In 1945 on this day in a small mountain village in Syria a little girl as born late at night. Little did anyone know that her soul would have repercussions almost half way around the world for longer than her life would even allow.
She was the second born of five siblings and her mother died when she was only 9 years old. Her mother left my mother to care for her younger brother, two youngest sisters and her father. That ended her ability to any education while she spent her days learning how to cook and maintain her family’s home. At about the same time a few villages away a young man prepares to leave for America. The son of an immigrant who first immigrated to the United States in the late 1800′s and worked for Ford Corporation on the Model T, the Columbus Cast Iron Stove Company and running his own shoe repair shop and becoming a naturalized citizen before finally returning to Syria to get married and have 9 of his own children. This young man came to America as on a U.S. Passport as he and all his siblings were registered as American citizens at birth by their father.
Ten years later he returns to Syria successful with his own landscaping business to find that little 9 year old girl is now a beautiful young woman and asks for her hand in marriage. They were married and he returns to the States to prepare for her arrival. A few months later she is on her way as well, not knowing how to read or write or speak any language other than Arabic. She boards a flight for Paris France that is delayed and so she misses her connecting flight for the U.S.. The airline puts her up for the night in a hotel but forgets to get her in the morning and so she has to wait another day. All the while she is frightened and does not know who to talk to nor could she even if she could. The next morning the airline representative that comes to get her just happened to be a Lebanese man who speaks to her and finds out she hasn’t eaten anything in two days. Before she boards the plane this gentleman takes her to the hotel restaurant and makes sure she gets a meal she would eat and finally puts her on her flight.
Once in the United States, my father gathers her up at LAX and they make their way to a small rented home in North Hollywood. A year later I was born.
She brought with her an old world tradition of cooking everything from scratch and growing your own food on your own land. My two parents did just that.
My Father, God rest his soul, passed away in a work related accident when I was 11 years old. My mother took his death very hard and almost did not make it but after a year my mother and two brothers were back on our own. She raised three boys single handed and through it all managed to keep us in line free from all the troubles that three boys could get into.
My mother was a generous soul and found solace in cooking and feeding people. Never did family or friends visit that they did not leave our home with either home grown fruit or vegetables or some home cooked food in their arms. She was most famous for her Syrian Bread. If we had the wherewithal we should have opened for her a bakery, but nonetheless, the legend of her hearty bread still lives on in my family. My mother, God rest her soul, passed away in 2003 after battling ovarian cancer for 3 years. Her passing broke our family’s heart. She was the healthiest living person we knew, it boggles our minds to this day how this evil disease found its way into her.
On this day, in honor of my mother’s birthday I pulled out her secrete bread recipe and did my best to replicate her famous bread. I was about 90% successful. Although it tasted the same I think I was a little short on water as the dough did not have the same pliable texture that she showed me when she taught me how to make it.
As the bread’s aroma filled the house my kids came streaming into the kitchen recalling their grandmother’s kitchen. So for the love of my dear mother, who saved my soul in ways that I cannot even express, this post and the bread that I made today goes out to her. I love you Mom!
To all my readers, honor your mother today, if she is still alive or has parted from this world, honor her. She has done more for you than you can possibly imagine.