Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: From blog to cookbook

Posted by Foodie Daily

[L]ebanese food is all about love,” asserts Maureen Abood, author of Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: ClassicMaureenAboodforRPcatalog2 (1)

Recipes from my Lebanese Kitchen. “Its finest ingredients are the stories woven into every recipe.”

Based on her popular blog, Rose Water and Orange Blossoms is a love letter to the food and culture of Lebanon.

“I started the blog as a way to delve more deeply into Lebanese cuisine,” explains Abood. “I realized my passion had always been firmly rooted in this food and way of life.”

That passion was so compelling it uprooted Abood from a marriage and career in Chicago and relocated her in cooking school in San Francisco.

“I had studied English Literature in school and kept finding myself circling back to my grandmother’s kitchen. We would cook together and I was always inspired and renewed.”After completing her degree, Abood found herself in a life that did not fit her. Her sister had gifted her with a candy making class and it was there that she first felt the seeds of her culinary imagination begin to take root.

Inspired by the class and eager to make a change, Abood exited her marriage and job in Chicago and headed to the foggy and exhilarating city of San Francisco. She enrolled in culinary school and took time to rediscover, and reimagine, herself and what she really wanted out of life.

“Being alone for the first time in San Francisco,” Abood reflects, “I realized growing up in a big family I had never really experienced the solo time I needed to understand who I was and what I really wanted to do.”

Chicken-Shawarma-Maureen-AboodAs Abood embraced the exciting culinary world and found herself surrounded by scents, and tastes, and experiences that awakened an essential part of herself, she found herself trusting her instincts and herself. A lot of that was because, as Abood learned, becoming a chef was really about learning to cook without using recipes. A perfect metaphor her own life, as she struggled to find her path and passion, to live by feel and taste, modifying and mixing it up along the way.

Abood completed her training and found herself coming full circle back to her roots, moving into her family’s summer cottage in the northern Michigan town of Harbor Springs.

“I knew I could go there and write, that I would have the time and clarity and inspiration to delve deeply into Lebanese cuisine and writing,” Abood explains.

Harbor Springs turned out to be fertile ground in many ways. She reconnected with an old family friend, fell in love, and got married. Her blog also took off and proved to be a perfect showcase for her love of Lebanese food, for writing, and for her beautiful photography.

The blog was so successful it was picked up for publication and the resultant and eponymously named cookbook Rose Water and Orange Blossoms is a gorgeous collection of recipes, stories, and menu ideas. Abood takes care to make sure the recipes are all approachable while maintaining their authentic flavors and preparations. In addition, she teaches classes and posts videos on her blog helping her readers understand the nuances and flavors unique to this cultural tradition.

A lush ode to a sumptuous cuisine, Abood’s passion for her family and its roots are felt in every recipe and every story in her evocative and enchanting cookbook. She makes you feel at home, imagining yourself joining her at her abundant table, feeling the generous spirit so indicative of Lebanese hospitality, of food meant to be shared. This spirit of a hospitality perfumes the very essence of Lebanese food and of a culinary tradition meant to be shared.