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Lebanese garlic sauce

As many people can attest, I am an excellent cook. I can make almost any recipe, and have it come out fantastic. I can even, when inspired, improvise the best of recipes. The way I look at it is that cooking is an art-form that can be learned. Usually, I will know what a recipe needs by smell, sight, or taste. So far, it's been good. But, I have finally found a recipe that's driving me insane! It's probably one of the easiest recipes ever, but for me, it just does not work.

That recipe is the Lebanese garlic sauce. It's not just any sauce. The finished product is supposed to look like whipped cream. The instructions are very simple. Crush a bunch of garlic with salt. Drizzle oil and lemon juice, and mix into the garlic, until you get the consistency of whipped cream.


This is the second time that I have tried to make it, all to no avail. It's a very tricky recipe, because if not done properly, it just falls apart, and the sauce will refuse to thicken.

I just tried to make it today, and after putting it through three different blenders, I just gave up! That sink on the left was clean when I started. I literally went into a frenzy, and was cursing things, and yelling at things.

Finally, I added some cream, and some mayonnaise, and that seemed to thicken it. And, although the finished product tastes right, it looks completely wrong!

I just remembered that someone mentioned to me a while back that you're supposed to mix it with some mashed potatoes. I'm going to try that, and see if it works.This is so frustrating!

There is a path of destruction wherever this recipe goes.

I will conquer it yet!

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For many years, my music has enjoyed a special, and especially gratifying, association with the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish. Our respective corpora have grown to be reminiscent of each other, so that the name of each of the twain, instantly and without reflection, would evoke the name of the other. How very appropriate, for all of my musical milestones that punctuate my thirty-year career, beginning with Promises of the Storm and culminating with The Doves Fly, are graced with the lyricism and poignancy that are uniquely Darwishian. Even before we got to know each other personally, I felt as though Darwish’s poetry, with its divine assertiveness and prophetic cadences, had been revealed to me and for me. I could nearly savor his mother’s bread that has become iconic to his readers. I could feel the eyes of his Rita as deeply as I could feel the pain that his Joseph suffered at the hands of his treacherous siblings, and I could identify with his passport, which I fancied carried my picture, just as personally as I could identify with his olive grove, his sand, and his sparrows. They were all, at a personal level, mine.

“And I adore my life because if I die I will be ashamed of my mother’s tears”- Darwish
Perhaps, this is the only time that Mahmoud Darwish felt ashamed and it is because he departed before his mother. He left her the tears to shed but not a poem to eulogize him with. I am the one who carried his poetry and traveled with it to far away places. I am the one who carried his soil and longing to his mother, his Rita, his olive tree and grape vine. Would you believe me when I say to you that poets do not die, but only pretend to?
Marcel Khalife
Nagam Cultural Project

Mahmoud Darwish has died

Mahmoud Darwish, one of the most prolific, talented, inspiring, humanistic, and political poets in the Arab world has died today. I read his work growing up, and was very happy to see his work finally put to music by Marcel Khalife this past year.

Who will be left when all the Darwishes, and the Qabbanis are gone? Where is the next generation of poets? Today's youth is being numbed by trivialities, and distractions. Where are the great poets? I guess it is up to people like Marcel Khalife and Kazem el Saher to immortalize them, and introduce them to this idiotic generation.

Darwish died during an operation in Houston, TX. His death was probably far from being "blue, like stars pouring from a window".

For more of his poetry, click here.

Here is one of his poems:

They Would Love To See Me Dead

They would love to see me dead, so they say: He belongs to us, he is ours.

For twenty years I have heard their footsteps on the walls of the night.

They open no door, yet here they are now. I see three of them:

A poet, a killer, and a reader of books.

Will you have some wine? I asked.

Yes, they answered.

When do you plan to shoot me? I asked.

Take it easy, they answered.

They lined up their glasses all in a row and started singing for the people.

I asked: When will you begin my assassination?

Already done, they said ... Why did you send your shoes on ahead to your soul?

So it can wander the face of the earth, I said.

The earth is wickedly dark, so why is your poem so white?

Because my heart is teeming with thirty seas, I answered.

They asked: Why do you love French wine?

Because I ought to love the most beautiful women, I answered.

They asked: How would you like your death?

Blue, like stars pouring from a window—would you like more wine?

Yes, we'll drink, they said.

Please take your time. I want you to kill me slowly so I can write my last

poem to my heart's wife. They laughed, and took from me

only the words dedicated to my heart's wife.

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