Lucien Samaha Archive  |  The Lebanon Section  |  Determining the Dates

Clue: Laurel leaves and beefsteak tomatoes.

For as long as I remember, and even if I didn't, there are plenty of photographs of the family dressed up on Sundays, and whether we went to church or not, we would go to one of numerous massive outdoor restaurants and indulge in typical Lebanese fare starting with an incredible Mezze of literally dozens of appetizer plates until one couldn't breathe anymore, and then, yes then, the family patriarch would order if not one, two or three main courses that usually came in copious portions, to be followed by fresh fruit and then dessert. All of this quenched by Arak, the national Lebanese alcoholic beverage that is clear in the bottle but turns milky when mixed with water.


Of course, as a child and weather permitting, we did this weekly with Ammo Robert and Tante Loulou, driving in his then brand new Vauxhall to either of two of the most famous such restaurants in Lebanon, the Berdawni in Zahle, or Fawar Antelias.  That was in the 1960's. In the 1990's Loulou and Robert had a new favorite haunt, Nahr, in Baqaata.