is a consummate New Yorker. What is most surprising about her is that she has a deeper hunger for her roots in Lebanon than one would expect of someone removed from them for these many generations.
Her love for Lebanon and the region is one that transcends religion, politics, and societal connections. Hers is love that is based on history, culture, and that which may never be appreciated through mortal words: that which comes alive when dining, traveling, and sharing with others the many layers of magic that form the cuisine and life of the people of this great region.
On Saturday, the dining room table, a large farm table (10' x 4'), became a stunning, sensual statement of the richness that joins the people and cultures of the Middle East and North Africa together, even when separated by religious and political lines. The table was shimmering with the glow that bounced from the reflective quality of some of the foods, the whiteness of other dishes, and of course the brilliance that takes shape when using glass dishes to serve most of the foods.
With tastes small and large, I know all at our table were transported into another era, into another geographic setting, and certainly have been left to rethink any generalizations they had accepted in their minds as being true of life and culture in the Middle East and North Africa.