Barbara Abdeni Massaad

Barbara at shorkk's market stall in Bristol

Guardian of Lebanese culinary heritage

One of the most beautiful Lebanese cookbooks we bought on leaving Lebanon was Mezze. It summed up Lebanon in a nutshell -healthy food and creativity. Barbara Abdeni Massaad wrote Mezze while Lebanon was experiencing a period of calm. Her friend, Pascale Hares’ wonderful illustrations also reflect the brighter days of Lebanon. So we were thrilled when she agreed to come to Bristol to talk about Lebanon, her new cookbook, Forever Beirut and do a cooking demo at Papadeli. 

As one of the founders of Slow Food Beirut, Barbara works tirelessly to promote the traditions which make Lebanon’s cuisine the envy of the world. Barbara is, as one of her supporters Alice Waters says, “the custodian of a wonderfully rich culture”. Her short film The lost cheese of the Lebanese mountain captures a way of life under threat of extinction today in Lebanon. Being a photographer, she conveys her love of Lebanon with particular poignancy in the images which illustrate her books.

Despite the difficulties involved in living in Lebanon at the moment, she is determined to stay for as long as she can. Her dogs and cats are a huge part of her life, as is her garden. We look forward to welcoming her back to Bristol one day soon. 

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