April/May 2016 Food

Keeping Family Traditions with Food

Written by Editor

Gracing the cover of this issue are a variety of traditional Lebanese dishes selected and prepared with care by Chef Frankie Harvey. The dishes hold particular significance to Harvey, as both the recipes and the meal itself are a lovingly kept family tradition.

“I’ve handed down everything to my kids that I grew up with, what my mom and her parents that came from Lebanon handed down to us,” Harvey says.

The menu has been crafted through the years to include everyone’s favorites, and featured on the cover are kibbi, Harvey’s favorite dish made of very soft raw ground beef mixed with wheat and spices; tabbouleh, a vegetarian dish with tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, bulgur and mint; hummus and pita bread; stuffed grape leaves; and baklawi, a dessert similar to baklava, but sweetened with simple syrup instead of honey.

At least once a month, Harvey and her family gather to enjoy the comforting flavors of home and each other’s company.

“It’s our time to reconnect,” Harvey says. “It’s safe, it’s full of love, and we can let our hair down and just be ourselves.”

As her mother was one of 13 children, Harvey is no stranger to preparing massive family meals, and credits them as the reason her large family has stayed so close.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 4.02.08 PM
“When I was a kid, all of [the kids] were delegated to the dishes,” Harvey remembers. “But you know, that’s where all of us cousins had fun. We fought, we loved each other, we goofed off. We’d have this massive feast — we’d be cooking for days — and then all of us would clean up together.”

Harvey’s greatest hope is for her children to continue the tradition in their own families, which seems likely given that everyone in the family loves cooking. Cooking is a passion through which you can nurture your family, Harvey says, which is equally as important as the food’s nutritional value.

“I’m feeding them love, I’m feeding them my heart and soul,” Harvey says. “It really means so much to me.”

About the author