Courtesy Nader Family
Rose Nader with her great-grandson.
Courtesy Greg Thomas and the Women of St. George Church, Vicksburg, Miss.
Baked kibbe. Courtesy Greg Thomas and the Women of St. George Church, Vicksburg, Miss.
Rose Nader, mother of one of America's most famous Lebanese Americans, U.S. activist, consumer advocate, and frequent third-party candidate, Ralph Nader, wrote It Happened in the Kitchen. The book contained her philosophy of child-rearing, the intimate connection between good food and diverse family conversations at the kitchen table, and some 100 recipes to nourish this food and thought combination.
"When I was growing up in Lebanon and, even now, recipe books were rarely used. Recipes were passed from one person to another, using observations and predilections and personal judgments. One forgets how odd it is that people today are so dependent on cookbooks until visitors from abroad show their surprise that Americans are reading directions while they cook dinner. In the past, people grew up learning how to cook. Schools and books were not necessary." — Rose Nader It Happened in the Kitchen
Prepare your basic uncooked kibbe and cooked hashwah (kibbe stuffing) as shown in the previous recipes.
1/3 lb. butter
1. Butter a 2-inch high 8- by 12-inch pan, glass or stainless steel, with a small amount of the butter, (reserve 1/4 lb. for top of dish).
2. Spread basic uncooked kibbe mixture about 1/2-inch thick, smoothing and gently pressing it down by hand, using a little water sprinkled from the hand. It should be very smooth.
3. Spread a thin layer of cooked filling. Pat the surface and gently smooth it by hand.
4. Spread a second layer of uncooked kibbe mixture about 1/3-inch thick. Once again pat the surface, using water sprinkled by hand to make it very smooth.
5. With a wet, sharp knife, gently cut the kibbe with evenly spaced diagonal lines across the longer end of the pan and then along the shorter end, to create diamond shaped pieces.
Cut with an up-and-down motion, as in cutting a cake, to avoid disturbing the smooth surface and the filling.
6. With a wet knife, gently loosen the kibbe from the edges of the pan, and then score the center of each diamond shaped piece by just inserting the knife and removing it.
This will allow butter to penetrate the center of each piece.
7. Make a hole about the size of a nickel in the center of the kibbe mixture with the middle finger.
8. Spread the 1/4 lb. butter across the top of the pan, placing some in the hole.
9. Bake in the bottom shelf of a 350-degree oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on oven. You will know it is done if the kibbe move when you wiggle the pan.
10. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cold water thrown from the hand once. Cover with a tray, cookie sheet or pan until it is served (kibbe can be eaten cold, but many prefer it warm right out of the oven).
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
From It Happened in the Kitchen by Rose Nader.