While in Richmond for the wedding, I asked my grandmother to help me learn some of her cooking. I grew up eating this stuff, and it has deep meaning for me. It's to the point that feeding people is a way of showing them my love. I think it's the same for her, and I've watched her feed & otherwise care for us all for many years.
I wasn't able to do as much hands-on as I had hoped, because I was chasing my 3 kids around and needed to spend time with other family. Still, I got to learn more about how to make these dishes:
When we got back home, I first made a batch of hummos, which turned out awesome. I particularly like hearing Dylan say "hummos". I also cheated at making lebneh, by just straining Strauss whole milk yogurt. Good news, though: it's really good yogurt, so the result was very tasty lebneh. Unfortunately the food co-op put Strauss yogurt on sale, so now they're out of stock.
Yesterday I made wara' dawali. It turned out really good, especially considering it was the first time I made it on my own. I particularly liked the fact that it tasted like what I grew up with, which is different than what you get at retaurants around here. I used way, way too much salt, but still not as much as my grandmother!
I still have some leaves left (I ran out of rice, and couldn't stuff them), and I need to figure out how to get brown rice to cook well in this context (my family always uses Uncle Ben's converted), so more practice to come.
I look forward to making this dish for friends.