Sweets & Meats & Zeina Abirached

Sweets & Meats & Zeina Abirached

A lovely afternoon with Zeina Abirached, Paris-based Lebanese graphic artist/author of Le Jeu des Hirondelles (A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return (Single Titles), just translated) and Catharsis, among others. Truly amazing work. Have you seen Persepolis? In some ways, her black on white style makes me think of that, but at the same time it’s all her own.

zeina abirached

Here she is on the left, with one of my colleagues on the right. When we bring in international speakers, we try to show them around a bit, and so during the exploration the three of us also made two new discoveries of places that have popped up over the summer that neither of us locals realized.

One was a little farmer cart-size shop with herbs growing fresh up all the walls (inside and out) and kale etc growing on the actual roof. (And he would climb up the actual wall, no ladder but just a pipe to hold onto, to pick the produce.) I’m sorry, I didn’t have the presence of mind to take photos of this delight, but I will next time. It made me very happy.

And the other was a “meat and sweet shop”.  No, NOT “meet your sweet” shop, although that sounds like a nice place. No, half of this shop is a butcher’s and half a sweet-maker’s, a husband and wife team. rose's meat and sweet shop

It’s ridiculously quixotic and charming and the caramels are made with lard, I kid you not, in order to efficiently use the husband’s leftover butcher products. I miss the butter, personally, but they’re pretty darn good still. Fennel caramels, ginger caramels, and coffee caramels.

rose's meat and sweet shop 2

Hmm…perhaps a future giveaway in the offing.

Then we settled down in what was once an old abandoned mechanic’s garage that has been renovated into a local chocolate-coffee hangout to drink iced chocolate (me, but you guessed that) and coffee (these two ladies) and talk about art and writing and Paris and Durham and Beirut and great-grandparents.
And that all counted as working. Like, really. Officially. I was On the Job. Sometimes life is good.So are you curious about those caramels?

3 Comments
  • Chanpreet
    Reply

    Emphatically yes! I would need caramels made with butter to compare them fairly but I can make do without! :p

    September 24, 2013 at 11:38 pm
  • Shannon O'Shea Schmieg
    Reply

    Lard? Amazing! My paternal grandmother, a life long diary farmer, made the BEST pie crust with lard . . .so thin, but dense and flaky, but rich. And I would have loved to chat with Zeina about Lebanese food! My maternal grandmother was Syrian and the food she and my great aunts & uncles would make for family gatherings was truly amazing!

    My niece just moved to Durham for work at Biomerieux. I have been recommending to her all the places that you have recommended to your readers (and your books, of course).

    October 5, 2013 at 6:37 am

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