just like ma3moul
just like Easter 
just like my mom did every Good Friday morning
just like Sitto used to make this time 
just like making regular kebi nayi
just like mom’s picked leaves from our grapevine
just like my original cabbage rolls 
just like his mom’s 
just like mama used to make for us 
just like buying from the فرن بلبنان 
just like the old days 
just like we remember
just like tata used to make 
just like to share
just like my grandpa 
just like sitto many years ago
just like the one at Burj Al Hamam
just like us
just like the usual 
just like the one you used 
just like i did previously
just like traditional 
just like a shot of arek 
just like home
Never ever had or seen tabouli with cucumbers
Never double up the dough 
Never stopped making it
Never had a complaint
Never put onions in
Never throw away 
Never fried
Never is
Never enough
Never made it
Never mastered 
Never liked it as a kid
Never make it with cumin
Never got the hang of throwing the dough over our arms
Always use standard measuring cups
Always happiest when cooking
Always make for Ramadan
Always put pine nuts in
Always tastes best
Always does
Always hated it
Always use lamb
Always hits the spot
Always adds lemon zest
Always work with best friends
Always reminds me of the summer months
Always stock up on flour and Zaatar w zeit

  I could
smell it 

as fast
I could
 all the 
I lost it 
when I 
I was
at -

I should have
I should have cooked it for a lot less 
I should have clarified
I should have let the grapes grow
I should have wrote it down
I should have asked sooner
I should have offered
I should have paid more attention
I should have used coriander
I should have shared
I should have known
I should have helped her more, these are hard to get just right
I ate 2 grape leaves, the tart mixed with the greif.
The rest sat in my fridge for 3 weeks; a reminder of

something I would never have again
a failed expectation I had for myself
time continuing to pass
An inventory of my fridge(/pantry) 2 days after she died
Q: What does a condolence taste like
Sour Punch Straws
Grape Leaves
Evan Williams
Thai Iced Tea
Summer Rolls
Butterfinger Bar
Espresso Pods
Split Pea Soup
Spinach Pie
You invited me to come for dinner. I asked what I could bring, you told me not to worry about it before sending a frantic text asking if I by chance had a cucumber. 
I showed up early and barely peeled off my outside clothes before being put to work.
You had started all of the difficult work but still had tasks for me-

I grated cucumber and chopped cilantro
You gathered yogurt and spices
We talked about the women in our families and
how effortless cooking after a day of work had once seemed
You fumbled through a stack of spice 
containers, adding each from memory while I folded in the yogurt.
You held out a spoon for me to taste each part of the meal and give feedback
This time, I paused.




I can’t explain it
I’m working on it 
But for now I can always
Soak bulgur

    Chop tomatoes

Chop scallions chop

Chop parsley chop chop

Chop mint

        Juice lemons


    Let sit

                                           Let it become more saturated,
And then I can eat,
I can remember that 
some things will stay familiar
even as I change
I can exercise belief in futurity 

- can give my body nutrients
 for another day
I can share with someone new

 - can attempt to let them in
 on what I can’t yet explain

This work is dedicated to the Lebanese Cooking Recipes and Tips group that has
 provided me with an online community, affirmation, guidance, and some of the text in this book. 
( just like, never, always, home, i should have, next time)
You taught me the political and emotional potential of a meal- the way it could hold memories, diffuse tensions, flatten time, create connection, and so much more. For all of the grief, love, care, disgust, humor, and patience you shared with your tips- Thank You, يعطيك العافية
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