Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

What a Day!

It’s not even ten am yet and already I have been hard at work on the computer, but am not yet dressed!

First thing–saw that Silver Birch has posted my poem What we took with us when we moved, as a part of their moving day series–warning, this one is sad.

Then, I opened my gmail account and there were the page proofs for Summer in a Bowl!!!!
Amazing work by the artist Rebecca Zeissler.
Countdown to publication day of September 30!!!!!!
You can order the book now , pre-order on THEAQLLC, Amazon and BN
Those who pre-order before the launch date of September 30 can email me a copy of the receipt and be in a drawing to win a copy (signed) of the first book in the series, WHOOSH!
There is a recipe in the back of this one and gardening tips

To Fly

My essay To Fly is featured in this month’s issue of sasee.
Read it,and leave comments if you like it, please, at www.sasee.com


Making Mamool

The mold. It's wooden and the design inside signifies that this one is for dates

The mold. It’s wooden and the design inside signifies that this one is for dates

Forgive me for the spelling. This cookie has very special meaning for me. I made it over Christmas, but it is not a Christmas cookie. It is a memory. This cookie honors my Grandmother and all of the ways she taught me to love people from various backgrounds through her own friendships with many people–including the Syrian family who owned a restaurant in Pittsburgh. The family bought from our store so we ate there now and then–without my father, because he did not like lamb–their specialty. After dinner, my mother would go to the count

the dough. Needs to rest 2 hours to overnight

the dough. Needs to rest 2 hours to overnight

the raw cookies on a silpat, already stuffed with walnuts and dates

the raw cookies on a silpat, already stuffed with walnuts and dates

after the snowfall--cooked, cooled, and sugared

after the snowfall–cooked, cooled, and sugared

er to pay and my grandma would chat with the owner’s mother, another grandma. I was, of course, fascinated by the cookies in the counter display by the register. (The restaurant served triple duty as a Middle eastern Pastry shop and tea parlor). The other Grandma would always offer me a cookie–to take home because I never had room for dessert after the wonderful lamb (my favorite meat) dinners. Grandma’s friend told me the name of each cookie. I knew the baclava and liked it, but the powdered sugar of the mamool always drew me. I never learned the code–the design on the top tells you if they are date filled or walnut filled or something else, but I was never disappointed since I love all of those things.

I bought a mold in Pittsburgh’s Stripp District (fruits and veggies and ethnic markets) for “date” mamool. I transgressed the code and filled mine with dates and nuts. The recipe  was something else. I looked up recipes online ( I made some years ago but they had too much rosewater in them and I didn’t like them). My Syrian friend Muna contributed her recipe and I followed it with a few slight alterations. But with the mold, my friend Muna’s encouragement, and the thought of my Grandma close in my heart–even though I appeared to be alone, I enjoyed the company of my dear departed, my friend so far away, and the knowledge that my daughter would love these since they are full of sugar. Women laughing–past , present, future. Friends. Loved ones.

So, share with me now, the pictorial saga of my cookie making venture that stretched across cultures and across time to bring something sweet into the world. If only people’s thoughts could be as good.

Deadlines are Great!

Nothing revs up my creative juices more than a deadline! Right now I am behind my self set deadline on my second book in the Legacy of Honor Series, but I still on track to meet my publishers deadline–deadlines within deadlines. Just a bit more to go to finish up the story of Sal and Gina, “Letters from Korea”. (Set in Pittsburgh in the 1950s)

Do you use deadlines to help spur your creative juices? Last year I participated in the poetry segment of Na no mo. I wrote a poem a day–some of them were pretty awful but several have made it to publication after much revision. Others are still in the  notebook, waiting for revision or to be passed over as simply a thought, tho even those might someday become a part of something larger.

This year I am going to try the na no mo for a young adult novel that has been on my mind and heart.

I’ll use this blog to keep you posted–but meanwhile I had better get going on “Letters”

Sorry I skipped the food blog this week–gearing up again after the break .