Not for the pretty pictures…

Don’t read this post for pretty pictures, or for perfectly arranged food on a plate just to wet your appetite.

Read it to remember that food is an essential part of our life, our culture, our well-being and what makes family come together at least once a day.


Read it because some parts of the world have forgotten what that means – eating a warm bowl of food as a family – because children don’t have a home to come back to, or worse, don’t have parents to cook for them.

Read it to remember that we are all the same… that Jews, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Sunnis, Shiites, Alevis, Kurds – people belong to some group or another but they take the same ingredients, cook it a bit differently, spice it up a bit unexpectedly.

And serve it with the same great enthusiasm and call you to come around the table.


I hope you get curious about other kitchens, about other women who are stirring a pot of dish while a thousands of worries fly in their mind about their families, about other men who are wondering if they can keep their family safe, and secure one more meal for them.

The food and cooking can get messy. So is life! Let’s get hungry…hungry to learn more, to understand more, to ask and listen more.


Bulgur-Ground Beef Pie

From Aromas of Aleppo by Poopa Dweck


  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 3/4 cup pinenuts
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 2 cups of fine bulgur (cracked wheat) rinsed in cold water and drained
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 1 onion, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste (I used 1 tablespoon red pepper paste)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper ( or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or add more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350F .

To make the filling: Saute the chopped onions in oil. Once onions are translucent, add pinenuts and saute for another minute on medium heat. Add ground beef and saute while breaking up the chunks. After it is cooked, add the spices to taste, set aside.

To make the pie: Combine ground beef and bulgur , pass it through a food mill or food processor for a minute. In a medium bowl, mix the beef-bulgur mixture with grated onion, tomato paste and spices.

Grease a 12-inch round baking dish or 9×13 inch rectangular pan. Divide the pie crust in half, pat one half down on the bottom of the dish. Spread the filling evenly over it and cover with the remaining crust.

Cut into wedges or squares. Cut up the butter into small pieces and place it evenly over the crust.

Bake it for an hour. Serve with yogurt, or yogurt-tahini mixture if you would like.

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