As it turns out, far more than I could have imagined. What a curious world.
But for me, this return to Arabic cooking became more than a culinary experiment, or even a health experiment. It quickly also became a meditation on my own criss-crossed cultural identity, and the emerging cultural identity of my own children. I found myself re-asking all of the painful questions that I had avoided for most of my life: Since I am both Arab and American, can I ever really be either? Am I even Arab enough to engage in this experiment - can I ever be authentic enough to cook authentically?
In the early dawn hours of reflections, here is what has come to me.