Alice Kassery Showah was born on July 24, 1925 in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents moved to America from a small village in the southernmost part of Syria, called Soudie, which is now a part of Turkey. Her father died when Alice was only four months old, so her mother moved the family to Connecticut to be near her brother. Alice’s mother worked in a buckle factory to support the family, and Alice was put into daycare from the time she was six months old.
Alice learned to cook for her family by the time she was eleven, and remembers the first time she made bread with her mother. She grew up during the depression, and remembers how she and her uncle would go fishing and then she’d cook the catch, along with rice and lentils (which we’re serving this month).
Alice married her childhood sweetheart when she was twenty and has been married for 58 years. They first met when Alice was eight years old and they had their first date when she was 15. They have 5 children, 7 grandchildren and one great grandson. One day Alice’s granddaughter, Janelle, asked her for some recipes of her favorite dishes. About four years ago, Alice happily obliged and surprised her family with an amazing Christmas present — four booklets of recipes, plus four videotapes with explicit directions on how to make each dish. Thankfully, she lent them to us so we could learn how to prepare some of her specialties which we are serving this month.
Sah-tine (to your health)!
Assorted Syrian Salads
a platter with hummus (pureed chick peas, tahini & garlic), baba ganouj (roasted eggplant, tahini & garlic), tabbouleh (bulgur, parsley, green onion & tomatoes) & mediterranean salad served with warmed pita
Laham be Ajeen – Braised Beef Turnover
crispy phyllo dough filled with braised ground beef, tomatoes, onions, & spices, served with a side of Mediterranean salad
Grilled Eggplant Casserole (Baitinjan Halabi)
eggplant stuffed with ground beef & lamb, baked with green peppers, onions, pine nuts, spices & tomatoes, served with orzo
Baked Pomegranate-Glazed Fish of the Day
with a lentil & rice pilaf, topped with a tomato, pepper & onion compote
phyllo pastry triangle brushed with butter & filled with walnuts & spices