During the summer of 2016, the Kalil family gathered in (where else?) the kitchen with one goal in mind: to document as many of our recipes as possible in just one weekend. Yes, they’ve been shared before—scribbled onto scraps of paper or typed into an email—and yes, we know many of them by heart—or our own interpretations of them, anyway. They’ve been enjoyed by countless guests at our family’s restaurants, they’ve been the basis of a successful wholesale business, and they’ve made an appearance again and again on our own tables. But the recipes we were raised on have never been gathered into one place until now.
The gathering—both of the recipes and the family—wasn’t an easy undertaking, but it has absolutely been a rewarding one. In the process of producing this blog we’ve learned new things about the foods we love and the people who make them. We’ve remembered stories that haven’t come to mind in years. And we’ve revisited moments with loved ones that are integrally and unforgettably tied to the dishes—their dishes—we continue to enjoy in their absence.
“Preservation” is a word that’s frequently mentioned when discussing food, and it’s a word that has proven to be a key impetus for this project. We want to remember the way Steve layers his Baklava tray. We want our Tabbouleh to turn out exactly like Therese’s. Most importantly, we want to savor the stories and memories that bring richness to the table anytime family is gathered, no matter what’s on the menu.
It took 36 hours, 7 family members, 3 grocery stores, 1 Middle Eastern market, a very helpful canine cleaning assistant, weeks of independent recipe proofing, and over 1,000 photos to produce the posts housed on this blog. Other things we’d recommend having on hand if you attempt all of these recipes in one weekend like we did: a completely empty refrigerator!
Have a recipe or a story that you’d like to contribute to Kalils in the Kitchen? Send your ingredients, directions, photos, and/or family history notes to firstname.lastname@example.org to have your content considered for the blog!
A few helpful navigation hints before you dig into the preparation process:
1. Here’s a Tip. This symbol indicates the presence of a tip! To display the helpful information housed inside the icon, click the fork and knife symbol with your mouse (or tap it with your finger if you’re using a touchscreen device). When you’re finished reading the tip, move your mouse off the icon or tap the text box to make it disappear.
2. Stock Your Pantry. Having trouble identifying or purchasing an obscure-sounding ingredient? Stop by The Pantry. This page includes images of specialty supplies and ingredients mentioned throughout this blog, and the items are also linked to aid in purchasing.
3. Seek and Find. You’ll find a complete list of our recipes on the Recipe Index page. To browse recipes by category, take a look at the alphabetically-organized Categories sidebar. We’ve split the content of this blog into the following categories: Sides/Salads/Meze, Mains, Desserts, Foundations (complete recipes that are included as a component of a variety of other dishes), and Heritage (more on that subject below).
4. For the Record. Preserving our family history is every bit as important as sharing our recipes, and to that end, we’re in the process of developing a Heritage category. Click here to see our first post, and be sure to check back frequently for new stories, photos, and interviews!
Finally, as you prepare to bring these recipes to life in your own kitchen, always remember the following:
“Love is the most important ingredient.” —Therese Kalil
We hold Therese dearly in our hearts, and dedicate this website to her memory.