“Little gastronomic memories”, recipes among a collection of poems, memories and delicacies

“Not all of these recipes are mine. I have collected many since I was very young. I have selected my favorites and the ones I especially like to publish them,” says Leyla Tohmé Nassar, presenting her book, which will be on sale shortly, entitled Petites souvenirs gourmandes. In a discreet, elegant format, this unusual 125-page cookbook, written in Portuguese and French, reveals the stories behind the recipes, awakening taste memories. Each recipe is accompanied by a souvenir and a pen illustration in 4 colors signed Isabelle Tuchband, in a layout by Mind the Gap.

Born in Brazil in the 1930s, the author, tall and fine, refined, with white hair, recalls at first sight this beautiful Lebanese bourgeoisie on the brink of extinction. She wanted, she trusts, to share her impressions and memories, her life between Brazil and Lebanon, and the flavors she has retained while choosing her favorite dishes. Dedicated to her lovely granddaughters, “wish them a life full of flavors”, she specifies that she made this booklet “for me. A friend, Isabelle Tuchband, offered to draw the illustrations,” she says. Delicately outlined in green and red, they come in a subtle choreography, like the author, accompany the texts with such subtlety that they seem directly sketched on the book.The last page of the book is drawn by one of the granddaughters of Leyla Tohmé Nassar.

Preview of the inside pages of the book, with illustrations by Isabelle Tuchband and a layout of Mind the Gap. Photo Watch the gap

Gourmet Confessions

“I was born in São Paulo, but grew up in Rio de Janeiro. When I was young, I came to Lebanon with my family and then returned to Brazil. There we were well served and helped, but my mother liked to cook and I took that away from her from an early age. Then I took lessons with a Hungarian cooking teacher and over the years I collected many recipes from all over the world,” she remarks, brandishing the source of her inspiration, a thick folder that has survived time, of which the pages are carefully handwritten in Portuguese, and to which it still resorts.Petites souvenirs gourmandes is similar to this personal notebook, also similar to a collection of poems, each recipe being preceded by a story, a memory, a impression or contextual setting.125 pages and simple recipes that range from cheesecake to citrus salad through Turkish chicken, curry, walnuts, samkeh harra, “this very spicy fish reserved for evenings like no other, of those who water themselves with spicy stories, sensitive souls abstain! she warns, the Cassata à la mode de Bahia or the Casimir cake. Casimir from the children’s island, famous program and about which she writes: “Your dreamy journey in childhood, you will do it with Casimir. On to the children’s island! Get help from the children of today…”

Leyla Tohmé Nassar, images and flavors between Brazil and Lebanon. Image PK

The reader also learns unusual details about Brazilian, Hungarian, Lebanese, Ottoman and Syrian customs and traditions, with the author’s mother being from Damascus. These texts also invite travel and invite you to read the recipe, first for fun. The recipes have their ingredients, their know-how but above all their story. This is the case for Eugenie’s fish kebab. The shared story goes that Eugenie, who lives in Brazil, brought this recipe from Damascus. She puts “the ultimate luxury” in it, a shrimp filling under the bulgur crust, and between two very thin layers of kebbet samak in an oven dish. It is this particular recipe that led the former president of the republic, Elias Sarkis, to “deviate from protocol to come and taste the precious specialty at Eugenie’s table” during an official visit to Brazil in the 1970s, during an official visit to Brazil. Eugénie, none other than the author’s mother.

“Little Gourmet Memories” by Leyla Tohmé Nassar. Photo Watch the gap

Salivating

Sensitive, sensual, light, funny and sunny, just like the flavors they inspire, these lyrics make you want to discover also this woman who married Amine Nassar in 1961, former president of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary and former president of the Constitutional Council. “We met through Farouk Abillama (former General Director of General Security and former Lebanese Ambassador to Paris) who had invited us to one of his parties while I was visiting Lebanon,” she recalls. The marriage was concluded in Rio in 1961 and Leyla Tohmé subsequently moved to Lebanon. The couple has three sons, two of whom currently live in Brazil.

When asked what she likes most in Brazil, she tells about Rio that is brimming with life, that never sleeps, and the immensely beautiful sea. “Rio is heaven on earth. And what does she like most about Lebanon since she moved there? “My husband”, she answers simply, revealing in two words the secret of a couple that is visibly so complementary and that happily stands the test of time. The secret of this success? “We have to take care of each other and support each other. All with an elegance that suits them so well.

“Not all of these recipes are mine. I have collected many since I was very young. I have selected my favorites and the ones I especially like to publish them,” says Leyla Tohmé Nassar, presenting her book, which will be on sale shortly, entitled Petites souvenirs gourmandes. In a discreet, elegant format, this cookbook is…

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