Making a Feast of Mezze

by Susan Barocas

As a writer, cook, filmmaker and travel enthusiast, I have loved traveling to many places and, of course, eating my way through cuisines. I’ve done this enough to know my favorite way to eat. Many of my favorite dishes have been part of mezze, an abundance of cold and hot plates full of flavor and a wide variety of ingredients.

The mezze of the Mediterranean and Mid East, called salatim in Israel and tapas in Spain, are traditionally a prelude to stimulate the appetite for the main meal to follow. But for me, mezze is a wonderfully social, leisurely way to eat the meal itself. Whether dishes are brought out one by one–cold first and then hot, as is traditional–or served all at once, mezze encourages tasting, talking and slowing down.