The quality of a meal is determined by two factors: the taste of the food and the company you share it with. According to this standard, the traditional Lebanese lamb dinner I had at a family last reunion week qualifies as a superb meal.
“Lahem Mishwee” (or “grilled lamb” in English) is a family favorite. The meat is marinated with oil olive, garlic, onion, parsley, sumac, allspice, salt, and pepper before it’s barbecued on the grill.
We also serve it with “tabbouleh,” which is comparable to a Middle Eastern version of salsa. It’s comprised of parsley, mint leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes, onions, cracked wheat, allspice, salt, and pepper. Instead of scooping it with tortilla chips, we eat it with Lebanese flatbread that my grandmother buys from a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean store by her house in St. Paul. Rice with orzo and garlic sauce are other key pieces of the meal.
Last but not least, it wouldn’t really be a family get-together if nobody brought the beer. And indeed, there were Millers and Leinenkugels a-plenty at the lamb dinner.