"It is a swift introduction to Lebanon geared toward a readership of outsiders and a counterweight to the country's international media profile as a war-torn basket-case. It is a story about farmers and rural food producers. It's a journalistic account of sustainable development and a personal narrative of discovery and deep affection. It is a cookbook, a beauty guide and a how-to reference on the process of harvesting olives from start to finish. It is a source book for those interesting in organic products, replete with maps and lists of olive oil producers, distributors and the non-governmental organizations that serve their interests in Lebanon. It is a quick flip or a long slog, depending on your own interests."
Review of Green Gold, a book written by my friend Sabina Mahfoud, with recipes and photos by my friend Kamal Mzawwak about Lebanese olive oil. Essential reading.
"she asks Bannout if the lunar calendar guides her to her ripest olives and if she picks them under the cover of moonlight. "No, I just squeeze the olives on the tree," Bannout replies bluntly, "and when they are juicy enough I know it's time." No-nonsense farmer 1, high-minded city folk 0."
I couldn't help posting this excerpt from the review. I was present at that hilarious interview with Suhaila Bannout, my cousin, truly a no-nonsense women, and I can confirm that this is exactly what happened.