I Have a Confession to Make

I don’t like Tabbouleh. There, I said it. (If you are Lebanese and you are reading this right now and you never want to read my blog again, I totally understand.)

Whenever I say this to Lebanese people I see their jaws immediately drop and their eyes get wide. Then they follow with questions like, “How many times have you tried it?” or “Are you sure it was a good Tabbouleh?” or “My mother makes the best Tabbouleh. You should try hers before you say you don’t like it.” It is impossible for Lebanese to understand how anyone could not like Tabbouleh. All I can say is, sorry!

It’s just . . . here’s the thing . . . I don’t like parsley. (I know, I know! This is just about as blasphemous as not liking Tabbouleh.) I never knew I didn’t like parsley until I visited Lebanon for the first time last summer. My family is Italian and we use parsley a lot and I’ve never had a problem with it. But see, we sprinkle a bit on top of a dish for some added color, or put dried flakes in a pasta sauce. We don’t use it as a *main ingredient*!! The Lebanese put it in practically everything. And always generous portions of it.

If you’re thinking, I’ve had Tabbouleh before and I didn’t notice *that* much parsley, then you didn’t have the Lebanese version. This, dear readers, is NOT the way the Lebanese do it:
The Lebanese way has so little bulgur wheat that I had to actually ask some of my local friends if the dish even contains bulgur wheat (it does). So basically, pare back that ingredient to practically nothing and you get bite after bite of chopped parsley (with some small amounts of mint, tomato, olive oil, and lemon of course). Sounds delicious in theory, but that’s only if you’ve never tried a mouthful of raw parsley before.

When thinking about this post today I came across a blog post by BritinBeirut that just confirmed how weird people think I am when I mention my dislike for this (practically) national dish of Lebanon. (See numbers 6 and 7).

That said, I am going to make it a point to *try* and learn to like parsley in the next two years. Surely one can acquire a taste for it, no? And it’s not like I won’t have plenty of opportunities to try it.

Here’s hoping for the best.

And again, sorry. Hope I didn’t offend any Lebanese with this post.

(Photo credit and recipe for authentic Lebanese Tabbouleh)

12 Comments on “I Have a Confession to Make

  1. Oh my God I totally feel the same way about tabbouleh. Always have. I hate parsley, and I’m not a particularly big fan of bulgher either. So at least we each know we’re in good company now. πŸ™‚

  2. I have a confession to make, I’m Lebanese and I also don’t like Tabbouleh. You can imagine the comments, and looks that i get when I say that. My family has pretty much disowned me. hehehe

    My reason, same as yours, is the generous amount of parsley. Why can’t they put more tomato (and everything else) and less parsley! (just like the pic in this post πŸ™‚ )

    I’m a salads guys. Give me a plate of salad anytime πŸ™‚

  3. Good. I mean too bad about not liking tabouleh. But good that you’ve learned about parsley as an ingredient, rather than just a condiment.

    As a kid, I stopped my mother as she prepared cauldrons of sauce, stew, soup, whatever, from discarding the undesirable parts of the parsley – I chomped stems as a pre-dinner snack.

    I’ve had Lebanese tabouleh (in Patterson, NJ) and found it too lopsided towards the parsley, but our tabouleh was in between; it always had more parsley than in the photo you included. And we often had “parsley salad” (I don’t know the right name) on the table…


  4. Im offended and Im not even Lebanese. That being said I think it looks amazing. Maybe it doesnt taste as good but I cant wait to try!

  5. Lindsay, I think you’d better watch your back, the parsley mafia will be out to get to get you.

    Great post and thanks for the link!

  6. There’s nothing that great about Tabboule anyway. I dont like it much. I prefer Fattoush, in fact i love Fattoush.

  7. I share your same sentiment about Tabbouleh! Blah..I would describe the experience in words..but I’ve never experienced something quite like it..The texture of parsley and the taste just aren’t for me..and often times I find that they put wayyyy too much lemon making it soo acidic and tart! Girl, you aren’t alone!

  8. I used to be a tabbouleh fan, that is before I moved to Lebanon. It just tasted better there. I didn’t understand the fuss about Fattoush, I found it too much to handle. That said, I switched sides. On a trip to damascus few years ago, I discovered Fattoush with Debs. Since then Tabouleh lost its grip on me.

  9. I am Lebanese and my mother makes excellent tabbouleh…and I’m not a huge fan either. I have to take some at family dinners, but I always just stuff it inside the pita with some lamb and rice so it masks the intensity…my mom sends me a huge bag of the bulgur every year from this little place in Toledo near where she grew up (a huge Lebanese pocket in the middle of Ohio) because she insists I learn to make it on my own, and every year I feel very very guilty as I give it away because really the last thing I want to do is spend an hour picking parsley. Good times.

    I fell off the blog wagon for a while but have just caught up with your posts and wanted to say congrats on this new adventure! That, and I had no idea you were such a skilled photographer. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your adventures!

  10. I didn’t like olives when I first moved to Turkey… but after a few months, I changed.

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