I am a little bit obsessed with food and cookery.
The obsession is both personal and professional. I love to cook, and to read and write about food and cooking. I grew up in a family of amazing home cooks from Lebanon, which, in addition to having its own extraordinary food traditions, is a Francophone (French-speaking) region with strong ties to French culture. My parents also lived in Italy before settling in the US. These three cuisines — Lebanese, French, and Italian — shaped my culinary worldview.
Cooking has always been a creative outlet for me; it kept me sane while I was in grad school, but it also crept into my scholarly life. Every reference to food in a literary text set me off on a quest to understand its broader culture. Soon I found myself translating recipes from Renaissance cookbooks, some of which I’ve posted below (with more to come). And I now teach gastronomy and culinary history as part of my French culture course at UCLA.
WRITING AND RECIPES
Once upon a time I once had a food blog, and it lives here. It includes a series of posts on Lebanese food, a food-obsessed journal of a summer spent in Italy, and other culinary musings and adventures.
I translated An Anonymous Tuscan Cookery Book (late 14th / early 15th century), full of intriguing recipes. (Yes, I’ve cooked several of them! Yes, they’re delicious!) More historical cookbook translations are forthcoming, including menus and recipes from Cristofaro Messisbugo’s banquet book (Ferrara, mid-16th century).