Job perks. I was recently striving to think of any that this Language and Culture Assistant position receives. Oh yes…living in Spain! And recently, I realized another one…food! The kind that the kid’s parents’ bring in to school for teacher appreciation. For example, about a month ago, a mom with two troublesome kids casually left a cake in the teacher’s room- I like to think of it as a peace offering, or perhaps a bribe- the teachers certainly weren’t complaining! And then yesterday, in celebration of Día de Andalucía (Andalucía Day, technically on the 28th, commemorates when Andalucía legally achieved its status as an autonomous region within Spain), a corps of kids’ parents made ham and olive oil sandwiches for the whole school! Woohoo!

But the food I am writing about today was made by a kid’s mom who happens to be from Syria, loves to cook and has major kitchen skills! Word of her one-woman catering business has been spreading from teacher to teacher in the school, and I had been hearing about this delicious Syrian food for months before finally, on Wednesday, my bilingual coordinator invited Helen and I to join his family for a catered lunch by this talented lady! They generously let me take some pictures before commencing the feast…

This was the best hummus I have ever tried in my life! It was super thick, and had to be thinned out with olive oil. The garbanzo bean flavor was so intense!

This is a salad with guess what? Falafel! I had never seen falafel formed in this almost-doughnut shape, nor ever tried it sprinkled with sesame seeds. They were super crispy on the outside, and the seeds added a nice complexity. Yum!

This is a picture of the crowded table. I liked the Spanish touch of the baguette- the people here eat bread with every meal, even if it is Syrian I suppose!

You can see a tiny corner of one of the desserts in the bottom right corner. It was an almond cake so saturated with honey that it was dripping all over everybody’s fingers. It faintly reminded me of honey-slathered cornbread.

Cheese empanadas and spinach pastries

Syrian veggie pizza. I found the presence of this dish incongruous with the others- I mean, how authentically Syrian could pizza be? But the Wikipedia page on Syrian cuisine assures that manaeesh, the name for Syrian pizza, is popular for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

So now I am in the school loop, and can contribute to extolling this lady’s talents with the other teachers. Here’s to hoping she’ll be catering our next staff luncheon!