One of my favorite aspects of the holiday season is that it inspires families to get together for the sole purpose of cooking together. My friend Kristin in Boston will often gather with her mother and aunts to bake perogies, a Polish specialty. My friend Megan’s family has an annual tradition of making homemade raviolis to be shared with friends and family. (Lucky me – I’ve been one of the lucky friends to taste these addictive little nuggets of happiness!)
In my family, we often yearn for the Syrian specialties that take hours and hours (and even days) to prepare. These items don’t exactly scream “30 Minute Meals” but that is the very reason why we crave these specialties 365 days of the year.
In honor of said cravings, the women of my family recently gathered at my Aunt Patsy’s house for a fun-filled day of rolling, stuffing and baking sfeehas (savory meat pies), cheese breads and spinach pies. We even got a little crazy and made a few “everything” pies filled with all three.
Today’s blog post is in honor of my Aunt Paula who spent hours and hours preparing the ingredients in the days leading up to Sfeeha Sunday. She made all of the dough from scratch, caramelized pounds and pounds of onions, prepared the spinach filling and made the hushwee (meat mixture). If it weren’t for Aunt Paula, Sfeeha Sunday would not have occurred. Even worse, our family would be sfeeha-less right now.
My message today is not about recipes or instructions for you and your family to make sfeehas. I’m not going to tell you the health benefits of these mouth-watering baked goods and you better believe I won’t be listing the nutritional content. (Aunt Paula mentioned using 4 lbs of butter in the dough alone. Did I mention the onions in the spinach pies are fried?)
Rather, I’m here today to encourage you to gather friends and family in the coming weeks and months to create baked goods or ethnic specialties from your childhood. It’s amazing how many pounds of dough and hundreds of sfeeha’s our group of 7 hammered out in one day. By creating a little assembly line and dividing the tasks, you are well on your way to filling your freezer with homemade goodness.
Above all else, you are creating memories to be shared from generation to generation. There’s a good chance I ate a little too much that day, but the laughter, love and delicious memories that we created as a family that day are priceless.
Thank you for a day to remember Aunt Paula – I love you.
Your oven is waiting.
Thaks so much for the reeipesi. I would sit at the kitchen table as a young girl & watch my mother make bread, meat & spinach pies. She was a great cook & baker of lebanese food …all lebanese receipes handed down, taught by her mother. These moments can never be replaced. I would wait by the oven to get the first slice. Thank you for the wondrful memories. I will make the bread & pies tonight.
Oh my gosh that makes me so happy! I hope to create those same memories for my boys. Thank you again I really appreciate you sharing with me! Let me know how everything turns out.
Sweet! I love this blog! We make tons of meat ravioli’s for christmas eve every year. paper thin pasta stuffed with braciole that mom had simmering in gravy for ever. This year, next Saturday, as a matter of fact, I will be sitting down with her to made ricotta cheese ravi’s for thanksgiving. Nothing like spending the day with family!
Thank you so much!!
I looked very carefully, but didn’t find an actual recipe in your wonderful blog. Is it somewhere else? Would you help me find it, looks great. Thanks
So sorry! Here is my sfeeha recipe.
Thank you for your recipe……….I’m of Polish heritage, but I love Arabic recipes. I have 6 grandchildren, 3 of whom have Arabic ancestry….they are Egyptian, Polish, Irish……..and they have inherited the best of each ethnic group….I will be making meat pies, per your recipe, soon. They sound wonderful. Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes. There is nothing better than recipes we learned as children.
Today i had so many hits from this post on your blog back to mine!! i wonder why? i still love looking at your photos, pretty nice stuff you have here!
I’m so glad to hear!! For whatever reason, my blog has been breaking pageview records lately so I’m glad to spread the love! :-)