Author(s): Salma Abdelnour
'In a way, food has always been my road home. The Beirut scenes I remember most vividly from childhood are of hanging out for hours over fragrant platters of juicy chargrilled meats and just-caught seafood, garlicky hummus, salads spiked with thyme and spicy sumac, piping-hot loaves of fresh pita, and pistachio-topped pastries oozing with cream and honey and orange-blossom syrup.'
Salma Abdelnour was just nine years old when, in July 1981, as bombs exploded around them, she and her family fled the bloody civil war in Lebanon to find a quiet, safe new life in suburban America. Thirty years later, she returns, hoping to rediscover a home where she'll never feel like a stranger. In Jasmine and Fire she shares her intimate journey of rediscovery of today's Beirut, from making a new home in the family's old apartment and learning to match the rhythms of Beirut's passionate heart to rediscovering the favourite dishes of her childhood, which become the key to finding her way back home and discovering the true meaning of belonging. With all the ingredients of a perfect Lebananse meal, including a cast of wonderful characters, this is a love letter to a city full of beauty, tragedy and hope.