Confessions of a Tabouleh Glutton

I have no idea why we Lebanese love tabouleh so much.

Maybe it’s the zestiness.

My mother’s tabouleh was fantastic–so was my Aunt Samia’s.

There was one big difference though.

Mom put in peas, Aunt Samia didn’t.

As a little boy I remember picking out the peas with my fork, from my mother’s recipe, but still consuming as much as my little stomach could take.

I can still see the little pile of green orbs stacked up like cannonballs on the side of my plate.

There was another oddity in my family, at least I thought it was, until years later, when I did the same thing.

My cousin Linda, instead of eating tabouleh by wrapping it in lettuce leaves, ate it with pita bread.

How dare she?

Linda was right–that’s how I eat it now.

There’s something amazing about the taste of the “zoom” with “khubz”…(zoom means juice–khubz means bread).

My oldest brother Louis suffered from tabouleh gluttony too.

One night, while he was visiting my parents, before I had gotten married and still lived at home, I played a trick on him.

He was a night owl and leftover tabouleh at midnight was like a ritual for him.

Around 10pm, before he came home from hanging out with his local cousins, I found the somewhat opaque Tupperware in the fridge that mom had waiting for her first-born.

You could see the green prize through the plastic.

Like a true glutton, I ate the last remnants–then put a green sponge in the Tupperware, with a note on top that said…”sorry brother–I beat you to it.”

He took the bait, thinking the Tupperware contained something that would fulfill his craving for evening zest.

I think that may have been the first time a tabouleh junkie ever laughed about having to go cold turkey.

I made brother Louis’ day, because I identified both our addictions in a fun way.

We Catholics have prayers at our Masses…one of them is called the Confietor…where we bear our souls in repentence…it feels good to say…here’s one slightly revised–for the Lebanese of course.

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have eaten way too much tabouleh in my life…through my own fault, in my lettuce and in my pita, in parsley stalks I have not carefully picked and others I have failed to wash well enough; In portions I have hidden and mouthfuls I have snuck at midnight…I ask blessed Sittoo with her ever virgin oil, all the angels and saints, and you–my Umoos and Umtees, to pray for me that I won’t over eat it again…no matter how healthy it is…my stomach still has limtations…Amen.



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