Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Syrian Cooking

Today I have a very strange breakfast to share with you and some great books! For breakfast today, I’m having stuffed grape leaves. It’s not really a breakfast food, but I eat these anytime. I’m Syrian from my grandfather’s side and stuffed grape leaves are something I grew up eating. When grape leaves are in season I try to make as many as I can because they’re fresh and taste delicious. I was always told not to cut leaves after July 4th because they are tougher. I have cooked them after this point, but they’re so much better in June. I made these yesterday and will eat them a few more times throughout the next few days. I might only get one more cutting.

Orlando1lbJar_large.jpegAs a child I never really enjoyed going out to pick grape leaves. I grew up in the city and when it was time to pick leaves we would go out and do some searching, often finding good vines on the side of roads. There was a huge area that would grow right on the edge wall of our church parking lot. I always thought this was ironic! If you can’t find them fresh, you can buy them in a jar. I’ve done this many times and they taste great.

When I moved to the country, I couldn’t understand why we didn’t have any grape leaves growing in our woods. I knew so many people around our area who would have them growing up a single tree on their properties and I didn’t have one vine. I started looking online to see if I could buy some seeds. I couldn’t find anything. Then one day while I was walking around outside, I found this vine growing up alongside this small dead tree. I couldn’t believe it. They were small and new, but the following year they would be perfect, and they were wonderful and huge that following year. As time has gone by, there are more grapevines growing all over around my house. I think this is the coolest thing. They come up every year and I look forward to it. Here’s a picture of the first vine. It’s growing beautifully on this dead tree. I think it’s so beautiful the way they grow up and then cascade down again.

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Wizards and Witches – Time-Life Books -Enchanted World Series #1

I learned about this Time-Life Enchanted World Series after Stacy and I did an interview with Katherine Arden, author of The Bear and the Nightingale. The author had mentioned reading these when she was a kid and I couldn’t wait to discover the set of books.

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My collection so far – 17 volumes

I was really surprised that I’d never even seen this series when I was younger, but once I started reading a few of them I quickly realized that there’s no way these books would’ve ever been allowed into my house growing up. It’s a set of 21 volumes and I’ve been working to complete my set by purchasing a volume here and there. Some of of the volumes are more expensive than others. They don’t seem to be numbered in any way. I decided to start with Wizards and Witches by Brendan Lehane and so I’m titling this volume #1.

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The Wizard and Witches volume is split into 3 sections – Singers at the World’s Dawn, Masters of Forbidden Arts and The Shadowy Sisterhood. It begins with Finnish Folklore about Väinämöinen and discusses other wizards including the Wizard of Kiev, Merlin, Math and Gwydion to name a few. The Forbidden Arts discusses satanic servants, tarot cards, goblins and more. The book ends discussing white and black witchcraft.

I really wasn’t pleased with the book, however, I did enjoy some of the artwork. It seems to be written well and the pictures contain captions and quotes.

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