Grape Leaves, Brooms, and Poets

Working at a Lebanese owned market and deli has provided me with some interesting experiences, given me the chance to try some unique salads and foods, and made me laugh more than once or stand in complete confusion, as one of the stories I am about to narrate will reveal. But first unique foods...

Stuffed Grape Leaves.
How many of you know what that is? Ok, so maybe some of you actually know, but I personally had never heard or seen it until I began this job over the summer. And being the sort of girl who is timid in trying new things if it looks at all unusual, I hesitated to try this curious delicacy. Well, a co-worker convinced me to give it a try in my first month or so at the job, but I have refrained from tasting it since, not that it was completely awful, but you get what I mean. Well, today I have been won. The chef had just made a fresh batch yesterday and we pulled them out of the refrigerator today to set out, but she first had to try one because, of course, she is Lebanese and loves them. Well, she made such an exclamation of awe over how delicious they were and remarked that they were unusually good than hands one to me to eat. I could not deny the offer politely, so instead I began to politely eat the stuffed grape leave, but I too was overwhelmed by its deliciousness and I think I can cheerfully and truthfully say that if all grape leaves are like the one I had today than they are actually quite delicious. So if you get a chance, try a Stuffed Grape Leave some day. You may be surprised! ;)

Working with those who don't speak English as their first language has its prose and cons. It can be an opportunity to learn about a different culture or learn a new language, but there also will be language barriers and confusing moments when you literally cannot understand your co-workers. So today as I was going about my business, one of my Lebanese coworkers who has only been in the states for a short time came around to me and asked where he could find, what sounded like, "mikinsee" (I have no idea how to spell it, but it was pronounced "mick-in-see"). I stared at him with a puzzled blank look, trying my best to figure out what he was trying to say and asked him to repeat the word again for me, but with no better comprehension. I gave up at that point, but thankfully the chef, also Lebanese but more fluent in English than he was, came around and was able to clarify for me that what he wanted was the broom for sweeping, but that "mick-in-see" is the Arab word for broom. My confusion subsided at that point and I learned a new word today. So now if I ever land myself in an Arab speaking country, I will at least know how to ask for a broom in their language. ;)

As my day continued and lunch time rolled around, I had a few middle-aged customers come in who I over-heard chatting about poetry together. As soon as I heard the word poetry, my ears perked up and I inquired as to whether they were poets themselves. It turns out they are all poets and when they learned that I am a great fan of poetry and enjoy writing poetry for fun, they invited me to join them sometime at a place right across the street where they meet for classes and events specifically designed for poets. So, to say the least, it made me very happy to connect with some other poets.



  1. I once ate at a Mediterranean restaurant in Chapel Hill with some good friends that had grape of my friends tried them, if I remember correctly and thought they were quite good! I haven't trued them though!


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