This tasty mix of parsley, tomatoes, onions, bulgur, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, this essential Lebanese Sunday salad that always tastes better at home, with a shot of Arak, has to have a secret!
Fattouch may sometimes taste better in a restaurant, but never tabouleh; we all know that “Mom’s tabouleh is the best”. And in my opinion, the reason must be more than just habit or motherly love; it is definitely a secret ingredient, one that is never communicated in cookbooks, or in online recipes. But it has to be related to mothers; a secret that has only been communicated from mother to daughter (or daughter-in-law) for decades.
Last Sunday, while I was enjoying my Sunday tabouleh, the secret was revealed. I don’t know why, but I have been really enjoying food lately; I think I developed a stronger sense of taste. And last Sunday, I sensed a taste that has always been there, but this time, I could identify it; it was sugar! Yes, sweet, sinful, addictive, and calorie-intensive sugar. And I had to ask Mom!
Surprisingly, when I did, she nodded discretely. I think she was embarrassed that I found her secret. She told me later (after lunch) that she once had a big quarrel with Dad because he thought she was mistakenly putting sugar instead of salt. She added that sugar is sometimes added to balance all ingredients and that both my grandmas did it!
I guess Mom had her reasons not to tell, what is your mother’s excuse? Next time you’re enjoying your mother's tabouleh, try identifying this sweet taste and if you do, do not hesitate to ask. But make sure to do it discretely because she may always deny it in public.
So, how does your mother prepare the tabouleh? Extra sugar? Extra Virgin oil? Or just extra care and love?