Showing posts with label immigrant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label immigrant. Show all posts

Monday, September 24, 2018

Folklorist looking to interview Lebanese Newfoundlanders.

Tooton's The Kodak Store, Water Street, St. John's. Photo from Facebook via Anthony M. Tooton.
The company was founded in 1905 as the "Parisian Photographic Studio"
by his great-grandfather Anthony Maurice Tooton (1886–1971) in St. John's.
Tooton immigrated from Damascus in 1903 after studying photography in Paris.

Newfoundland is home to an over century-old Lebanese community, representing some of the earliest non-European immigrants to settle on the island. Many of the descendants of these immigrants, who arrived in Newfoundland between the late 1800s and early 1900s, still live in the Province and identify with their Lebanese heritage.

Despite this, there is relatively little public visibility of this diaspora in Newfoundland today. Privately, however, many members of the Lebanese diaspora still practice elements of the folk culture of their ancestors.

Folklore graduate student, and third-generation Lebanese-American, Wyatt Hirschfeld Shibley is working on a project called “Cedar Roots on Pine Clad Hills: the folklore of Lebanese Newfoundlanders." His project focuses on the ways in which Lebanese Newfoundlanders use folklore to construct and/or maintain their ethnic identity.

"As this research pertains to a group that has been living in Newfoundland for several generations," says Shibley, "a further focus will be placed on the narratives Lebanese Newfoundlanders tell about themselves, and the way they remember their collective past. My goal is to understand and present the lives of Lebanese Newfoundlanders from an insider’s perspective, in hopes of deepening the understanding of this diaspora and Newfoundland’s ethnic history."

If you have family memories you are willing to share as part of the project, or if you know someone who might be a good interview candidate, you can contact the researcher directly at or call (709)-770-6800.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Abir Zain's Baklava for #FoodwaysFriday

Finished product!
Abir Zain leading the baklava workshop.
Today on the blog we feature Abir Zain's baklava recipe and share the results of last month's baklava workshop. This workshop, which sold out overnight, was led recent immigrant Abir Zain, who is new to province and has recently started making baklava. Abir explained that when she lived in Syria she never learned how to make baklava as she was easily able to purchase the sweet pastry in many local shops. Since her move to Newfoundland Abir has been unable to find the dessert and has created her own recipe based on family recipes from her mother and mother-in-law. Abir's baklava uses homemade cream cheese in addition to chopped pistachios and syrup.
Heritage Foundation Executive Director, Jerry Dick, measures and cuts the phyllo pastry for baklava.
In early March the Heritage Foundation worked with Abir to offer a baklava workshop to showcase this traditional pastry which is being baked and shared in the province today. Twelve participants came out to learn how to make their own baklava and were joined by a video crew from CBC.
Phyllo pastry with homemade cream cheese - ready to be folded!
Abir started the workshop by explaining how to prepare the phyllo pastry with melted ghee and how to properly cut the squares necessary to create the traditional triangle shaped dessert. Abir then went through the process of making homemade cream cheese and whipped up a batch to cool in the freezer. While the cream cheese was cooling Abir demonstrated how to make the syrup which is spread over the pastries as a finishing touch. The participants then placed a dollop of cream cheese in their pasties and shaped the baklava into triangles.
Abir showing two participants how to shape the pastry.
Michael Philpott and Dale Jarvis of the Heritage Foundation trying to lit the propane oven.
While there were a couple of technical difficulties lighting the propane oven once these were taken care of the baklava was placed in the oven at 350' F for 20 minutes. During this time folklorist Dale Jarvis sat down with Abir to discuss traditional Syrian food, what food she remembers from her childhood, and the types of food she cooks and bakes for her family of seven.
Abir Zain talking food with folklorist, Dale Jarvis.
Once the baklava had baked for 20 minutes it was broiled for a short time to colour the top of the pastry. Then the syrup was spread over the pastries and crushed pistachios were sprinkled on top! The finished product looks beautiful and tastes amazing! Abir has been taking orders for her baklava and is hoping to soon sell the pastry at the local St. John's Farmer's Market.
Abir Zain with several baklava workshop participants.
If you would like to see the full recipe please click here to download the recipe!

Or if you want to see CBC's video clip from the event and watch Abir in action see below!

Be sure to let us know in the comments what other traditional workshops you would like to see in the future.
A huge thank you goes out to CBC for coming out to the workshop and filming this video of Abir! ~Terra Barrett