The spice for the thyme I like is better than the tita spice (sorry, tita!)


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Growing up as a first generation Middle Eastern American, my grandparents etched some lessons in me: (1) You have to be smart, (2) You have to be smart enough to be a doctor, and (3) will It makes you smarter. To Tita and Papa, the logical flow of these arguments will inevitably help me succeed in life, but to me it just seemed like a ploy to get me to eat. Oil and thyme At breakfast (then go to medical school). Although thyme is considered such a staple in the Arab regions that it is practically considered a food group, I hardly ever come across the dry herb blend that I made at home; Even when dipping in olive oil I couldn’t help but feel like I was eating stale grass.

Fast-forward to college in the capital, having avoided both science courses And the Thyme – against the wish of Tita and Papa. This is until I found Z & Z thyme At the local farmers’ market. The brand’s blend of wild thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds was very different from the dry herb blend I ate throughout childhood. It was earthier, toner, and smoother – thanks to the freshness of each ingredient and the touch of sunflower oil, which seems to preserve and enhance the flavor of the herbs and seeds. Compared to Teta, which had a chalky taste and individual flavor, Z&Z thyme has the complexity and body I never knew herbal blend could.

Z & Z thyme is harvested from different farms around Jenin in the West Bank of Palestine. The plant is called Origanum syriacum– or Syrian oregano – which Z&Z refers to as wild thyme. In the Arabic language, the word thyme is used to describe a number of plants in Lamiaceae Family, such as Syrian oregano, wild oregano, wild thyme, and hyssop – the latter appear in ancient texts, such as the Bible, and has been praised throughout Western Asia for its flavor and superior nutritional properties (hence the old adage that thyme makes you smarter ). Depending on the source, any of these herbs could be considered thyme. This may be confusing because thyme in the United States is not the same as thyme, but it is evidence of how foods in the Middle East differ greatly from region to region.

Z&Z is a family owned and operated by the Dubbaneh brothers, who made their mission to bring the cultural symbol of thyme from the Middle East to the United States in the Arab world, thyme is present in nearly every meal and most of it is often eaten with warm bread and olive oil (such as PlaidIt is a round bread covered with thyme and topped with cucumber, tomato and mint). Without exaggeration, I sprinkle this thyme on almost everything. Eggs, chicken, appetizers, popcorn, and when I feel special, avocado toast. Sometimes I take it with the spoon straight from the jar. (My IQ should be off the charts now!)

Although I wasn’t particularly impressed with the Teta thyme I lived in, tasting Z & Z’s in my first year in college brought back memories of breakfast with my family and instantly made me feel at home. Eating and sharing thyme with my peers was – and still is – a way to make me feel connected and proud of my Middle Eastern roots. So, while I may not be a physician as my grandparents had hoped, their craving for thyme has come true.


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