A few years ago, when Shooshie was living in a small town a couple of hours away from me, she happened upon a Mediterranean restaurant in the strip mall where she worked. Considering how small this town was, it was a surprise to find such a thing. All food is home-made, right down to the pitas and the tzatziki sauce. And it is all OH so delicious.
Because it is made with love.
This was a saying frequently uttered by my Italian grandmother. People from the “old country” know this ingredient. It is in every recipe. While he is a generation-plus younger than Grandma, the owner and head chef of Elijah’s is from Lebanon, a country who still holds close the old ways of previous generations.
Mediterranean countries from one end of the sea to the other all share many similarities in ideals, traditions, and food. One of my favourite common foods are stuffed grape leaves (dolmas). The ingredients are simple and they can be served warm or cold (I like them warm). The taste varies from country to country because of the spices and the amounts of vinegar and lemon juice used. My mother used to make them years ago. Shooshie had her first dolma at the Greek area at the SPIFFS when she was about 8 years old. Elijah makes the best I have ever had- and I have had many.
The reason I choose Elijah for today’s Peace, Good Will is because of how kind he and his daughter and assistant chef, Rosine, are. Since Shooshie used to eat there so often, and the girls are around the same age, they got to be friends. Shoosh would go just to visit with Rosine at her lunch hour even if she was not having a meal. She was on her own and did not always have money for lunch. Elijah always brought her a fresh plate of food anyway. Whenever I would go to visit, we would eat there and visit with them. Their kindness, peacefulness, and the food made it like visiting family. Whenever we said how good the meal was, Elijah would smile and say that it was “made with love”.
Despite the worries over the turmoil in their homeland where they still have family, these two wonderful people remain peaceful and hopeful, and they exude those good feelings wherever they go. You feel good yourself when you have a meal prepared by them. You get more than a great gyro at Elijah’s.
Much love and many blessings to you, Elijah, and Rosine. Thank you for taking care of my daughter when I wasn’t nearby. Thank you for your friendship and sharing your hearts with us. You are both true reflections of kindness. We are privileged to know you.