A Tiny Tale About Tyre

The ancient city of Tyre, in Phoenician times provided purple dye for the rest of the ancient world. The sea was abundant with an anemone {or urchis} and a substance could be extracted from it to dye garments purple. Tyre became the capitol of the color purple.Oh and yes,there is a recipe from Tyre for baked whitefish that makes me crazy with pleasure in so many ways.

Once upon a time I was a dinner guest in the home of a friend from Tyre, Lebanon, home to the former Phoenicians.All of my senses were in rapture during the course of the evening due to the bountiful meal served on the most exquisite tabelcloth sewn with gold thread by the local women in the mountains.

The Lebanese music billowing to my Westerner's ear seemed exotic/erotic and the white gauzy curtains seemed to dance in rythm. I could feel in every cell, the pulse of a culture with many stories to unveil. This particular evening reminds me of why I so enjoy cultural diversity.

Nothing could prepare me for the theater of the presentation of the main course.A large ceramic platter was placed in between candles with a baked white fish with its head and tail in tact. It was carefully sculpted with a mound of fried onions,garlic,tomatoes,cilantro and crushed walnuts.

Anticipation is the first stage of pleasure,and anyone who understands true pleasure will know that it is best to allow it to build before becoming sated, and so it was with our appetites!

The Phoenicians believed in feasting with the eyes first,and it is something as a hostess that I have borrowed and incorporate into every facet of living that I can.When greeting guests I like to taunt the senses with gobs of candles, a beautifully dressed table, flowers everywhere and of course,the scents of dinner wafting everywhere from my kitchen.


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