Eyewitness News is taking a deeper look at our diverse Central New York community. Being built by immigrants, America is commonly called "the melting pot" of the world. The U.S. is still, of course, a beacon of hope, opportunities and even refuge. Since we are close to the American holiday of Thanksgiving, we want to show you a Central New York holiday dinner table that may look a bit different than yours.
Although he's an American and has been here since Jimmy Carter was President of the United States, George Karam keeps his rich Lebanese heritage alive.
As the owner of the Phoenician restaurant, he serves Lebanese-inspired foods every day, but his Thanksgiving dinner table mixes the exotic with the standard fare.
George says, "We do the turkey, but with a Lebanese tradition. It's stuffed with rice ground meat, pine nuts and almonds."
Alongside the rice-stuffed turkey, you'll find the standard age-old stuffed grape leaves.
He says the stuffed leaves are made with rice, ground lamb and beef and the seasonings are lemon, garlic, salt, black pepper and allspice.
And, lentils are used here in the States, George and his family will often make an ancient lentil-based Middle-Eastern dish. It's called mujadara. It's made with lentils, olive oil and onion and garnished with radishes and scallions.
And, there is one recipe that's not for the vegetarian - at all! Kibbe nayee is raw lamb. George compares it to steak tartare.
Finally, one ingredient the Karam's use in all their recipes is one found on almost every Thanksgiving table is, love."
George also makes a special apritif called arak.. It's called that because arak is the Arabic word for condensation. Or, as George puts it, "Sweat." Due to it's heavy liquor base (100-140 proof) it will make you do just that...sweat.
If you would like to share some of your heritage or traditions with us for our special look at "Living in America," email me (Joe Parker) directly at firstname.lastname@example.org