"My first taste of Syrian food (or, to be more accurate, fruit) nearly killed me. My mother had just weaned me off milk when she had to leave me with my aunt on the family farm in Syria where we spent our summer holidays. My aunt’s beautiful 19th century stone house was built around a courtyard where my father had his own designated fig tree; and it was the fruit from that tree that Ammto (aunt in Arabic) Zahiyeh decided to give me as my first solid meal, with near-disastrous consequences. Naturally, I don’t remember my near-death experience but, perversely, I like to trace my love of Syrian food to that first meal; and subsequently to all the summers I spent with my aunt eating everything made on the farm, from bread, butter and cheese, to pickles, preserves and sweets. And almost everything she made was different to what my mother and grandmother cooked in Lebanon where we lived the rest of the year."
Beautifully written article by dear Anissa Helou.