Welcome! My name is Lilian, but my friends call me Lily. It's so nice to meet you, and I'm so glad you are here.
My Whole Life Story
Made in California in 1985, my childhood spans Tamagotchis and slap bracelets. I'm made from American (originally Northern European) and Lebanese genetics despite convincing my younger brother his real name was Maria and I'm really from another planet.
As a kid, I was obsessed with Michael Jackson and would only jump off of the diving board doing one of his dance moves.
My childhood was spent trying to find ways to join the circus, babysitting, and starting businesses (lemonade stands) that would help me save up for my dream car when I turned 16 - a Jeep Wrangler. Dreams really do come true.
I have 3 younger siblings that have kept me humble. My brother, Jamil, is actually the best cook I know when he's not cooking up code for his startup Firezone, an open-source firewall VPN. Jason is the youngest and wisest of our family. My sister, Angie, is a talented musician and artist.
My mother, Judy, is a retired teacher, pianist, and licensed professional counselor at Live Oak Therapy Group, a telehealth counseling practice in Texas.
My father, Elie, and grandmother (Tayta Lily) are not afraid of snakes, which I find entirely fascinating.
Growing up, I was taught to play tennis with a two-handed tennis racquet- an invention of my father's (yes, it’s ITF approved).
Aside from helping my Granny out in the kitchen and one time trying to bake a frozen duck, my first cooking lessons were as a teenager from my Thai neighbor, Pat. She is a professional chef, and I still have my recipes and notes from almost 18 years ago. Little did I know that this little passion of mine would come full circle almost 2 decades later.
I spent ten years working as an engineer and project manager in the oil and gas industry. I worked on some pretty exciting things like operating equipment on rigs in China and designing industry first 20k equipment, resulting in a patent award.
When I started a family, I decided to take a career break and stay home with my daughter. The biggest takeaway from my corporate career was: Follow your passion. Do what you love and love what you do. When your work is in alignment with who you are, you can be the best version of yourself.
Motherhood is Challenging
My experience with motherhood can be summed up in two words: fulfilling and challenging. Even though I'm so thankful to be a mother, I'm also surprised by how difficult it is.
At first, I thought maybe I was a different mother duck struggling on the sidelines. But as I spoke to more and more women, I realized we all have similar stories and difficulties. Even with supportive spouses, being a mother is super hard. Sacrifices are inherent and many times unseen. But that's ok because it shapes us into who we are today. Motherhood has only strengthened my larger purpose which is empowering women.
How The Matbakh Got Started
I've always loved cooking and bringing people together. What started as a creative outlet where I could mentally disconnect from being a stay-at-home mom has turned into a full-blown passion.
Cooking has always symbolized something more to me than just making food to eat. Cooking brings up memories from my childhood, it's a creative place where I can try new things, it's a place to connect with friends and family or even a way to immerse myself in a new culture. Food is the vessel for which I travel to new places, build beautiful memories, and have meaningful relationships.
Anyways, enough about me... now that you know my whole life story. Let's talk about you and what you can find here.
What You Can Find at The Matbakh
The word matbakh means kitchen in Arabic. Here you will find tasty, easy options for cooking with likely a cultural twist. Everything from Granny’s sweet potato casserole to bulgar wheat tabouli, you will find a variety of flavors and stories behind each dish brought to you from travels abroad and international friendships.
Just like many of us are a hodgepodge of nationalities and backgrounds, this food blog is a cultural melting pot with an emphasis on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. You might have already noticed that we have a small team. We share parts of ourselves through our recipes because cooking is a way of connecting with people. Thank you for being here.