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Rawia Bishara

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Does olive oil these days still taste as good as it did in decades past? That’s one of the topics Rawia Bishara and I discuss on the occasion of the publication of her cookbook Olives, Lemons and Za’atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking (Kyle Books, 2014). Ms. Bishara is the owner of the beloved Bay Ridge, Brooklyn restaurant Tanoreen. She grew up as part of a Palestinian-Arab family in Nazareth, southern Galilee. As we talk, she recalls the fruity olive oil of her youth, made by relatives, and wonders if it has lost something — but we also discuss the way New York has influenced her evolving homespun Middle Eastern fare, and the book which features dishes like Spice Rubbed Braised Lamb Shank marinated in ginger and rose buds, and Egyptian Rice with Lamb and Pine Nut. Is there a better reason to open a restaurant than that you have a story you yearn to tell through food? Rawia means storyteller. Listen.

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